Social in the bathroom. A case for better dialogue in the KBB sector

Social media, the channel that engulfs us with opinion, thought, varying degrees of nonsense, best practice, worst practice, average practice, sales talk, click bait or meaningless give-away competitions to siphon our personal data. It’s a river that flows fast. 

People strive to become a social captain or an ‘influencer’

Building a strategy to get a defined ‘return’ is a is a major headache for most. My experience and the context to this post is primarily based within the b2b commercial sector and more specifically the KBB sector in which I’ve worked in for 10+ years. It’s been slow to adopt digital. No objections there.

KBBDaily reports that the market sees customers update kitchens every 13 years. This figure rings true also in the bathroom sector and echoes the slow integration of digitally inspired innovation into the product itself compared to the FMCG tech inspired products we update monthly.

Large KBB manufacturers/retailers online digital objectives/goals are, and have always been, typically measured by more high level behaviour and analytical funnels:

  • Brochure downloads
  • White paper views
  • Product samples
  • Technical help
  • Customer advice
  • Reseller forwarding
  • Measurement/specification tools 
  • Instruction guides/data sheets
  • Event marketing 

Whilst I’d never suggest that you avoid developing a base strategy without some core KPI’s to measure, Its clear that many and larger outfits tend to miss out on ‘being social’. The ‘being human’ aspect gets lost. 

Numbers without relationship.

Too often I see a reliance in social media marketing on the basic numbers. ie. how many followers do we have this month? A question you hear/ask regularly? Follower count can only ever be a general stat unless the absolute campaign objective is to gain followers. 

What I’ve seen through 10 years of marketing and social media campaign management is the unwritten rule that, as a brand manager immersed in every marketing outreach channel, the relationship - the ‘being social’ element is absolutely crucial. 

  • Like your customers activity - if you genuinely like it. 
  • Comment regularly if your comment is genuine. 
  • If you have a network of followers using/building with your product then let them know your thoughts on their work. You’ll be amazed who else reads your comments and remembers your brand. 
  • Ask for their feedback on your products. Empower their status and gain valuable product insight - ever so valuable for any future NPD projects.

    Be the brand that communicates as a person because your competition likely won’t. Certainly in the b2b kbb sector there exists a massive gap in skills as traditional marketeers still rule and, to quote Seth Godin’s tremendous book, Linchpin, don’t invest in ‘emotional labour’. There is a ‘safeness’ to rely on the ‘cogs’ of analytics. The new digital generation customer wants to trust people who live and breathe the brand for all its good and not so good points.

Personas work both ways

Constructing a ‘tree’ of persona and comms channels is traditional and very common practice in most marketing teams. The construction and kbb market is a fine example

  • The consumer (split across varying age groups)
  • The Sales Director
  • The QS
  • The Architect
  • The Retailer
  • The Specifier
  • etc…

Social media is no exception and with the increasing depth of link tagging and schema markup its incredibly powerful and helps define both comms delivery type. 

Note: All your customers and suppliers have labelled your brand in exactly the same way!

Pitch your creative services. The cold call

The cold call. The freelancers last weapon. The key to initial success, in my experience. Don’t make it cold. Warm it up first.

So way back I designed a series websites for a wide-ranging base of clients that have no obvious correlation. A good few of these jobs came about with an informed cold call. Even the most basic of research warms it up (still surprising how rare this technique is) …simply, learn 2/3 core objectives that the site is trying to deliver or obtain. Real niche sectors help (less competition and more nitty-gritty under the bonnet). Once you’ve got this info you can make the call and actually discuss an aspect of the website that the ‘potential’ client can relate to. This is the refreshing alternative to simply telling them everything you can do. I’d bore myself. (note: this won’t be a long blog post).

Better still, and more fun. Target sectors that interest you. Hobbies, sport etc.

Lastly, look for typos.  I spotted a typo in a future clients brochure. I gave them a ring, I spoke to reception, who passed me to the Marketing Manager. We discussed the typo (with thanks), the conversation lead to lunch (what I did as a freelancer - gotta get this in!) and 4 months later a website and a new brochure. 

If work is slow, do some warm calls.


BrightonSEO April 2017

I’m faced with an all too common recognisable dilemma, that being, a write up on the latest BrightonSEO. This was my seventh visit. Previous blog incarnations have and still do, live in a mounting drafts pile. Simply put, there’s so much to discuss and collate that I never felt possible or qualified to comment. A recent request to share my day’s takeaways with a super swift deadline ensured that this long overdue commitment to a blog post actually happened.

My first BrightonSEO at the Brighton Centre.

Not a hardened veteran as such, nor a hardened SEO, but I did glance over towards the Dome and recall previous lightbulb moments that absolutely made me do my job differently and better. Dave Trott delivered a masterclass in lateral thinking, last year, as did Rory Sutherland just last week. Those are the moments that make BrightonSEO even more worthwhile.

The rise of structured data from Raj at Yext was a perhaps the most impressive opener I’ve seen. Highlighting just how fast the search landscape is moving and indeed just how the best in SEO/marketing/design can never stand still. (we’re all in this together). Children will drive this industry faster than we can imagine. I found myself exploring the concept of what happens when the traditional ‘website’ is a thing of the past.

Technical takeaways are always in great supply at BrightonSEO, Tom Bennet expertly unpicked Google Tag manager to show its analytical power. Answer box ranking techniques from Adrian Phipps kicked off a superb pm session which I’m sure had many scribbling/typing furiously and secretly hoping their own competition weren’t hearing. My own desire to blog more was encouraged by the prolific Sam Charles. Here’s to that!

Although impossible to attend every session, BrightonSEO is continually relevant and should certainly be in your training plan. If you don’t manage to scramble a free ticket, the prices are still well under budget. Roll on September.

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