A Cisco reseller has backed claims made by Microsoft that traditional marketing techniques are dying, claiming that use of social media and analytics is essential for the B2B IT channel.
Newcastle reseller ForFusion, which was founded in 2007 and is partnered with the likes of Cisco and Microsoft, has transformed its marketing approach over the past year and claims the move has been incredibly successful.
The comments come after Microsoft said yesterday that it and its partners struggle to target the right amount of appropriate people through traditional methods such as email marketing.
ForFusion's marketing leader Sean Ball agreed.
"It's no real surprise that old-hat marketing techniques don't work anymore – the ways people interact with organisations both professionally and personally has changed massively," he said.
"We've found that email simply doesn't work for us."
He said instead, his company has invested in sophisticated analytics tools which allow the company to specifically target potential leads.
"If a company has a static IP address, we can know if that company has been on our website, all their contact information, when it was founded, which pages they went on, how long they were on pages – for us it has been an extremely powerful tool," he said.
Microsoft said yesterday that from now on, it would invest in more digital tools for itself and its partners. Ball said the B2B IT channel was severely lacking in this area at the moment.
"Social media is not integrated and is an undervalued tool, especially in B2B marketing," he said. "A lot of B2B companies are on social media because they panicked and as a knee-jerk reaction got on it because they thought they should be, but have not given it much thought. Or they complete ignore it all together. Both ways of doing that are obviously wrong."
According to IDC figures from 2013, 61 per cent of enterprise IT projects are now paid for by lines of business instead of from the central IT department, signalling a shift in power when it comes to making big technology decisions.
Ball added that this has had a significant impact on the way his firm markets content.
"We're planning an event in April to promote a Cisco product that we're selling and the approach I have taken is, let's make it about the trends and the benefits of the solution," he said.
"B2B people can be quite technical about the system – it's all great for technical people but you have to think about customers. Business managers hold the budget these days and they don't want to hear that. They want to hear 'what is this going to do for my business and when can I see a return'. That is the approach we take. We've been investing in Twitter ads and sponsored updates on LinkedIn and they have been extremely effective."
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