More than one recent study has shown how B2B marketers lag behind their B2C counterparts in the social media arena. A new study by White Horse indicates that while 28% of B2C operators have looked to outside experts for help in this arena, only 10% of B2B operators have done so. Similarly, the number of B2B operators who have taken no steps to engage with social media stands at 18%. Only 14% of B2C operators have completely ignored social media to date.
The White Horse study tries to explain why this difference exists. In large part, the hesitation on the part of B2B marketers to embrace social media is linked to the way they operate. For example, B2B marketers say they are not as concerned about key problems that face B2C marketers: “Loss of brand control and negative customer feedback.” In addition, B2B marketers engage in more consultative sales processes.
When surveyed about key obstacles in the path to rolling out social media programs, B2B marketers list the following:
- Insufficient personnel to maintain 50%
- Lack of organizational knowledge 45%
- Preference for traditional marketing 45%
- Perceived irrelevance to the specific field 45%
To succeed with this new media format, White Horse analysts suspect that B2B marketers must “map new social venues to traditional tactics in order to show how social media simply provides new ways of ..building relationships.” As B2B marketers make this change they may shift from the one-to-one relationship between sales reps and clients that has traditionally proven so successful.[Source: B2B Marketing Goes Social: A White Horse Survey Report. White Horse. May 2010. Web. 8 Jun. 2010]