In B2B Marketing: Tomorrow’s Best Practices Today, we feature expert interviews about the state of B2B Marketing and what the future holds. In this post, I interview Corina Manea, a digital marketer, brand strategist and solopreneur.

Tell us about yourself?

I fell in love with PR (public relations) in high school after reading a book where the main character was a PR pro. Right then I decided that was what I wanted to do when I “grew up.”

Corina Manea (photo via Twitter)

That decision marked the path I was going to take in college and then in my professional life. With time, my passion for PR evolved to include marketing and later on, digital marketing and community building.

I love people and I love learning what makes them “tick.” Listening to what people say, how they say it, what they mean and their behavior online and finding new ways for brands to communicate and reach out to their prospects and communities became my new-found passion.

For me, it’s fun to bring people together and build communities around a brand, an idea or a mission, and social media is an amazing tool to do all that.

My ideas around community building on social media were included in a book called “Answers for Modern Communicators” written by Deirdre Breakenridge, a successful author and entrepreneur.

Note: Follow Corina on Twitter (@corinamanea).

Tell us about your background in B2B marketing?

It all started with a master’s degree in Communications and Public Relations while working as a PR professional for one of the biggest banks in Romania.

It was the best, hands-on experience in PR and marketing, when the internet wasn’t a thing yet. While my job title referred only to PR, the projects I’ve been involved in and led had a B2B marketing component that proved valuable later on.

That led to a move to another country, the sunny Spain, working for the biggest convention center in Madrid, to later start my own business helping businesses build their brands, connect with and grow their communities online.

What’s a best practice that B2B marketers should move on from?

Seeing people as numbers. We’re so focused on creating funnels, automating the processes, watching the buyer’s journey, reading spreadsheets and more data, that we forget that behind names and numbers are real people.

We need to make cool again putting our customers first, really listening to what they are communicating to us, and, yes, going the extra mile to make them happy. It builds loyalty that cannot be bought with discounts, and “Black Fridays.”

Tell us a best practice of tomorrow that B2B marketers should be doing today?

B2B marketing may be a numbers game, but personalized treatment of your customers never goes out of style.

Today, tomorrow, and forever: put your customer first.

Go the extra mile and learn what they like, what they want, how they want it, etc. And make sure you deliver it with a personal message.

B2B marketing may be a numbers game, but personalized treatment of your customers never goes out of style.

How should B2B brands be thinking about community building?

Be of service.

With so much noise around us, so much competition, where you can make a difference is how you treat your community online and offline. How much do you pay attention to them, how much do you listen to them, do you keep your promises?

How long does it take you to get back to them with the promised answer? Do you reach out just to say “hi,” compliment them on their achievements, or help them with a problem not related to your brand?

People do business with people they like and trust. How you show up for them as a B2B brand impacts how your relationship will develop over time.

What did you learn last decade that will inform your social media marketing strategy this decade?

That paying attention to your community should be at the top of your priorities. Go beyond social listening and understand where people come from, what makes them “tick” and what they truly believe and want from your B2B brand.

Secondly, you have to be on every social media channel where your audience is. This goes back to listening to your audience and paying attention to what they’re saying.

If you want to have impact as a B2B brand, you have to be where your tribe is, whether you like it or not.

Third, learn how to create content and micro-content massively to stay relevant in business over time. If you master that, your B2B brand will become incredibly valuable to your customers and audience, it will lead to an incredible amount of awareness and impact.

What’s the secret to creating an effective editorial calendar?

Short answer: very good planning.

Build your editorial calendar with your audience in mind. It’s not about the latest video, podcast episode or blog post you released and “have to” promote. It’s about what part of your content matters to your tribe.

That’s where the micro-content comes in. Split your macro piece of content (which can be your vlog, podcast or blog) in micro-pieces and tailor them for each social media channel.

Include in your editorial calendar re-purposed content from one platform to another, always making sure the content is contextual to the platform.

Analyze the results, update your editorial calendar accordingly, rinse and repeat.

You live in Madrid. What are three sights there that are not to be missed?

It’s hard to choose, but if I were to pick only three, they would be these:

Plaza Mayor: an early 1600’s renaissance square, sequestered by historic three-story-high residential buildings. There are nine entrances to the square and within the porticoes at the bottom of the buildings are several cafes and restaurants.

Retiro Park: Madrid’s green heart, which is full of elegant gardens. It was a royal property up to the end of the 19th century, when it was opened to the public.

Royal Palace: Built in the mid 1700’s for King Philip V, the Royal Palace is on the site of Madrid’s Moorish Alcázar fortress-palace, which burned down in 1734. It’s the largest royal palace in Western Europe, and has a blend of baroque and neoclassical styles.