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'Scary, but scary wonderful'

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The collective wisdom contained in the profiles of this year’s BtoB’s Best Marketers shows the extent to which social media has emerged over the past year as a dynamic marketing medium.

Laurie Tucker, senior VP-corporate marketing for FedEx Services, perhaps put it best when she described social media as “scary, but scary wonderful.”

Different marketers are venturing into social media in different ways. FedEx has made effective use of videos, including ones showing how it’s worked to save turtles threatened by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, a video on the low-emission/fuel-efficient Boeing 777Fs the company is using generated more than 26,000 views on Facebook.

“Going forward, you can be assured we’ll be out there and putting our toe in the water with these new media channels,” Tucker said. “Our customers want us to be there with value.”

Others have waded much deeper. Take Intel Corp., which has provided social media training to 5,000 of its sales and marketing employees so they can better serve as brand ambassadors for the company.

Hewlett-Packard Co.’s employees certainly fulfilled that role when it came to talking up the company’s $40 million “Let’s Do Amazing” branding campaign that was rolled out earlier this year. About two-thirds of them shared the campaign via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. How effective were their efforts? “We had over 6 million unique [users] engage with the campaign before we ever spent money in traditional media outlets,” said Michael Mendenhall, HP senior VP-CMO.

Paul Dunay, global managing director-services and social marketing at Avaya Inc., said social media marketing is particularly well-suited to b-to-b companies because of their generally smaller customer bases. Dunay has set up a social media monitoring system at Avaya, and his team is ready to deploy respond quickly to negative comments.

Here at BtoB, we’ve strived to keep pace with this burgeoning marketing phenomenon. This month we’re taking it a step further, with the Oct. 20 launch of Social Media Marketer, a biweekly e-newsletter.

This latest addition to BtoB’s stable of e-newsletters focusing on marketing and media will cover social media trends, emerging technology and new tactics being used by b-to-b companies. In addition to the main feature story, the newsletter will include columns by Avaya’s Dunay and Paul Gillin, a consultant who writes the New Channels column in BtoB; recent blog posts of note; news briefs; and viral videos. We’ll also be encouraging readers to play a key role in the ongoing conversation about these scary, wonderful, new forms of media.

To register for Social Media Marketer go to www.btobonline.com/smm.

John Obrecht is editor of BtoB and Media Business. He can be reached at jobrecht@crain.com.

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