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Please complete all fields if you'd like to receive industry- or location-specific content. A scientist at my core with a yen for experimentation, I formed a reluctant hypothesis: people could become better problem solvers without teaching them any root cause analysis tools.
At the beginning of my problem solving workshops or problem-solving section within an improvement activity or other type of learning activity—before I deliver any content at all—I ask workshop participants to pair up and list 2-3 problems in the problem column. Then I have them turn the worksheet over and list the same 2-3 problems in the left column. Finally, I ask them to list the potential countermeasures that would address the root causes they’ve identified (10-20 minutes). Now can we assume those countermeasures are the “best” countermeasures without deeper exploration and data analysis?
I’ve started thinking root-causy at work, and it really has allowed me to identify the systems that are malfunctioning and why they might be.
Your observation about the difficulties in getting people to be analytical mirrors our experience in a variety of government settings.
In a B2B sales cycle, businesses tend to interface directly with potential customers multiple times in order to inform and educate the prospect. Your social media practices can demonstrate your business value which can lead to purchases.
Because B2B purchases are typically more considered decisions, B2B buyers tend to value the recommendations and feedback they receive from colleagues and other industry professionals.
B2B products tend to change less frequently than their B2C counterparts, so the social content you produce for your marketing efforts will create value for a longer period of time.
As a person that does social media for a B2B company I can say all the points you have listed above are right on the money.
I also do social media for a B2B Deal company and its great to hear some positive feedback about the process. As a copywriter who’s naturally also involved in soc med and content marketing for my company, I found #3 quite interesting. Still, getting our arms around the content we do generate, monitor and respond to can seem overwhelming at times. Sheldon- I totally agree that they are different and that tactics used in B2B can benefit B2C as well as the reverse. Astrid- social media marketing is a viable business marketing tactic, so it’s not typically frowned upon to use Facebook, Twitter, etc. I feel the post is definitely interesting and helpful, but I don’t agree with some of the points.


Just wanted to point out some differing perspectives that don’t necessarily jibe with your points. I have been asked by investors to start a hybrid marketing agency based on inbound principles. I want intuitive products, a rare need to call customer service departments, and smooth encounters when I do.
I invite you to try my experiment—or your own variation—and report back on this blog so we can learn from each other. I believe that I may have been guilty in making problem solving more difficult than it needs to be.
The approach you outline here reminds me that our goal is not only to enable the team to improve the process they are tackling, but to have them start *thinking* differently. One other definition of problem: a gap between where you are and where you want or need to be. In most cases that means less content, and B2B typically generates less negative sentiment than B2C. Buyers research products, educate themselves, review competition, seek opinions via referrals or recommendations and in many cases, interact with brands before making a purchase decision. Because the sales cycle is longer, B2B companies need to focus on relationships as part of that process. Using social media to identify prospects, connect with them and start building a relationship is faster and easier in the B2B market. Social media provides a great opportunity to solicit product feedback, which can help influence the purchasing decision of the buyer. Seldom is the lack of social content in B2B viewed as positive, but I think you have a good point. I’m going to use your #3 as a way to de-panic folks about dedicating resources to content activities! I think the approach used is usually defined by what your business objectives are and that’s what makes the difference.
I know that maintaining relationships is the most important aspect of B2B social media, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to gain extra fans as well.
Every person who is already passionate about the company or brand has to get behind it and push. They have to leave regular, meaningful comments under official posts and click the Like buttons (to achieve better Wall penetration for existing Page subscribers).
I’m now considering that it may be more important to build critical thinking and problem solving mindsets than skill sets.


B2B purchasing decisions tend to be more involved and relationship driven, and that suits social media. Through social media you can interact with the prospect and nurture the relationship, which can ultimately influence the final purchase decision.
That means B2B companies have less content to control and less negative content to deal with. Communication with prospects, engaging them, educating them and leading them towards purchase creates the foundation for a long term relationship.
Overall B2B marketers have it a bit easier simply due to less volume, but proper allocation of time and resources should allow any business to maintain control of their message. You can attract the right audience by providing relevant, useful content and engaging in meaningful relationships. I need to or rather what to choose between providing a marketing service to either B2C companies or B2B companies. My career started in heavy industry and then I ran my own retail stores for many years before marketing took center stage. Think of what that practice could do to solve not only business problems, but family problems, relationship problems, political problems (Washington, do you hear me?), and societal and global problems. And I believe that it may be easier to establish a root-cause mind than I initially thought. Ishikawa and Pareto are too much for many operators or hospital staff who face simple problems and so I use the 5 Whys often to get them thinking about root cause. Begs the question whether people behave their way into new thinking, or think they way into new behavior.
Therefore B2B companies can maintain more control over their social content which makes it easier to get their message through to the right audience.
Compared to B2C, the B2B buying decision is a much more considered process and it’s based largely on business value. And in many situations, the social media relationship continues past the sale through support, updates and continuing education. Good luck with the de-panicking- that’ll probably be a more difficult task than the copywriting! Studies say that a B2B decider spends about 2 hours online each day looking potential business partners, products or supplier.



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