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Let B2B brands shine

Claire Mason, managing director of Man Bites Dog, says it’s time B2B finds its voice

It sometimes feels as though we’re facing an identity crisis in B2B marketing. While the business-facing arm of a company might deliver larger revenues, greater profitability and superior growth, all too often the business brand is overshadowed by the seemingly more glamorous and glitzy world of B2C.

And it shows. Beyond the very largest organisations, most B2B companies are virtually unheard of to those not in the know. So if we in B2B are larger and more profitable than our B2C counterparts, why is it only the consumer arm that wants to be famous?

While sales tend to sit at the top table, in many B2B subsidiaries, marketing still doesn’t have a place on the board, leaving the increasing role of brand and ideas-led marketing poorly represented and understood, while sales claims credit for business growth. But with business decision-markers exponentially higher in value than consumers, why would we want to subject them to anything less than a business class brand experience?

This means investing to impress B2B buyers from the very beginning, and creating a real customer journey – from first interaction through to sales meetings – to rival any consumer offering. It pays to remember that even the biggest investors can be wooed by a platinum-card experience.

Too often in the business world we assume we are dealing with coldly rational decision-makers. While B2C marketers design campaigns and brand identity based on the emotional connection and experience of their buyers, we seem to perform in more rigid and traditional ways. B2B buyers too want to feel connected, and changing the focus from the push marketing of emotionless outreach to generating a real pull will give B2B brands an automatic lead over their competitors and a chance to rival B2C in the boardroom.

Instead of being treated as the forgotten younger sibling, it’s time that B2B found its voice. B2B companies should be taking the time to showcase their brand, and shine brighter than their consumer-facing counterparts.