BtoB magazine has several articles in the most recent issue that underscore the growing importance of blogs for business-to-business marketers.
According to one survey by KnowledgeStorm and Universal McCann, more than 80 percent of the 4,500 people surveyed read blogs, with 18 percent reading them daily and 33 percent weekly.
A column in the same issue by Paul Gillan, a web consultant, chastises those B-to-B marketers who remain on the sidelines waiting for the "Web 2.0 bubble" to crash. Gillen says social media is here to stay and, since there is very little venture capital money tied up in supporting bloggers and community sites, that there won’t be any crash, just continued growth.
I’ve always felt this way. Once the average person feels empowered to write whatever he or she feels about a company, a politician or a sports team, there’s no turning back. The proverbial genie is out of the bottle. Marketers who avoid the web or, worse, don’t monitor message boards to see what people are saying about them, run the risk of alienating existing customers and scaring off prospective ones.
Few marketers will disagree that blogging is an important business-to-consumer strategy. Yet, now we have evidence of its growing popularity in the B-to-B space.
Smart B-to-C companies have already capitalized on Web 2.0 to create all sorts of new and exciting relationships with consumers. General Motors is a great example. There’s no doubt that savvy B-to-B companies will follow suit. Some already have. IBM, for example, has had a blogger-in-chief for some time.
Blogging isn’t just a nice thing to do. It’s become a prerequisite to a total marketing effort. We’re seeing more and more existing and prospective clients asking for credentials and ideas in the digital realm. Many are in the B-to-B space.
Blogs are today’s "Web site." In the past, some companies didn’t think it was important to have a Web site. Now, businesses and consumers expect every company to have a Web site, whether that company is in the B2B or B2C space. Not having a Web site is as absurd as not having a business card. It won’t be long before blogs are as standard as Web sites.
Pundits and marketers who sit on the sidelines and keep waiting for the social phenomenon that is blogging to pass, do so at their own peril. The time to act is now. He (or she) who hesitates may not only be lost. They may be left behind as well.