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By James Burchill

Participating on company-branded or managed social networks is the most commonly used tactic, with 87% of study participants indicating that they execute it. This is likely because of the ease of setting up profiles on social networking sites. Creating a social networking profile on Facebook or LinkedIn may only take minutes, but without a strategy and consistent execution, results will likely suffer.

This is also the case with the next most commonly used B2B social marketing tactics; microblogging on company branded or managed microblogs. It only takes minutes to create a Twitter profile, but the results will be reflective of the strategy and consistent execution of this tactic.

Another commonly used tactic is blogging on company-branded or managed blogs. Consistently creating and publishing blog posts requires significant resources, but since it is a highly effective tactic, more than half of B2B marketers participating in this year’s study indicated they were doing so.

* Source: Marketing Sherpa

JAMES BURCHILL shows individuals and companies how to profit from the innovative use of Internet technologies, strategic content and social media marketing. You can find out more at James’ website and you can subscribe to his J-List and get over 40 articles, reports and advice on Internet Marketing today.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Stephen Rhodes

More and more, I hear clients talk about being lost when it comes to the latest trends in marketing, meaning, of course, social media.

It reminds me of the mid 90s when many small businesses migrated to the Internet because…well because they thought they had to be hip. Many jumped on board without much consideration for why they were among the newly converted or how it would help their business. “We gotta be there,” was the mantra in many boardrooms. Some are still trying to figure it out.

The same thing is happening today with social media. Businesses are setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, Flickr and even YouTube accounts without so much as a …how will this help our business grow?  “We gotta be there” is still the clarion call.

Advertising hasn’t changed much in 100 years. It’s still about  attracting attention, engaging minds, triggering  emotions, and changing the way people think. If you can do that you will generate sales.

What has changed is the delivery methodology.

If you want to influence behavior there is a spectrum of tools including direct mail, newspaper and magazine ads, commercial websites, radio and TV, and, of course, social media – the new darling of marketing.

The key is knowing which tool(s) works best for you. And not all tools will be effective for your business. I have a client who can track new sales every time we deliver a direct mail piece to a group of targeted clients. The key word here is targeted, often lost among the “I gotta be hip” crowd. But the point is, direct mail works for him, and he can see (measure) the return on his investment.

First and foremost is understanding your customers. Who are they and how can you reach them is the pivotal question. What do you have that they want. (the what’s in it for me question) Can I build an ongoing relationship and how can I capitalize on that to build an even bigger customer base.

These are questions you should ask every day.

Don’t get me wrong. Social Media is the future of marketing and communications. Building your own group of followers, a community of customers, all engaged and part of your business is a powerful opportunity to communicate a targeted message.

But take a measured approach. Who is your customer, what message do you want to deliver and what is the best way to get it there? Some things never change.

Reposted from The Marketing Pad

Stephen Rhodes is President of The Marketing PAD, a full-service strategic communications and marketing company. Read Blogpad or visit The Marketing Pad online.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Jeremy Grushcow

Use of social media by pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, and industry observers will continue to grow in scale, value and importance this year. The emergence of Twitter as a public health surveillance tool and the pending (still pending…) release of the FDA’s social media guidelines will contribute to this growth in the short term, and we’ll continue to keep an eye on novel developments.

This post is the first in a series briefly outlining the biotech industry trends we’ve been following on the blog and noting some recent developments, plus directions for 2011.

Re-posted from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Jeremy Grushcow is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Mary Dytyniak
Social media and search engine optimization have been the buzz words in business in 2010, says Dev Basu, President and CEO of Powered by Search.

Basu, along with panelists Krista LaRiviere, Co-Founder and CEO of gShift Labs and Roy Pereira, President and CEO of Shiny Ads were keynote speakers at the final Growing Your Business session of 2010: Search Engine Optimization and Social Marketing December 9 at the University of Toronto Mississauga Faculty Club.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is currently the leading online tool businesses use to recruit clients and customers on the web.  Google accumulated an astounding 16.4 billion searches worldwide in the month of June 2010, according to Comstar.com, and it’s no wonder page ranking is on business moguls’ lips. But according to Basu, recognized as Canada’s foremost search optimization guru, basic page ranking techniques aren’t enough to drive traffic to a website. Although it is fast, scalable and easy to control, users don’t trust paid page rankings or top results, he says. And 90% of search users zone in on organic and local results.

While people love to buy, they don’t like being sold [to]. Essentially, [they] don’t trust an ad. That’s why people don’t click it,” he said.

Basu suggested that smaller businesses with tight budgets move their websites over to a free content management system such as WordPress, Expression Engine or Drupal to further optimize their sites. Building links and credibility so that suppliers, venders and local directories link back to a company’s website is an important step. So is ensuring that the site operates in a trusted domain and includes the essential components of a search engine friendly website: texts, links and images.

Krista LaRiviere and her company gShift, specializing in offering web presence optimization software, and aspire to make search engine optimization accessible to everyone.

“Our vision is to change the way people think of and perform organic search engine optimization. We want the entire world to be able to do their own organic search engine optimization. We want non-technical marketers to be able to do it and non-technical business people to be able to do it.”

Google Analytics is one solution. It’s a free tool many companies use to enhance search engine optimization. Google Analytics helps aggregate, track, manage and explain how a user’s website is being searched. One important component that businesses often overlook is key word selection. What clients type into search tool bars often does not match the key words businesses insert into their web pages. Tools such as Google Analytics and WordStream list what key words are being used by potential clients, explaining why a company’s page rank is lower than their competitors. Narrowing the choice of key words to indicate a unique product or service offered by a company, filters search users and increases clicks.

What about popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, boasting millions of users? Roy Pereira’s advertising technology company Shiny Ads relies on search engine optimization and social media to generate 90% of their inbound revenue. Pereira has moved on from using traditional marketing focused on micro websites and trade shows that he claims are no longer effective.

“Twitter is fantastic. It’s all text and it is all very searchable. It’s a great way to increase an awareness of what you’re up to as well as what your product is. Sending out a press release or [posting] the title of your press release on Twitter is alright, but it’s… a little spammy… [This] is so much more natural,” Pereira commented.

Tools such as Twitter reveal individual voices and personalities of those employees who represent a company, encouraging an open and honest relationship with potential clients, something that has now come to be expected in everyday business practice.

The Research Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre and the Ontario Center for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA) jointly host the 10-event series, which runs from September to June 2011.  For a complete schedule visit riccentre.com.

Mary Dytyniak will be graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts this June 2011. She is currently finishing her major in Professional Writing and a double minor in Classics and History. Mary has published works in the fields of non-fiction, creative, journalistic, research and corporate writing. She is currently pursuing a career in the magazine and publishing sector.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Stephen Rhodes

Sometimes we think that doing what we always do will yield better results. Often, doing what we always do yields the same results and if you are not happy with those results you need to change things.

Here are five things to think about as you enter a new calendar year.

1. Review your past year for what did and didn’t work.

It’s simple, if you measure the return on your marketing program. Have a look at what worked and what didn’t. Common sense should tell us to stick with the things that are working, and try new things in place of those that are not. Don’t beat a dead horse.

2. Develop a program to measure success. Survey, measure results, ask your customers.

Ok, so you couldn’t complete the first assignment above because you don’t measure the success of your marketing program. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you need to understand what is working and what isn’t, so track sales related to a specific campaign and compare those results to the cost of running the campaign. If it costs more to run the campaign than …I think you get the idea.

3. Look at new ways to create a dialogue with your customers. Twitter perhaps.

Some business owners are afraid to talk to their customers and that’s why social networking tools like Twitter are unattractive. Developing an ongoing dialogue with your customers can help you retool the business on the fly, responding specifically to needs identified by your customer. Try it, it’s addictive. Talking to your customers is a good thing.

4. Find bloggers in your industry and subscribe to their musings for new ideas.

You are not alone in your sphere of influence. There are experts everywhere online and you can subscribe to any number of blogs that could be useful to your business. Go to Google blog search (http://blogsearch.google.com/ ) and search for your areas of interest. You can subscribe through a reader or simply have the material delivered to your email inbox.

5. Set out a measurable plan for the year and check the pulse monthly.

Don’t wait until December to find out that your business is under-performing. Set out a plan and check monthly to ensure you are on target. If you have three months of under-performance, you need to make a change. Better you do this in March than November. Be nimble, monitor your business and adjust accordingly.

Reposted from The Marketing Pad

Stephen Rhodes is President of The Marketing PAD, a full-service strategic communications and marketing company. Read Blogpad or visit The Marketing Pad online.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Jeremy Grushcow

Tech startups use social media avidly [rabidly?], but biotech companies? Not so much.  Biotech companies should be blogging, tweeting and linking in like mad, though.  Here’s why:

  1. Your customers (pharma companies) do it. More and more pharma companies are active in social media. Take a look at this article in the December issue of Life Science Leader (h/t @FiercePharma) or read the Dose of Digital blog any day of the week and you’ll be directed to interesting information about how products are being developed, tested and marketed. These are things you need to keep in mind as you move through your own product development process. Also, lots of pharma folks are on LinkedIn, so if you are as well, you’ll maximize your ability to reach out through personal connections when you’re building a constituency for your partnering deals.  Here’s my Twitter list of BioPharma news and analysis.
  2. Your investors do it. Check out this Twitter List of Canadian VCs, Angel investors and other funders.  Look at what they’re talking about, and you’ll see you don’t have to tell people what you ate for lunch (or disclose your latest lab results) to convey that you’re doing something interesting that other people are interested in.  Check out the CVCA’s blog, Capital Rants or the Maple Leaf Angels blog.  In Toronto? Stop in at the MaRS blog or the R.I.C. blog to see where investors will be and what they’re thinking about.
  3. Your peers (other startups) do it. If you’re not participating in online conversations, you’re missing a world of good advice and perspectives.  Click over to Rick Segal’s blog or  StartupCFO, Mark MacLeod’s Blog. It doesn’t really matter that these guys aren’t involved in biotech. Lots of startups are facing similar issues to yours — funding, staffing, etc. and getting out of the biotech bubble from time to time can be a good thing.  Plus, being at a startup is isolating, particularly in biotech with its strong incentives to run a virtual company, so go online to find peers, mentors and other resources.

If this all sounds reasonable, but you’re still skeptical, or not interested, then find someone in your organization who’s excited about it, regardless of their actual job, and set him/her loose.  [Not totally loose, of course. Common sense is critical online because it’s hard to hit “undo” on the web, and appropriate confidentiality remains key to biotech ventures.  But all your people have common sense and discretion, right?]

We’ll be keeping an eye out for biotechs and other bioscience companies that are making good use of social media as part of our Biotech Trends series this coming year.  Other suggestions for 2010 biotech trends?  Let us know.

Re-posted from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Jeremy Grushcow is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By James Burchill

In business, you have but one function–to find new customers and keep them. Today I want to talk to you about using social media to augment this natural process.

The interesting thing about social media is that as a technology it facilitates something that we as humans do naturally. Social media accelerates the relationship from unknown to known. Sadly it has a tendency to bypass some of the natural checks and balances that we would normally implement (but I’ll save that for another time.)

Before we talk about social media’s ability to build our business, perhaps we should talk about the value of your network. The question I would ask, is this: Are all contacts in your network created equally?

Instinctively you realize this is a foolish question. You know some contacts are mere acquaintances, while other contacts have a deep bond to you in your business and represent true value.

The process of moving a contact (a prospect by another name) is simple and involves three stages. The first is to generate AWARENESS. This means people in your contact network know you exist, you are visible to them.

Although you’re visible to them, they are not sure about your business, your true value, or what you can do for them. To increase their value (to you) it requires moving them from awareness to TRUST.

At the level of trust (and you could subdivide this into two categories) contacts have a sense of what you do. They have proof. Second level of trust would be social proof, whereby they not only know what you can do, they’ve heard other people say so as well.

Finally the third stage is ACTION. They are now aware of you, trust you, and have heard good things about you, and are now ready to take action (which usually means they buy from you).

Now you understand the three stages you can probably see how social media facilitates and accelerates the movement between stages in your network. Here’s a question for you: Without thinking too much, do you know what kinds of social media would be good for each stage in your network’s evolution?

For instance, Twitter (which is publicly available) would be a prime example of building awareness. Facebook, which requires either personally friending an individual, or permitting someone to fan your page, is a prime example of an engaged, trust based platform.

Moving your network to take action can occur on almost all social media platforms but there is one that lends itself very well, your blog. Capable of sharing detailed information, pictures, video and audio, your blog is a perfect “grand central” for your online social media activities.

You might find it interesting to note that studies have indicated approximately 85% of your network is in the “awareness” stage. Approximately 10% of your network is in the “trust” stage, and about 5% are ready to take “action” (buy something.)

Armed with the understanding of how you move a prospect through the value proposition in your network and increase their overall value to you and your business, I imagine you are wondering how you’ve allocated your social media activities to date…

If you’re like most people, you’re probably spending a disproportionately large amount of time on the awareness stage (which is a bit like trying to be seen in a crowded room), when you really should be focusing on converting them to the trusting stage on your network’s evolution.

It’s certainly something to think about isn’t it?

JAMES BURCHILL shows individuals and companies how to profit from the innovative use of Internet technologies, strategic content and social media marketing. You can find out more at James’ website and you can subscribe to his J-List and get over 40 articles, reports and advice on Internet Marketing today.

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