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BMA UK: An opportunity to take B2B global, and raise standards

Yesterday an announcement was made that has the potential to fundamentally transform the world of business-to-business marketing – not only in the UK, or even Europe, but around the world.

The announcement (at the Go and Grow conference in Siemen’s Crystal venue in the Royal Victoria Docks, London) was to launch the US-based B2B marketing trade body the Business Marketing Association (BMA) in the UK. For the first time this would bring together clients and agencies in one organisation, aimed at raising standards across the industry, encourage dialogue and raise the profile of business-to-business marketing. This is an objective that undoubtedly is shared by all serious B2B marketers, and something that has been a primary objective of B2B Marketing at our launch eight years ago, and ever since.

Further to this, it is proposed that, rather than establish a full secretariat to run the BMA in the UK – which would potentially be expensive, time consuming and convoluted – that the organisation and its membership services are run by B2B Marketing. The BMA would be led by an elected council, comprised of both client-side and agency marketers, with working parties dedicated to specific issues. B2B Marketing would then work to deliver these services, dovetailing them with our own offering.

Additionally, it is proposed that the Association of Business-to-Business Agencies (ABBA), which has represented the interests of B2B agencies for the last 25 years, become part of the BMA, allowing members to leverage the benefits of the additional profile that the new organisation would have, whilst retaining their existing range of benefits and services. At present, the implications are being considered by the ABBA committee, with a decision expected in the next few weeks. Incumbent ABBA chairman, Chris Wilson of Earnest, is in favour of the proposal.

It is important to stress that, at present, this proposal is at the consultation stage. A considerable amount of detail needs to be worked out to ensure that the relationship delivers for all parties involved – and that naturally includes the B2B sector as a whole. Vendors also will be welcome in this new organisation.

However, should it work, the potential to raise the profile and standards of business-to-business marketing in the UK and the rest of Europe, is enormous. To my mind, the potential benefits significantly outweigh the costs, for individuals, companies and the industry as a whole. If it works, it gives the BMA a springboard into the rest of Europe, and beyond, and an opportunity to create a global community of marketers, sharing best practice and increasing success for participants.

As the situation develops, please rest assured that we will keep the market informed and consult where necessary, but if you have any thoughts on these proposals to date, I would value your feedback below or by email.