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B-to-B with a 3.0 Edge

By Apr 01, 2010

Vickie Chiappetti, e-marketing project manager for Milwaukee Electric Tool, tells why cutting-edge new media works for her business-to-business company.

CM: With a Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube channels and video links in e-mail, you do a lot of new media marketing. Why is that important in your category, selling power tools to distributors?

CHIAPPETTI: We talked to Amazon.com, where we sell products, and they told us was one of their key success drivers, so we didn’t need to re-create the wheel. We have different audiences, and they read different things online. Our president [Steven Richman] is a very big fan of buzz marketing and social media, and he’s all for this. Our parent company is all for Facebook, so I started our Facebook page, always linking back to our Web site.

CM: But power tools on Twitter?

CHIAPPETTI: Well, it’s peer pressure. (Laughs) No, it’s free and it works. I sent out a tweet yesterday about a press release and saw all kinds of re-tweets immediately.

CM: How do these social efforts intersect with other campaigns like e-mail marketing to opt-ins?

CHIAPPETTI: Milwaukee Electric e-mails once a month to users who’ve signed up to receive those messages. So the social marketing keeps the pistons moving between mailings. The way I explain it to executives is that we’re always talking, touching and communicating with our end-users.

CM: Was it hard to show the buzz value of these new-media efforts?

CHIAPPETTI: Soon after we started, our reps at a trade show heard people talking about the videos. I said, “That’s just the beginning.” Now when we do a product launch, it’s expected that we’ll roll out video and make use of social media. For our ShockWave drill bit line, we animated performance against competitors in Flash on the site, but also put it up in video and filmed a third version for use at trade shows. So that now lives in three formats. That’s cost-efficient.

CM: What about demonstrating bottom-line ROI?

CHIAPPETTI: Can I tie back to sales increases? Not yet. But that was true back in 2002 when I started e-mail marketing for [department store chain] Kohl’s. They were wary, but they became advocates in time.