Bodnar and Cohen’s book is intended primarily to debunk the myth that social media marketing is not suitable for B2B (business-to-business) companies. Bodnar and Cohen, instead, argue that communication through social media is particularly suitable for B2B companies, since they have:
· A clear understanding of their stakeholders (partners, retailers, users and so on)
· A detailed knowledge of their sector
· Sales based on mid- and long-term relationships
· A long tradition in presenting the company and producing content to inform their stakeholders
· The need to generate higher revenues with a lower marketing budget
The objective of Bodnar and Cohen’s book is to illustrate the integrated use of social media to generate qualified leads (lead generation). Social media of particular interest are: blogs integrated into the company’s website / domain, company profiles and pages on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, e-mail marketing (especially the company newsletter), as well as the optimization of the website / blog for mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, iPhone, iPad, and so on). Qualified contact is intended as a person “with his hand raised”, interested in the company’s products / services. Why using social media for lead generation? In the introduction, Bodnar and Cohen argue that B2B companies present a specific need to generate higher revenues from a lower marketing budget, or to maximize the ROI (Return on Investment), the ratio between the customer acquisition costs and the total value of the customer. Bodnar and Cohen argue that, in the medium to long term, social media marketing can not only increase the volume of qualified leads, but also reduce the cost of customer acquisition. The achievement of both results depends on the function and value that content holds within social media, a key element to drive the company’s stakeholder into “raising his hand”. Content production and publishing represent a cost for the company, just as any other marketing investment. But, unlike paid channels (such as advertising), which cease to generate qualified leads once the budget is reached, the content published on social media is present in the medium to long term, detached from the initial production and publication budget. They thus represent a rent, which gradually lowers the cost of customer acquisition. Bodnar and Cohen write: “Social media operate as a rent: they exponentially increase the volume of traffic and leads over time.” In addition, a company that can generate “organic” leads (i.e. not deriving from paid sources) is able to spend less for traditional advertising space.