B2B marketing has never really had the same sexy image as B2C marketing.
When you think of B2C you think of big advertising budgets, creative agencies, lunches in Soho, huge billboards, TV adverts, brand studies etc.
B2B, on the other hand, has always been about exhibitions and direct marketing. Not quite as exciting.
I have always worked in B2B Marketing. My first job with IBM was a shocker - the reality of what 'real' marketing was about was quite different to the one I'd studied for 3 years.
It was less about the 7Ps and more about writing copy, reviewing telemarketing scripts and preparing exhibitions stands. But that was 20+ years ago.
As the years have gone by I've seen a massive shift in B2B marketing. As digital technologies have evolved, we have data and insights to play with and I'm like a kid in a sweet shop.
We can get really smart about they way we engage buyers online.
We are focusing more on humanising brands and putting our experts and employees in front of the logo.
We are building communities of influence.
We are combining science and creativity.
We are becoming agile with our activities, adjusting and testing on the fly.
For me, there is no better time to be a curious B2B marketer.
We get to bring our creativity into the data to predict propensity to buy as well as the journey our buyers are taking.
We're getting closer to the customer in a way we never have before.
Who knows? Maybe some B2B marketers might just step across the line into sales?!
My decision to put the spotlight on B2B is not borne from acceptance that the task of lead generation is wholly under-served by the marketing press, although it clearly is. It’s about highlighting the undoubted virtues and opportunities B2B offers. It is also about asking whether B2B brands should be a first choice for marketers at the beginning, middle and sweet-spot of their career. B2B has historically had a bad rap. Everything seen as cool about B2C – the chance to work on creative that becomes part of pop culture, for example – was considered a failing of B2B.