NetMarketing Breakfast: Social, search drive sales for b-to-b marketers

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Chicago—Social media, search and content marketing are among the tactics driving the most success for panelists who spoke today at BtoB's NetMarketing Breakfast here. Lauren McCadney, senior manager of social media at technology solutions provider CDW Corp., said the company has determined that social media usage among its target audience of IT decision-makers leads to action, with 14% of people who engaged with the company in social channels making a purchase through a member of a CDW account team and 17% making a purchase from the company's website. Not every social media tactic has a clear return on investment, McCadney said. "Just like what you find with a lot of marketing tactics, particularly if they're at the very high end of the funnel, it's very difficult to actually measure the impact that has on bottom-line sales," she said. "However, when part of a full campaign where it's driving all the way to checkout, then you are able to show ROI." Mark Rentschler, marketing manager at machine tool company Makino Inc., discussed the company's successes with search marketing. "The key to organic search is the development of relevant content," he said. Makino's search efforts have yielded leads in unexpected places, he said, citing the example of a multimillion-dollar sale the company landed recently from a start-up in a small town in Oklahoma. A person from the start-up found Makino on the Web and spent 20 minutes viewing 45 pages on the company's website before filling out a contact form. Three sales calls later, the lead became a big order. "I didn't know this company; my local distributor sales engineer didn't know this company—he would have driven by the building because he didn't think the building was even occupied," Rentschler said. "He did his due diligence. Thankfully he didn't ignore the lead; he made a call and he won it." Panelist Tim Cook, VP-client services at marketing agency Mx Group, talked about client Dyson B2B's use of content to drive conversions. Not everyone will care about each piece of content marketers create, he said, "but you can use that content to help them self-segment and get them on a conversion path." Asked about the challenge of getting customers to participate in case studies for the purposes of content marketing, McCadney said CDW has used an advocate program it created to assess customer sentiment. "If you've got a person doing back flips over your brand, go after them for the case study," she said.
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