B2B Social Media – Why recession means innovation.

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We wrote the original post behind this in July 2009 regarding B2B Social Media and having re-read it, we thought it would be interesting to look at how things have changed since then. At first glance, not much!


The amount of money out there has dwindled. The banks stopped lending, first to consumers, then also to businesses. This stopped businesses from spending money with other businesses and so on down the chain. Eventually, these businesses had less income and little profits, so they laid off employees to stay afloat. They reduced investment in plant and machinery, training, marketing and they will continue to do this until either the recession ends and the upturn begins or they go out of business. Its a cycle that has been repeating for centuries and it will probably carry on regardless of rule changes, regulation, anger, frustration or anything else.

Ok, I hear you say, thanks KnowledgeBank for the doom and gloom, we know this – where’s the relevance to your b2b marketing musings.

Well actually, we think this means opportunity and here’s why.

Just as wars have always resulted in massive advances in technology like computers, medicine and science, so recessions have resulted in massive advances in innovation in marketing.

The reason for this is all to do with the supply of money. Although you, the client, may want to spend more on marketing, the reality is that the return on investment isn’t there to sustain it using poorly targeted activity. This then translates into only really wanting to pay for things that you think are guaranteed to work. To you (and us to an extent) this means tangible solutions with no risk.

The snag with this is that guaranteed solutions with no risk don’t exist, well not in a sustainable or scalable fashion, beyond big promises and usually no cigar.

If it wasn’t the case we would all be doing them and then they wouldn’t work any more. There would be no competitive advantage.

We believe that this is the real driver behind several trends including Twitter (because its free), Google (because it’s quite measurable and they have nice graphs), facebook (because we can pick Marketing Managers in Hull with 3 children and an interest in yoga) and Linkedin‘s recruitment ‘engine’ (because if none of the above work, we can find a new employer!)

Having become leading exponents in several of these, we can also dispel the myth that they are free or even cheap methods of b2b social media marketing. The time involved in building a significant presence in most of these is lots and lots. Although it works very well for us and we have more than 20k followers on Twitter for example. Lets face it, Twitter is populated by our prime audience – the marketing people, so we don’t pretend that we can make it work for anyone else in quite the same way.

These innovative channels are still being developed and we believe that they will eventually be ubiquitous, but for now, incredibly, we are still getting our best results from mailing activity both for ourselves and for most of our clients. This is probably due to a number of factors – we tend to use the best b2b data available in the UK, combined with really innovative analysis and we also reckon that most businesses receive fewer direct mail items these days and that they are almost a novelty.

If you haven’t done any for a while, I would recommend anyone to look at direct marketing as a means of communicating with your customers and prospects.

Our blog is not used for selling our services, (it is on the internet, where you can’t sell – only enable people to buy), but you are reading this and of course, you are in our target audience of B2B marketers. We have managed to get you to read our buying message, so if you want to, give us a call and we can chat about it.

We have a variety of really innovative solutions which we haven’t even mentioned here as they are so new, but we will happily share them directly with interested parties.

What do you think has changed since we wrote this post? What are the major innovations since July 2009? Were we right?

Please let us know what you think in the comments below and through our social networks.


About the Author:

KnowledgeBank work with Companies to develop their data driven marketing solutions to generate profitable new customer relationships. We also deliver social media training, consultancy and strategy to hundreds of businesses across the UK. If you would like further information about how you can develop your own marketing activity or social media, please contact us on 01772 978 101.