TAMPA, FLA. (Dec. 28, 12:25 p.m. ET) — The rules of business are changing as social networks give customers unprecedented control over the buying process. This may be more apparent in consumer and retail markets, but social media are changing the landscape in business-to-business sectors such as plastics manufacturing, as well.
Customers now seek each other's advice before making buying decisions, and can share their unfiltered opinions and experiences with thousands of others worldwide with the click of a mouse. This emergence of the empowered customer will transform nearly every industry, forcing businesses to become more transparent and accountable and requiring new ways to attract and convert prospects.
Paul Gillin, principal of Framingham, Mass.-based Paul Gillin Communications (www.gillin.com), is an expert in such matters, and he'll be sharing his knowledge in a Sunday afternoon workshop Jan. 29 at the 14th annual Plastics News Executive Forum in Tampa, Fla. He calls the four-hour session – which is free to registered Forum attendees – “Plain Talk About Social Business.” (Participants must pre-register for the hands-on workshop and bring their own wireless-enabled device, such as a laptop or tablet computer).
To compete, Gillin advises, businesses must become more social. They must move beyond simple marketing messages to comprehensive engagement with customers across the organization. Social media tools are ideal for this engagement.
The emerging b-to-b marketing model is based upon listening, conversation and community. And, when done right, customers can become a business' best marketing force.
In his workshop, Gillin will introduce the concept of social business and describe how b-to-b innovators are succeeding today by redefining the buyer-seller relationship. It will cover the key tools of social engagement, the internal processes that must be redefined, the management principles that enable transformative change, and offer insights into how to measure results and calculate return on investment.
The Sunday workshop will set the table for the rest of the Executive Forum, which will feature 27 other presenters over two-plus days addressing such topics as co-innovation approaches, managerial best practices, resin market updates, financing tips, merger and acquisition trends, recycling insights, and tips for finding, training and retaining quality talent.
The 2012 forum, taking place Jan. 29-Feb. 1 at Tampa's Saddlebrook Resort, also is where the publication will crown its latest Processor of the Year, and honor the firms that will earn PN's Excellence Awards for customer relations, employee relations, and industry/public service.
The full list of presenters and their topics can be found at www.plasticsnews.com/forum2012.