Having great Past Performances is a terrific start, but in the age of social media, B2G marketers who do not ‘listen’ constantly to online buzz could lose. Imagine that someone types your company name and out pops a negative reader’s comment under an industry story in the Washington Post or Federal Computer Week. This comment gets indexed right into your ‘online brand reputation’. Now imagine a government program manager (decision maker) googling your company two minutes before a presentation. Imagine the possibilities!
BtoB, the B2B marketing industry’s bible, has recently reported that “the influence of negative reviews on social sites is increasing, according to a new survey, with 80% of respondents saying poor reviews have caused them to change their purchasing decisions”. Data is derived from a study called “2011 Online Influence Trend Tracker” study from marketing company Cone Inc. Conversely, same study shows that confidence in positive online reviews also is growing, with 87% of respondents saying that thumbs-up comments influence their decision to buy.
In Public sector marketing, most federal contractors trust their Past Performances as the only source of ‘testimonials’ given that most agency executives aren’t likely to publicly endorse a product or a service. But with the advent of social media, you can go to Washington Technology, Federal Computer Week or Government Executive DOT COMS, and note that beneath each story or feature about a B2G player, there are open-comments. More over, if the topic is controversial, and your company is mentioned, you will note a threaded discussion that includes comments with negative and positive tonalities- ones you have no control over as they are published by the free press.
Marketing Solution: Be proactive. Survey the online terrain where your contracting business is mentioned. Then devise a proactive plan to ensure your past performances, case studies, and raving fans are on-guard to help you protect your online reputation. Moreover, don’t assume that your government customer is only looking at media-you-control such as your corporate web site. They could be googling your company right now. Are you ready?