Book Review: Social Marketing to the Business Customer

My book review of Social Marketing to the Business Customer is long overdue. I read the book in preparation for the #PRStudChat April session when we asked the authors, Eric Schwartzman and Paul Gillin, to be our special guests.  This book is really good and deserves a review.  Of course, I have to disclose that I consider both Eric and Paul social media friends, yet other than the #PRStudChat session, I have no other work or business affiliations with them.

Social Marketing to the Business Customer is a valuable guide to strategic social marketing.  I also appreciate a focused book, which stays on course from start to finish. I know how difficult it is to remain on track and to strategically thread your message throughout the chapters, so the reader does not get lost in a sea of information.  This book guides you through a purposeful course; one that introduces social marketing to organization, provides the ways to listen to the market, discusses how to generate leads and how to build stronger B2B relationships.

Although many of the chapters provide excellent insight, a few of my favorite chapters include:

  • Chapter 5: Creating and Supporting Social Media Policies – It’s no surprise that this is one of my favorite chapters! When you set the table for social marketing, it’s critical to make sure that policies are set in place and supported within the organization.  The authors do a great job illustrating how different areas of the organization have risk and opportunity through social media and how it’s imperative to have a policy in place.  The chart on page 60 of the book reveals the agendas of different departments within the company.
  • Chapter 12: Lead Generation – Lead generation takes on an important function through social media, where generating the lead comes from getting involved in conversations and being helpful.  Chapter 12 discusses the key success factors that are common through the stages of the social funnel.  The authors focus on: content to make connections, leaving the sales speak behind, how to share your expertise and spanning the buying cycle (as they put it, “building a library of content that matches buyer interests at each phase”).  The bonus in this chapter is a chart with the nine stages of the buying process and the differences between the traditional media tools vs. the social media tools.
  • Chapter 14: Return on Investment – ROI is always a tough subject to tackle especially in 14 pages.  However, the authors take a complex topic and break it down for the reader.  They realize that ROI is still a huge concern for executives and don’t use the term loosely.  They clearly point out that outputs in social media have to be measured financially.  And, they also teach the reader how many of the intangibles can be translated into financial terms. Other bonuses in this chapter include the section on metrics, which is very informative and illustrates how to focus on the more relevant metrics beyond traffic and unique visitors.  The other section that helps the reader to apply ROI is “Putting it All Together” which gives a solid example of comparing the ROI of webcasts vs. whitepapers; seeing the example and breaking it down with an ROI calculation, so you can apply the formula to your own ROI scenarios.

Overall, Social Marketing to the Business Customer is an informative B2B guide, with relevant examples. There is a tremendous amount of information presented in the book.  Good organization of focused content transitions the reader smoothly from setting the stage for a social media organization to taking a strategic social media program to market.