2016 is the year for B2B marketers

Claire Mason, MD at Man Bites Dog, says B2B marketers should relish the opportunities the New Year will bring

Lights! Camera! Action! I declare 2016 the year that B2B finally takes centre stage.

Gone are the days of hiding in the wings behind star-performer consumer marketers. With B2B Marketing’s B2B Agencies Benchmarking Report revealing average agency growth of 22 per cent last year, our sector has well and truly stepped into the spotlight.

Let’s face it, B2B has always been a bit like the geeky kid in the playground, doing her own thing and not caring what anyone thinks of her. After all, only B2B marketers can get excited about financial services, the shifting legal landscape and the potential applications of graphene. But we’re no longer a grey industry, we’re quickly becoming the place to be(2b)! We’re embracing new marketing techniques, reinventing old ones and breaking into the mainstream by becoming the cool kids.

Perhaps more importantly, the wider industry is recognising the work we’re doing. Ceremonies such as the B2B Marketing Awards celebrate the best in our industry, but B2B campaigns are now beginning to beat consumer brands in general marketing and PR awards.

B2B marketing used to be the forgotten understudy, but we’re finally getting top billing with a noticeable expansion in marcomms remits and a tighter market for talent. Consumer marketers are catching up with the idea that measurable impact is the only way to gain recognition and funding, and we’re leading the way in that.

Interest in our industry is growing. Gone are the days when our prospective hires couldn’t answer the basic interview question: ‘Why B2B?’ Now everyone is firmly grounded in their reasoning and we’ve had a massive uplift in applications. There is a growing appreciation of the opportunity for innovation in B2B, the chance to flex your intelligence on some of the world’s most complex problems and add creative value in a way that consumer marketing would never demand.

In contrast to our reputation, what we actually do is create commercial impact coupled with real creativity. Only B2B marketers have the experience, tools and expertise to identify new insight and package it into compelling content and campaign ideas that sell.

The emphasis on ideas-led sales is exactly why the role of B2B marketing has never been so important and why we deserve our time to shine.