Thursday, April 28, 2011

This Ought to Thin the Social Commerce Herd

Note to anyone considering joining the group coupon fray:

Both Google and Facebook are getting into the social commerce game.

Begun, the coupon war has …

So where does that leave early leaders such as Groupon and LivingSocial? If they weren’t already challenged by rapidly increasing competition from every direction, they’ve got to be worried about facing down the two overlords of online.

What about smaller group coupon upstarts and wannabes—in B2B services, hyper-local markets, new-baby accessories, etc.?

When the dust settles, there will probably be niches left to fill. In the meantime, it might be best to step aside and let the big guns blast it out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Secret to a Good Presentation

Recently, Scheibel Halaska founder Mary Scheibel spoke to the Waukesha Business Alliance's breakfast club. Her presentation focused on creating differentiation for your business through PR. Strategies included meaningful branding, telling ‘sticky stories’, positioning your business as a thought leader, and aligning your marketing/PR with sales.

Michael Arnold posted a blog recognizing the value of the presentation for him and his business. What was the secret to such a successful event? Well, sharing secrets actually.

People are generally hesitant to expound upon their “trade secrets.” In fact, that is exactly what senior practitioners should be doing. With such a wealth of knowledge and expertise, their presentations should be solid and substantial, not fluff or gimmicky.

Remember, presentations are meant to help those attending, and Michael’s blog left us with the impression that he indeed walked away with something valuable.

Monday, April 18, 2011

SH’s Latest Addition (and Youngest)

For an agency on the move, “office” additions are a regular occurrence. But the newest addition to the SH family is a bit younger than most of them – only about 12 hours old actually!

Our head copywriter, Tom Groff, has produced some of his best work yet (although his wife Diane surely deserves to go first in this particular byline!) by welcoming home a bouncing baby boy, who joins his two older brothers. Congrats to the whole family!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can Group Coupon Sites Work for B2B?

You’ve heard of Groupon and LivingSocial (maybe you even broke the bank buying those darn coupons). But what about or

While deal-of-the-day group coupons are a big hit with consumers, it’s uncertain whether they’ll catch on in B2B. Still, that hasn’t stopped several sites from trying.

The concept usually involves a minimum number of purchases needed for a deal to be activated, serving as a sort of insurance for advertisers. This works well for B2C deals—although not without some profitability challenges.

In B2B, you’re even less likely to make big money directly from a group coupon offer. And yet, maybe that’s not the point.

The value of a social commerce site, after all, is much more social than commercial. Think of it as another marketing channel to reach and engage new prospects.

So, is a deal-of-the-day right for your business? Depends. It’s a more logical fit for small- to medium-sized businesses with transactional business models. Group coupons can help fill the pipeline with new customers for equipment parts, design and delivery services, etc.

If you decide to give it a try, do so as a marketing and advertising investment. Check out these sites: , and … and let us know how it goes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Update: More Love for B2B Social Media Book

As we posted last week, Eric Schwartzman, a co-presenter with Mary Scheibel at the Plastics News Executive Forum last month, has filled an important gap with a book dedicated exclusively to B2B social marketing, "Social Marketing to the Business Customer."

Plastics News Editor Don Loepp seems to like the book, too. Seeking to expand on the conversation, he’s inviting readers to share how they’ve used social media in imaginative and effective ways. He’s also giving away 3 copies of the book to the best comments, so go ahead and give it a shot if you’re feeling social.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finally, Some No-Nonsense Pointers on B2B Social Media

Why do so many people continue to view social media as only a B2C realm? Well, it could be the continuing gap between social media hype and actual, practical advice for B2B companies.

But that’s starting to change with folks like Eric Schwartzman and Paul Gillin.

Eric and Paul have co-authored “Social Marketing to the Business Customer,” a new book hailed as the first full social media reference exclusively for B2B marketers. (Full disclosure: our own Mary Scheibel presented with Schwartzman at the Plastics News Executive Forum. But just to be clear, no, this isn’t a paid endorsement.)

We haven’t finished the book yet, but we’ve already picked up on some good points. It turns out B2B companies actually have more presence in social media than B2C folks. The book cites a report showing that 81% of B2B companies have accounts or profiles on social media sites, while only 67% of B2C companies do the same.

Here are six reasons the authors point to for why this is the case—and why you could benefit from developing a social media strategy, as well:

  • Group decision making (typical of B2B transactions) is accelerated when everyone is more aware of the circumstances—a process facilitated through social media.
  • Sales cycles shorten, since tools like Skype and LinkedIn make it easier to reach people.
  • Good rapport increases persuasiveness, as people are more willing to buy when they’re connecting with the people behind the brands.
  • Interactions happen at every level, not just in the boardroom, helping win over key audiences throughout an organization.
  • The more communication, the less complex the sale.
  • And finally, joint promotion and marketing is more likely. (Take this blog post, for example.)