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Archive for February, 2012

If you’re a B-to-B corporate marketer, should you extend your marketing program to Pinterest?

Can we put a pin in the marketing hype around Pinterest?

Dumb question, right? After all, Pinterest is the latest hot social sharing network. And we’re talking hotter than hot.  I recently saw Pinterest described as the fastest growing social networking site ever (Facebook included). 

A HubSpot e-book, How to Use Pinterest for Business, cites data from Hitwise 
which ranks relative newcomer Pinterest the fifth most visited social site,
ahead of more established heavyweights such as LinkedIn and Google+.

And leave aside for a moment the potential advantages of hitching your brand to the latest social media meteor. What could possibly be the harm in adding another social sharing site to your mix? Just dig into the corporate marketing vault. Pull a nice assortment of photos, posters, ads and videos. Create your profile. Put up a pinboard or two. And watch the audience engagement and site traffic roll in.

So, should you extend your marketing program to Pinterest?

I’m going to step out onto Luddite’s Leap here and say “no.” Especially if you’re in a B-to-B relationship with your most important buyer or specifier audiences. And maybe even if you’re B-to-C.

If three or more of the following statements apply to you and your organization, you might want to hold off for a while on “pinning,” and instead put your immediate focus and resources on other priorities:

14: Your e-mail open and click-through rates are plummeting, but you’re continuing to pump out e-mails without a plan for testing ways to turn around those metrics.

13: You’ve yet to blog, post a video on YouTube, explore SlideShare as a content distribution channel, or engage with groups relevant to your audience on LinkedIn.

12: You’re still struggling to “close the loop” between where your online traffic (and leads) are coming from (i.e., sources), and which of those channels are converting into engaged followers or actual customers.

11: Your marketing team is already feeling challenged to sustain regular updates, useful curation and community engagement via the other social sharing sites where you already have a presence.

10: You’re not going to be able to add any budget, staff or outsource marketing support in the near future.

9: It’s been longer than you’d like since your team produced a relevant, differentiating content asset — an ebook, a how-to video, a webinar, a useful widget — for the audience(s) you’re striving to reach and engage.

8: You’ve yet to conduct an A/B landing page test, to see if a different approach to copy, graphics and the registration form can make an impact on downloads of your existing content assets.  

7: You’ve yet to develop a content asset and make it available to all comers, ungated, just to see how far and wide your content can circulate.

6: Beyond “It’s growing like gangbusters!” or “Everyone else is doing it,” you’re having a hard time articulating a cogent rationale for adding Pinterest to your marketing mix.

5: You’ve yet to hear from any of your customers or prospective customers who are using Pinterest to search for suppliers or product information online. 

4: Your lacking a solidly functional mobile website.

3: Your organization’s website is still closer to brochureware than a content-rich engagement hub.

2: You told yourself once that you’re not going to be one of those marketers who chases the next shiny object.

1: You remember that admonition your parents used to give: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

My skepticism about the current hype surrounding Pinterest might stem most from that last one, to be honest. I have no doubt people are discovering all sorts of ways to express and enjoy themselves, and to find others of like mind and interest, on Pinterest. But that doesn’t mean it automatically merits a land rush among marketers to stake out promotional turf on the world’s fastest-growing communal cork board.

In fact, I wonder if we marketers do ourselves, our brands and our customers a disservice if we continually behave as though every last medium, gathering place and community — offline or on — is automatically considered, first and foremost, a marketing opportunity.

Do we run the risk of irritating rather than engaging if people can’t find a place, a moment, to express themselves and relate to one another without Big Marketing poking itself into the conversation?
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What do you think? Am I all alone on Luddite’s Leap here? Or do you agree it wouldn’t hurt for B-to-B marketers to consider taking a pass on Pinterest?

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