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The Shifting Sands of Digital B2B Marketing

I confess to having had a moment of digital doubt. The stupid people are clearly getting to me. I think anyone with any degree of responsibility will have their moments of doubt – “Am I doing this right? Will it work? Is it worth it? Does my bum look big in this?” etc. Well, Ok, I’ve had mine. It came hot on the heels of the latest round of next generation digital and social ‘stuff’ that I now have to absorb, digest and, who knows, maybe even find a commercial application for.

Klout, the questionable tool for measuring social and online influence that everyone loves to hate, released a new +K ‘thing’. Across the social web, you’ll now find people ‘giving +K’ to their network colleagues. Well, my ego was immediately beside itself with envy and demanded that I receive +K from absolutely everyone. I fleetingly considered that this new Klout function might offer brands a point of competitive advantage, but mainly, it was about me. Naturally I read everything there was to read about the subject – of which there was a LOT on the social web – and it turns out +K isn’t worth shit. It’s just a way to ‘like’ and reward people for providing good service. Klout co-founder Joe Fernandez said in an interview with Marc Schaefer that, “The +K award does not affect your Klout score”. WTF?!

Then there was the Google+ scandal. Currently by invitation only, Google has released its own social network version of TwitBookIn. It has something to do with ‘circles’. I can’t tell you much more than that because the scandal is, I haven’t been invited. You can just imagine how my ego responded to that one… ‘+’ is obviously the new ‘#’. We will presumably all end up communicating in keyboard shortcuts. At least the meetings will be shorter:







And finally, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg cleverly identified a day in the calendar where Apple wasn’t launching a sleek, new, swipey, clicky thing and took the opportunity to offer his vision of the future of the social web. From what I can understand, Facebook will own everything and everyone, but only if you keep on using it. If you decide to use something else though, don’t worry, Zuckerberg will just buy it. Actually, he said that the future is about sharing and connectivity – which is cool.

So I unleashed the full might of my impressive social consciousness at subsequent business meetings only to be met with blank stares and polite (albeit slightly nervous) smiles. “That’s all very interesting Scot, but if we could just get back to the agenda of the LinkedIn engagement strategy, the Twitter account analytics, the community management profiling and the engagement hub – you know the stuff you convinced us about a year ago that’s starting to work now…?”

And for a moment, just for a moment, I thought, FFS (because I even think in text-based acronyms now…) why do I bother? Why am I troubling myself with the art of the possible when no one wants to ‘do’ it. At my time of life I could just send emails, proclaim that the Royal Mail had it right all along and wait for the pension to kick-in…

Then it struck me that the clients who were reluctant to consider ‘social media’ as a viable B2B communication channel a year ago were the ones bringing my attention back to the sophisticated brand, digital and integrated social strategies that we were now delivering for them. A couple of years ago they’d never have bought that plan and even if it could have worked, I wouldn’t have been able to deliver it. A year from now, they’ll be ready for the next step. I thought of all the business brands who still haven’t put a serious foot on the social ladder, let out a big belly laugh in an evil mad scientist kind of a way (Mwahhhhhaaaaaahhaaaa…etc.) and everyone shifted uncomfortably in their chairs.

The moment of doubt had passed. Your bum looks fantastically big in that, but hey, you can fix that with the right avatar. You can fix anything. Get started.

Scot McKee
Managing Director
Birddog Ltd.
+44 (0)20 7323 6666
Twitter: @ScotMcKee