Dag Holmboe trekked along the 26.2-mile running route from Hopkinton, Mass., to Boston for the 2014 Boston Marathon in April.
Meanwhile, Holmboe put his Twitter analytics engine to work.
Holmboe, CEO and founder of Klurig Analytics in Boston, had a deep interest in the Twitter sentiment around the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.
He's done about a handful of them now, including the 2013 race when two bombs were detonated around the finish line, killing three and wounding close to 300.
Not deterred, Holmboe, 55, came back this year again and completed this year's race, finishing in three hours, 23 minutes and 42 seconds.
These analytics were cool, for sure. Fascinating, really.
What about for B2B marketers? Are Twitter analytics like this worth it?
Source: Klurig Analytics. #BostonMarathon hashtag analytics.
Leadtail told us last fall in its "Social Insights Report: How B2B Marketers Engage on Twitter?" that B2B marketers are business leaders focused on curating a social media presence that showcases their skills, relationships and expertise. In tweets, they said, B2B marketers are primarily focused on sharing content from industry media sites like Forbes, Huffington Post and the Harvard Business Review.
Maybe it's about how you're using Twitter.
Webtrends in its November 2013 case study about its success with Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards said its first use of the cards by a B2B company led to a more-than-impressive 996 percent increase in leads and a 500 percent decrease in costs -- in just four weeks.
Holmboe, Klurig's analytics leader and Boston marathoner, said if he were using Twitter for marketing he would "not hijack the conversation but be a part of it."
What do others say?
Paul Gillin of Paul Gillin Communications in Framingham, a city near the starting area for the Boston Marathon, said he can’t point to any great examples of B2B companies using Twitter effectively. After all, this isn't the Oreo cookie kinda marketing world in B2B.
Source: Klurig Analytics
"Although I have heard anecdotally of event organizers using Twitter sentiment to adjust conference sessions and schedules in real time," Gillin said.
The best example of Twitter marketing, he said, was from the consumer side more than B2B, but you can see applications to other areas: IBM’s use of social media analytics at the U.S. Open tennis tournament last year.
"There’s a whole bunch of detail here," Gillin said. "One thing they did was monitor conversations to look for peak online activity so they could adjust server capacity appropriately. They also looked at social sentiment surrounding each match to determine who the fans were rooting for. However, that isn’t exactly a B2B scenario."
Should Twitter ultimately be a part of B2B marketers’ game plan?
"It depends on the company," Gillin said. "B2B companies with small customer bases probably won’t get much out of monitoring social conversations. However, technology companies, package delivery services, office retailers and other hybrid B2B/B2C businesses generate enough buzz that they should be able to spot trends or identify problems."
Gillin said a company like FedEx, for example, could monitor tweets by location to determine bottlenecks in its delivery network.
He also cited Dell, what he calls the most famous example of a B2B company that uses social listening to adjust product strategies.
"They listen for sentiment immediately following the release of a new product so they can identify and fix bugs before there are too many units in the field," he said.
Carla Johnson, principal at Type A Communications in Parker, Colo., said she found Holmboe's Twitter analytics from the Boston Marathon interesting and believes that applying this approach to B2B marketing "could deliver some fun experiences."
"Comparing #bostonmarathon to #bostonstrong, you can see the different sentiments that each evokes," she said. "If you carried that into B2B world, it’s an opportunity for audiences to play to their favorites, depending on how marketing works on positioning."
But does Johnson see this having a broad appeal in B2B?
"Not necessarily," she said. "If marketers are wanting to drive conversations about a particular event, a single hashtag is best to sustain long-term conversations. But if they’re looking to create fun around measuring people’s preferences during a conference or other event, then I can see marketers using it."
By using this type of analytics for a specific event, marketers can gain valuable insights.
"Different hashtags come with perceptions and emotions," Johnson told CMSWire. "What audiences do those resonate with most? Which social media influencers are drawn to which hashtags? What keywords are they using? Where are they geographically?"