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B2B Companies Play Catch-up in Social Media Arena

Q&A on Social Media with CMO Grant Johnson

This Q/A with Grant Johnson, conducted recently by Drew Neisser, CEO of Renegade, a NYC-based social media and marketing consultancy, also ran here on The Drew Blog.

B2B companies for the most part have been playing catch up to their B2C counterparts in the social media arena. One company that is coming on strong in this area is Pega, a company that helps other companies be more focused on their customers via BPM and CRM software solutions. I was delighted to able to catch up with Grant Johnson, Pega’s CMO as part of the soon to be released Social Media Fitness Study. (BTW, CMO’s can catch up with Grant at The CMO Club Thought Leadership Summit starting April 26th in NYC.)

DN: Large B2C companies significantly outscored large B2B companies in this study. Why do you think this is the case?
Grant Johnson: While social has proven to have vast benefits for all companies that become adept at it, there’s little doubt that B2C organizations – especially those with millions of customers that come into daily contact with consumers – have more opportunities to show they’ve embraced this. At Pega our target-account approach differs from many other B2C organizations. That’s not to say we’re not embracing social media, because we are, but we’re leveraging it in a far more targeted way than most B2C organizations do based on the size of our audience.

DN: Can you speak to the role social media plays in Pega’s overall marketing mix?
Grant Johnson: Social has become an integral and formidable medium for us to leverage throughout marketing as we at Pega view it as part of our overall customer-centric market approach. We’re active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to ensure we’re engaging with our customers appropriately but also so we can continue building our brand awareness. We’ve added another dedicated full time resource to further our social media efforts and we’re confident that this role will continue to increase.

DN: You mentioned that social wasn’t gaining as much traction as you’d like. What are doing to address this?
Grant Johnson: I’m actually dedicating much more resource as traction is building faster this year.

DN: Is there a hope that if more employees are active in social that this could benefit the whole company?
Grant Johnson: We are encouraging more people to be involved in our overall social media efforts and we want to make sure the right people are engaged with customers and prospects across the whole client management lifecycle, whether it’s account executives, industry solutions, public relations, as well as ensure they know what’s appropriate and what’s not in this medium.

DN: Lots of companies especially B2B struggle to develop engaging content. Do you think this is category wide problem?
Grant Johnson: Yes. Many companies have reams of content, but it’s too centered on company promotion vs. customer and prospect engagement, when taking into consideration what stage of the buying cycle they are in (e.g. someone just surfing your Web site for the first time is not ready for a “how to pick a supplier” checklist). Also, we want to make sure we present content in the most digestible way possible. While they’ve no doubt proven useful at many things, 140 characters or 300-word blogs aren’t always the most appropriate way to do this.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Grant Johnson

A dynamic, senior-level technology executive with a proven track record building businesses on a global basis. As Chief Marketing Officer for Pegasystems in Cambridge, MA Johnson is responsible for worldwide marketing strategy and execution. He oversees corporate marketing, field marketing, industry marketing, product marketing, marketing programs, marketing communications, analyst and public relations, and global web strategy. Previously, Johnson was the Vice President of Marketing at Guidance Software (GUID) and Vice President of Marketing and served as an officer for FileNet Corp., a $400+ million enterprise software vendor acquired by IBM in 2006. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Marketing for FrontBridge, an email management vendor acquired by Microsoft. Johnson led the company’s re-naming and re-launch, built the marketing team and delivered integrated marketing programs to support significant and sustained revenue growth. He has also served as Director of Marketing for Symantec, with worldwide responsibility for the Norton brand, and as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Ethentica, an enterprise security vendor. Johnson received his bachelor of arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his master’s in business administration from Pepperdine University. He has also published several articles on best practices in high tech marketing and co-authored the book, PowerBranding™

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