I talk to a lot of B2B companies about using blogs, wikis, RSS and other modern marketing methods to engage with prospects and customers to drive lead generation and sales (it is my job after all). A lot of the time I hear that "our customers don't use that stuff" or "only teenagers use blogs" or "our prospects can't spell RSS". Well, now there is some very mainstream data (from BusinessWeek nonetheless) that shows that things like Blogs, RSS, social networks, posting videos online, etc. are a LOT more common, especially with "older" people (myself included) than you might think (I went to college before email was widely used and did not have a cell phone until I got one as part of my first job).
If you assume that the 41-50 year old crowd of "young boomers" is a good proxy for a typical B2B buyer, then look at these stats from BusinessWeek as representative of your B2B prospects. And then tell me that creating a blog, publishing using RSS and leveraging social media is not important to your business... with a straight face. Frankly, if you are selling B2B a lot of your purchasers are probably younger than this demographic, so these estimates are probably conservative.
• 12% of your B2B prospects publish/create a blog or website or online videos
• 18% of your B2B prospects post comments on blogs or write online reviews
• 15% of your B2B prospects use RSS
• 15% use social networking sites (think LinkedIn, not MySpace)
• 31% read blogs and/or listen to Podcasts
And, overall, 46% of your B2B prospects who are online participate in some form of social media.
Here is a link to the full chart of data from Business Week
What do you think? How is social media such as blogs and RSS affecting B2B marketing? Leave a comment and we can discuss below...