Not sure if you're taking post-roundtable questions but thought I'd try.
It seems as though most B2B companies are creating a separate "Community" space or area on or off their corporate site. Do you know of examples of B2B companies who are doing a good job of integrating community tools and content into their overall corporate web site? Any thoughts on either approach? (Separate vs integrated?)
see my recent post that addresses this issue in part. happy to share more if needed. the short answer is that separate makes zero sense to a customer. It is the very reason the concept of a department store exists--"one-stop-shop"
When it comes to customer-facing communities, most of what I see from a B2B perspective is on-site communities focused on customer support, and to a lesser degree, customer reference/advocacy or co-design. Most of these are gated or by invitation only. I've seen very few examples of vendor-sponsored external communities that work. The best example of the external community (that was initially vendor sponsored but is now self-supporting) is www.complianceonline.com.
To be clear, the MAJORITY of what I see is community tools used internally for internal collaboration. Writing for the B2B marketer, I believe there is a lot of opportunity to use community tools to support existing customers, energize them, and turn them into advocates. I think that the real value of social media in general is at the retention, loyalty, and repeat purchase end of the marketing/sales funnel. I think there is also value in the consideration and selection phases when prospects know they need to buy something and use the community to help inform their purchase decisions. I think social media will have marginal impact on branding/awareness and very little (except for serendipitously connecting prospects with key thought leaders) in lead generation. Unfortunately, I see a lot of marketers thinking they can build a community and then market to it. This approach, more than likely, will fail.
To you question about examples of firms that are doing a good job of integrating community into their Web site I would point you to Citrix, Intel, and Serena Software. Integrating customer-facing communities into the online Web experience is early stage. Most companies are only in the early stages and few are "getting it right."
Thanks Laura. This is really helpful information.