Posted by Cognito on Mon, Apr 30 2012

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Social media in B2B financial services: A summary of our recent Breakfast Byte

Last month, Cognito hosted the latest in its Breakfast Byte series. These informal gatherings tackle topics affecting the communications function. They are always popular for PR and marketing professionals but this particular one saw attendance that far exceeded our expectations. Why the huge turnout? I’d love to think it was the moderator (yes, yours truly) but the truth is it was the topic: we were discussing how to get tangible results from social media marketing in B2B financial services.

The Breakfast Byte

And that’s no surprise really. Anyone involved in marketing or communications – regardless of their sector – has seen how quickly the arrival of social media channels – like blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube – has changed the way many of us communicate:

  • In our personal lives, I don’t think anyone would disagree that the likes of Facebook have fast become ubiquitous.

  • The mainstream media has embraced Twitter: often as a source in their news stories, sometimes as the story itself.

  • Silicon Valley has adopted the notion of social as a business model: everyone it seems is clamouring to be the next LinkedIn.

  • Many consumer companies are building entire marketing campaigns on the basis of social.

The end result is that there is an increasing expectation that companies – whatever they’re selling – will have some kind of presence on social channels.

The question that preoccupies us - and many of our clients - is whether this can be successfully translated to the world of marketing in B2B financial services.

Cognito firmly believes that it can. More than that, we think that any firm that is not baking social into its communications strategy is missing a huge trick. Social is not going to replace the old ways but it’s certainly here to supplement them in a cost-effective and trackable way.

Our Breakfast Bytes are designed to be opportunities for participants to have a conversation with fellow practitioners. We were delighted to have such a great panel, people who are rolling up their sleeves and putting social media to work for their businesses every day:

  • Dan Marovitz, CEO of buzzumi, a company that enables individuals and companies to create paid video chats and webinars in seconds. His product is a social platform but he also leverages social media to promote it. And Dan’s not just at the vanguard of innovation in social media, he also has a deep understanding of the drivers and constraints of operating in large financial services organisations. Before starting buzzumi, he was a managing director at Deutsche Bank’s global transaction banking unit and also serves as an advisor to SWIFT’s innovation team.

  • Jennifer Reid, is marketing operations manager at Caplin Systems, a provider of software for advanced online trading. Its customers include Barclays Capital, Citi, Nomura, RBS and UBS. Caplin has made social an integral part of its marketing efforts and – with a client list like that – you can see that we’re a world away from Old Spice adverts. Indeed, Jennifer uses some pretty sophisticated social media marketing techniques to reach them.

  • Allan Schoenberg is head of corporate communications for CME Group, the derivatives marketplace. CME is one of the most socially active organisations in finance, with a lively Twitter account and even its own online social magazine, called Open Markets. On a more personal level, Allan himself is one of the most accessible and active individuals that I know online – maintaining a presence on almost every major social network and often straddling business and personal lives: clearly a man who has embraced social media.

To find out what the key takeaways from the discussion were, please download out summary.

We’d love to hear from you about your own experience in using social media marketing. Are you thinking about it? Have you started? What were the results? What were the pitfalls? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Breakfast Byte,
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