It's been an eventful couple of years for cross-channel specialty coffee retailer Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR). From acquisitions (three in the last 18 months) to the launch of a B-to-B wholesale website, GMCR has been busy growing its 29-year-old brand.
if you're not tweeting, blogging or streaming, don't feel stupid. You probably just have bottom-line accountability and don't want to waste money. Come to think of it, you're actually sounding pretty smart. But, you're probably receiving pressure to jump on the social media bandwagon. It's just that you're justifiably concerned that it may not yield measureable benefits. Like all direct marketing, approaching social media efforts from a strategic perspective will improve your chances.
Aside from texting within conferences and the use of apps as repeat business tools, what has mobile to show for its role in B-to-B marketing? It's time to acknowledge the apparent lack of publicized success stories or frank discussion over the challenges of mobile B-to-B marketing.
Greater emphasis is clearly placed on value and multiple-unit purchases rather than on adding “frills” via merchandising tactics beyond clearance areas and rebates. An interesting aside is that unlike B-to-C customers who have come to expect plentiful free shipping offers, the lack of such promotions does not seem to negatively impact the B-to-B customer’s decision to make a purchase.
"Five years from now, we'll be more focused on our delivery business, with a higher mix of technology, and sell more private-label products," Ron Sargent, Staples' chairman/CEO, told investors attending the 26th Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference. "There will be more services in our mix, because there is not a lot of inventory and the margins are great.” The company will continue to expand its technology offerings. "We're already the third-largest reseller of computers, behind Best Buy and Walmart, but the problem with computers is that the more you sell, the more you lose — you price them low and promote them heavily."
Outsell estimates that marketing on social networks will grow 43.3 percent in 2010. Forrester Research predicts that B-to-B firms will spend $54 million on social media marketing in 2014, up from just $11 million in 2009. Paid advertising on social networks — banners, text ads and search advertising, as well as the more targeted advertising being deployed by Facebook and MySpace — is a small portion of B-to-B marketers’ social spending.
In late November, we surveyed the All About ROI editorial board members and other marketing insiders to gauge their views on the year ahead. At press time on the eve of the 2009 holiday homestretch, with their hopes for a better sales outcome than 2008 looking modest at best, few saw an especially bright light shining by December. Instead, many settled in to make the appropriate adjustments for reduced demand.
There's nothing today's customer dislikes more than falling into the gap between a company's online and offline operations. Feeling stranded, abandoned and disrespected, even previously loyal customers start looking elsewhere when channel conflict gets in the way of their needs. Customers want a coherent, seamless and positive experience — not your conflict.