We're delighted to welcome Billy Mitchell to Savvy B2B. Billy does a wonderful job of building community with B2B marketing professioinals, and in the post today he gives you a lot of great resources.
After 25 years in business-to-business marketing, I thought I knew all the tricks.
But if the economic downturn gave me anything, it was the time to realize how much I still had left to learn. It was time to forget the past and start over.
Late in '08, I began discovering hundreds of B2B marketing professionals with a passion for the business through LinkedIn, Twitter, the Inbound Marketing Summit, HubSpot, Marketing Sherpa, MarketingProfs and a variety of B2B blogs. I had found my tribe.
I connected with what I like to call "my B2B braniacs and maniacs" from all over the world, many of whom with more knowledge than myself on a variety of topics
I'm convinced this is the most exciting time ever to be in this business. It's refreshing to see smaller agencies and independent specialists so far ahead of the big firms. Large agencies have formed their new media teams and are hiring talent I'm sure, but it's no longer a land of the giants where the little guys live on scraps. The landscape is changing so fast it's best to stay nimble, scalable and connected to a network of trusted talent.
So now I tweet and blog on B2B Marketing too. You see, it's never been easy for me to stay quiet.
Before I say anymore, please allow me to share a story.
One Sunday long ago, I was a Little Sunbeam - a reluctant member of a church choir of preschoolers. I don't remember volunteering, but my dad was the preacher so that must've had something to do with it.
All I recall about our debut performance was standing on stage among kids my size and directly across from the bigger, older, official Sunbeams. Throughout the first song and well into the second, I couldn't remember a word. It looked like everyone was singing but me.
Embarrassed and frustrated, I stepped out from the line and walked to the center podium as the entire congregation watched. The music and singing stopped as I tugged on my dad's robe until he leaned down to hear what I was saying.
Since he was wearing a microphone, the whole church heard my confession and burst out laughing along with my dad. I don't remember much after that but I was told later, the older kids had been performing the first part of the program, and it hadn't even been the Little Sunbeams' turn to sing yet.
It's a lesson I'm still learning from. Take time to follow before stepping out front.
You don't need to know it all. It's okay to keep quiet, listen, learn and wait for your turn. If you're interested in blogging but not sure where to start, start by following. Here are two B2B blogging hubs I find amazing: B2B Marketing Zone and B2B Bloggers. Engage first by reading blogs and commenting. Often a topic or the comments, including yours, will give you an idea for a blog of your own.
As a self-proclaimed "idea man," I'd like to be a "thought leader" too. But I'm having fun following for now. Of the time I invest in social media and blogging, at least 90% is following and 10% could be considered leading.
What's your follow/lead formula? Is the time you invest paying off? I'd like to hear your comments so please don't forget to write. Thanks!
About the author: Billy Mitchell is the president and senior creative director of Atlanta-based B2B marketing firm MLT Creative. Located on the east side of Atlanta, GA, with a Northeast office in Rhode Island, Mitchell co-founded MLT Creative in 1984 along with partners Craig Lindberg and Glenn Taylor. Known as the Idea Launch PadTM for B-to-B marketers, MLT Creative's services include strategic planning, positioning, brand development, advertising, and sales promotions for business-to-business clients.