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B2B – what’s in it for me?

Author: Dan Middlebrook
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There’s no getting away from it, Business to Business or B2B Marketing doesn’t have the most glamourous reputation and a lot of Marketers steer clear for that reason. A bit like working in recruitment, no-one ever dreamt of being a B2B Marketer when they grew up! Many fall into it via a circuitous route from the sales or admin teams or as a means to tide them over while they’re waiting for something better to come along.

It’s not a sector where you’ll be promoting flashy household brands, creating on-trend campaigns or looking after huge above-the-line budgets. In that sense it lacks the bright lights, allure and marketing pizzazz so often associated with the B2C, retail and agency sectors.

The premises and business locations often don’t help; B2B businesses are rarely based in converted warehouses with pool tables in their “break out” area and fridges full of treats for staff to enjoy during their downtime. Don Draper was never seen pitching to an adhesives manufacturer in Skelmersdale, was he?

As a self-respecting marketer, why then would you look at opportunities in this sector?

Well, let me elaborate…

  • B2B is at the heart of commercial marketing
    • B2B buying can often be extremely complex, technical, high value and/or high risk, which means that all marketing activity has to be sophisticated and well executed to reflect this
  • Decisions are made predominantly for rational rather than emotional reasons
    • There is a strong emphasis on trust and security so attention to brand quality, reputation and case studies are key.
  • The audience for your products or services tends to be limited and well defined
    • This means that there greater opportunities for high quality CRM and that this is crucial for ongoing success.
  • Face to Face relationships thrive
    • Trade shows and events offer genuine opportunities to develop ongoing and long term relationships
  • It’s very much at the commercial sharp end
    • You could argue that no-one gets a better all-round exposure to business than a B2B Marketer.

As a marketing recruiter specialising in the B2B sector, I find it an interesting environment for similar reasons; I’m often visiting SME and owner-managed businesses who are looking to upscale their existing business or exponentially grow during their next three-year planning cycle. Many are now really valuing the impact a strong marketing strategy and measurable ROI can have on their bottom line.

Let’s not forget, the products and services that B2B organisations provide are what make the world tick. They’re how supermarkets get the right products on shelves, how our government collects revenue and how and why mobile phone companies decide whether or not to give you a free upgrade.

So why not keep an open mind about B2B Marketing? It’s no longer the poor relation!

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