This is the first of four posts on an in-depth interview with LaSandra Brill, Senior Manager of Global Social Media for Cisco Systems, by contributing blogger Ian O’Neill. See Ian’s introduction on what it takes to be a Social Media Marketing expert.
In marketing, change is happening so very quickly, and now as never before a company’s brand reputation and word of mouth referrals are its most important calling cards. Some B to B campaigns rely on traditional media and ‘interruption marketing’ at least in part – but print, radio and television advertising are loosing some of their effectiveness. Cold calling used to be easier too, relatively speaking (!). Today’s buyers, gate keepers and decision makers are increasingly unavailable to take a call; chances are you’ll be put in ‘voice mail jail’.
How about sending a letter? You’re competing with all the other junk mail that usually ends up in ‘File 13′, and when was the last time you opened an unsolicited email? It’s tough out there.
Today, traditional marketing and sales efforts are not enough. Customers are increasingly going online for information, a basic fact that has shifted power from the seller to the buyer. ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you when we’re ready, thank you very much’ is the sentiment of most customers today. In this environment your reputation and visibility is more important than ever and ‘social media marketing’ becomes potentially the most effective means to attract new customers. It’s a solution that just might have the most potential since the development of branding.
Social media marketing is simply a lead generation activity that strategically employs online tools to attract the interest of potential and existing customers. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, interactive games and video blogs are among the tools most commonly used.
Executives such as La Sandra Brill, Senior Manager of Global Social Media for Cisco Systems, are proving that ‘Social Media Marketing’ reaches B2B buyers and decision makers more effectively. Her team launched the Cisco ‘Aggregated Services Router’ in 2008 using social media and reached 90 times the audience at 1/6th the cost of conventional marketing methods.
LaSandra says companies should create a new marketing position called ‘social media marketing manager’, a position cooperating closely with the marketing manager. If your company is not large enough to justify the extra hire then your marketing manager should wear two hats; ‘social media manager’ and ‘marketing manager’.
I recently interviewed LaSandra on her opinions and experience with social media marketing.
O’Neill: Is there such a thing as a ‘Social Media Expert’ at the moment, or is the idea too new for there to be ‘experts’?
Brill: It’s a great question. I think there is such a thing as an expert. It’s constantly changing, but you can say the same thing about lead generation and SEO. There’s still constant learning that needs to happen to stay on top of the market changes. I think that’s the same for social media; it’s happening quicker than it is in some of the other fields. (Being a social media expert means) not just being able to talk the talk but having those who actually walk the walk: manage a blog, manage Twitter, and having hands on experience is really important. You can’t really understand how to use the tools, capture the potential and know how to fully connect the dots unless you are in the driver’s seat. I think you have to have the experience of true and tested results, of having built a strategy and thought through a number of different tactics that lead to success – I think this is important to have this under your belt.
The interview will continue tomorrow: LaSandra Brill discusses the amount of time a marketing department should spend on social media, and comments on how social media is changing the expectations of business.
Tags: Social Media Marketing