Last Wednesday I posted about the cool social media experiment being staged by John Bottom of Base One at the 2010 IDM B2B Marketing conference in London. Well, today is the big day. As I write this, John is getting ready to make his presentation on the other side of the “pond.” Good luck, John.

In case you missed it and don’t want to click back, the gist of this experiment goes like this: John and his team have created a content marketing piece called “Threats & Opportunities: the Future of Social Media as viewed by the UK’s most Senior Marketers” and are attempting to generate 1,000 downloads before the end of the day. This is all in an effort to prove to the upper level marketing executives in attendance at the conference that social media DOES work when it comes to brand awareness and getting your message out. Again, you can download the eBook here. (Hint, hint.)

The information in the eBook is pretty telling. Granted, it’s a very small sampling (24 marketing executives from UK-based B2B companies), but their answers to the two questions posed (What do you consider the biggest opportunity provided by social media? What do you consider the biggest threat?) were pretty consistent.

I did my own quickie analysis and the responses broke down something like this:
Top opportunities:

  • Reach a wider audience
  • Create dialog/relationships/a softer sell

Followed by:

  • Be seen as an expert
  • Real-time intelligence
  • Brand awareness

Top threats:

  • Not enough time/resources to execute well

Followed by:

  • Inability to gain senior management buy-in
  • Lack of control

There were also mentions of – on the positive side – leveling the playing field and reaching a more targeted audience, and – on the negative side – inability to measure ROI, cutting through the noise to the pertinent data, and reaching an audience that isn’t engaged in social media.

What I, as a marketer, found most interesting was the overwhelming number of times “lack of time and/or resources to execute well” was mentioned. To me, that represents an opportunity for socially savvy marketers to step up and lend a hand. I know there is an ongoing debate about whether social content and interactions should be outsourced, but maybe more companies should explore the middle ground of engaging a professional social marketer as a mentor. Someone who is comfortable in the medium can help get the internal team trained, comfortable, and working within an efficient system – so that they can eventually handle things themselves.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited by the idea that there may be a lot of B2B companies who would like to get involved in the social scene, but just don’t feel equipped to handle it. There are a lot of us standing by, ready to help. Pick up the phone, drop us an email, ping us on twitter, LinkedIn or facebook – we’re ready when you are!

If you’d like more details:

As always, love to hear your thoughts – about the experiment, the summary of the content, who’s going to win American Idol … whatever’s on your mind. 😉