In reviewing some of the leading marketing automation web sites, The Marketing Id came across a brilliant whitepaper from Marketo titled, “The Definitive Guide to B2B Social Media.” There is much to gain from reading this 46-page treasure trove, but The Marketing Id was especially intrigued by Part Four, which talks about “Incorporating Social Media at Every Stage of the Revenue Cycle.”
A company’s revenue cycle, according to Marketo, “starts from the day a prospect first hears about a company and continues to a dialog and then to the sale and beyond to the customer relationship.” This revenue cycle is akin to a product marketing (PM) life cycle but goes beyond PM’s traditional “concept to launch” timeline. Thus, The Marketing Id thinks of the revenue cycle as a “customer marketing life cycle,” where “concept” corresponds to when a prospect is born and “launch” relates to when the customer is acquired–but the important distinction from PM is that marketing to the customer does not stop at customer acquisition.
The really interesting part of the Marketo discussion is how social media can play a key role throughout this revenue cycle – “beginning before prospects are even identified (while they research or follow thought leadership on social media sites) to after they become customers (as they remain loyal customers through retention and cross- and up-sell opportunities).”
Accordingly, Marketo defines four key stages in the revenue cycle that can be positively influenced by social media marketing:
• Seed nurturing – involves developing relationships with very early-stage prospects before they even enter a company’s database as a lead
• Lead nurturing – requires building and maintaining relationships with known prospects as they educate themselves about a company
• Opportunity nurturing – entails supporting the sales cycle once a buyer engages in a formal buying process with a company’s sales representative
• Customer nurturing – necessitates deepening and expanding relationships with existing customers
Marketo has done a very good job going into detail on each one of these nurturing processes. So The Marketing Id will not regurgitate what Marketo has done so well and would refer readers to their guide (click on link above). Instead, The Marketing Id will encapsulate these four nurturing processes into a diagram (shown below) that captures the essence of the social media marketing value chain in a company’s revenue cycle.
If there were any doubts about the value-add of social media marketing in a B2B environment, The Marketing Id hopes that at least some of these have been now dispelled.