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At Digital Edge Live: Social, video keys to connecting with audiences

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New York—B-to-b marketers are pushing ahead full-speed with social media and online video, two much-discussed topics at BtoB's Digital Edge Live conference here Wednesday. With both channels, marketers stressed the importance of making an emotional connection with customers and prospects. “I don't know how to engage a business online; I'm reaching people,” said Dustin Luther, director of engagement at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., in a panel titled “Social Media Marketing: Winning Strategies That Drive Engagement and Demand.” On the same panel, Rishi Dave, executive director of digital marketing at Dell Inc., shared how his company is reaching customers and prospects through LinkedIn, a channel that he said is critically important to b-to-b marketers. Dell connects with customers on LinkedIn using content, he said. “High-volume, high-quality content is the game now,” he said. “The more content I put out on a regular basis, the more leads I acquire.” Panelists at the “Online Video: Bringing Your Brand to Life” session discussed the power of the medium to speak with customers on an emotional level. Erich Parker, director of strategic corporate communications at DuPont, highlighted the importance of storytelling when using video. “We're not saying "Buy this bag of hybrid rice seeds, please,' ” he said. “We leave that to the salespeople.” Instead, the company has created a series of videos about the people whose lives are improved by DuPont products. One video, for example, is a vignette about the challenges facing a farmer in the Mekong Delta. “We've taken the indirect, nimble, storytelling approach, and it's working,” Parker said. While panelists noted that online video can be very costly, it doesn't have to be, said Linda McGovern, VP-marketing at USG Corp. “We do not spend a ton of money on video,” she said, adding that marketers can use stock video and music to cut costs. More important than budget, McGovern said, is determining a goal. “You have to understand what you're trying to do,” she said.
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