Business to business (B2B) marketing is traditionally seen as more complicated and less glamorous than consumer marketing. There is no doubt that large UK b2b brands like BT, FedEx, The Co-op, ProntaPrint, Royal Mail, and RIBA employ more creative marketing planning and execution, and perhaps embrace emerging technology a little more.
For most B2B companies however, marketing is often seen as a necessary evil, an unavoidable cost required to support the sales effort. Marketing delivered from this starting point is always less likely to succeed because crucial planning elements are overlooked.
Practitioners often claim that B2B marketing is difficult due to complex, multi-layered decision making, the role of influencers, the existence of elongated channel and distribution routes to market, the need for bespoke product and service specifications, the rise of the procurement manager and the commodity purchase, and the combination of a range of tangible and intangible partnering benefits. These excuses, more often than not, lead to poorly propositioned, poorly designed communications which are delivered to buyers who are presumed to lack sophistication.
I put it to you on this blog that the buyers of your products and services are sophisticated. They use sites like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Lastminute, buy products from companies like Apple, Gap, Levis, and Starbucks and consequently understand good, well propositioned brand and marketing communications, are looking for a good customer experience and demand excellent service.
You do them and yourself a disservice by hiding behind sector conservatism and not challenging your market by standing out and being different.
The 10 part B2B Marketing Principles blog series being provided over the coming weeks by The Marketing Assassin will distil the best and most recent thinking in B2B marketing, highlight critical elements to consider and provide a checklist of common mistakes to avoid.
To whet your appetite, visit the Business Superbrands website to see interesting business Superbrand case studies.
Image: Robert Rosenthal’s blog