Interactive corporate communication: optimizing strategies for B2B

I was recently at the University of Montreal one evening, not to attend class, but to judge the work of 30 graduating students from the class entitled “Interactive corporate communication.”

The project

Each of the six teams was expected to optimize the internal communication plan of a B2B company in Quebec. The objective was simple: update a plan calling for communication channels that are mainly offline and transform them into online tools.

The objectives

I was impressed by the quality of the presentations. After carefully analyzing the situation, also known as an audit, which is an essential step to the success of latter steps of the process, the teams defined their objectives.

Here are some of them:

  • – Ensure compatibility between the corporate culture and the integration of new communication tools. Essential for managing change and the adopting new practices.
  • – Increase the number and the frequency of news items to increase the flow by 10% with respect to 2012. A quantifiable objective, which is very important.
  • – Facilitate retroaction by developing simple and fast methods. Nowadays, people want to participate, express themselves and leave comments.

The channels and privileged tactics

Obviously and although some teams preferred traditional channels, the majority of the methods suggested were supported by technology.

Even though several other tactics were cited, below are those that were mentioned the most by students:

  • Redesigning a website was at the heart of the strategies, and most other tactics targeted namely the generation of traffic to the website.
  • Company blogs was also at the centre of most strategies. Creating content, and not just words but also videos, is a priority today.
  • Newsletters were in most plans mainly as a means to develop customer loyalty. The students suggested transferring existing printed magazines and newspapers towards the digital, as they held this to be a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly means to reaching the largest number of people.
  • Mobile applications were popular and all online initiatives were optimized for digital tablets and smart phones. Do we have any other choice in 2013?
  • – All teams mentioned the importance of being present on social networks and of creating a community, mainly on Facebook and Twitter, but especially of hiring or contacting a community manager. Yes, this has become a whole new profession!

If you are in the B2B sector, I suggest downloading this report from MarketingProfs: B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budget and Trends, that paints a very interesting picture of the situation in 2012.

The evaluation

The criteria used for the evaluation of their strategies were the same as if you had to evaluate those of an agency:

  • – Quality of the presentation;
  • – Relevance, realism and originality of the plan and of the methods suggested;
  • – Totality of elements considered;
  • – Evaluation techniques examined.

One of the teams even left the path well travelled and used Prezi, an original tool for presentations, rather than the traditional PowerPoint. I must admit that I gave a few additional points for this daring initiative…

At the end of the day, I had a very nice evening with motivated and competent students as well as the feeling to have accomplished something. One team, Branché Communications, even offered me a plant. A bribe? No…but my 23 years of experience should serve some constructive purpose and bring me a few advantages after all.  🙂

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