Don Corleone has a successful business in Gambling and Bribery. He faces a choice between potential earnings from narcotics and jeopardising his established relationships with the Police and Government by starting an unknown and unsavoury venture. If you’re a B2B CMO, you are Don Corleone; Social Media is narcotics.
No, you’re not going to be shot while shopping for oranges and no, your children aren’t going to be driven mad by power. Rather the parallel refers to the reluctance of many established, big businesses to seriously adopt a Social Media Marketing Plan or to properly invest resources in one at all.
It’s summed up in this haunting scene:
Kay, my father’s way of doing things is over – it’s finished. Even he knows that.’ – Michael Corleone
Almost everyone has a Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook page these days. Businesses know it’s not the same as it used to be when having enough money to buy a billboard in King’s Cross or a decent TV slot bought you monopoly and domination, at least in publicity terms.
Most Brands have a presence on social channels but many without a proper plan or structure. It seems like some companies are using them because they feel obliged to rather than because they’ve planned to achieve something.
This is fine at the moment but things are changing.
Have a look at this article from Think with Google to see how the B2B buying unit has changed even in the last 3 years. With beardy, vaping Millennials now actually having a large say on purchases or at least influencing them it’s just become even more essential to market well in the digital world.
Now, watch the start of this Clip from the beginning of The Godfather:
‘…but narcotics is a thing of the future – if we don’t get a piece of that action, we risk everything we have. I mean not now, but ten years from now,’ – Tom Hagen
I don’t think I need to substantiate the fact that the world is becoming more and more digital. People don’t go to the shops, they go to Amazon. People don’t buy CD’s, they download Music. People don’t do stripteases, they send nudes. Odd? Yes. Sad? Maybe. True? Agency (sorry). Advertising and marketing are pretty much already there as well. Social Media, in a way, has replaced the conversations people used to have around the water cooler where you might mention you were looking for a new product or service and everyone would pitch in giving you their suggestions. A lot of people would probably now post this question on LinkedIn or Facebook to cast a wider net. At the very least they’ll Google what they’re looking for. If you don’t lay down solid digital foundations now, you will find yourself trailing behind in the future.
‘But drugs is a dirty business. It doesn’t make any difference to me what a man does for a living you understand. But your business is… a little dangerous – Don Corleone
Now some older suited and cufflinked businesses see this strategy as a little dangerous and a little grubby. Let’s speak our minds for a moment. All these kids tapping at their phones and saying things like #LOL #YOLO #UNICORNS4LYF. Can this really be a feasible way for businesses to connect with new clients, educate prospects and even sell? I think so, provided that you cater to the style of content needed. Check out the New York Times Business Twitter account. They’re not too salesy and don’t pushily redirect you anywhere, they’ve just taken their product and made it suitable for Twitter. Which strengthens their brand and keeps a new demographic of the person aware of their articles.
That Twitter account you’ve got which has a few likes and few retweets every week; Will be instrumental in the years to come. Nothing is perfect, and of course, given the velocity and volatility of Social Media, problems do happen and mistakes are made. Be glad though that you’re making them now and they give you an insight into how you can improve and advance.
If you’re a big B2B business, Social is an area where you can take more risks with your marketing. There is minimal cost risk and an unsuccessful campaign tends to be ignored not attacked, so long as it isn’t offensive. Your client base isn’t there anyway. If it works, do it some more! Do you have an unorthodox approach you’ve been looking to try out but can’t risk it failing on your established channels? Test it on LinkedIn. The feedback is honest, calculable, quick and provides an untapped well of leads.
If someone was to approach you and say they weren’t having any success finding new clients, you would likely ask them what they were doing to try and find new ones. If they then went on to say that their strategy involves going to the same place, every day, and saying the same things, every day, to the same people, every day. What would you say?
Well, first you’d slap them upside their head for being stupid and then you’d tell them that if they want new customers they should search in new places.
Midway through The Godfather II Michael says:
‘My father taught me many things here — he taught me in this room. He taught me — keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” – Michael Corleone
Whilst murder is frowned upon in Marketing, the essence of this idea is key for any business. If you engage with the social channels you’ll find new information on your competition. If you know what they’re doing you can prepare for it, keep pace with them and, if you’re really sneaky, steal their ideas. Given how many sectors have seen the digital disruption undermine the giants of their industry: Netflix for Blockbuster or Uber for regular Taxi Services. It is even more necessary to know the latest movements of your competitors and adjust accordingly.
You’ve gotta investigate every avenue open to you, otherwise, you’ll be sleepin’ with the fishes.
In many ways, it’s an offer you can’t refuse.