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The Emperor's new clothes

 

One of the tricks of the trade we B2B marketers would all boast about is our ability to deal with the complicated.

In agencies, we deal in complex products, markets, decision making processes, routes to market and so on, and having to get to grips with clients in IT or biotechnology one day, and government-funded multi-site agencies or process engineering the next, is something that our peers in B2C do not often have to contend with.

Yet no matter how challenging their products and services may be to market, these clients will all still demand a return on every penny of their marketing investment; they do not want to be bewildered by a marketing shaman with layers of quasi-scientific models, theories and paradigms, which only serve to bog down action and cost them money.

Sometimes it's important to get back to basics: some of the key principles of marketing communications are universal regardless of whether you are communicating to a consumer or business audience. The principles of single-mindedness and differentiation have always been central to effective communications and in B2B markets where there are often high levels of product parity and commoditisation, these guiding principles are crucial in building brands.

We are not management consultants, we do not know more than our clients about their business - our most important function is to construct incisive creative communications that deliver real tangible marketing ROI.

Simplicity therefore, should be the watchword of the B2B marketer. Of course we must never disregard academic vigour or strategic thinking, and our approach to the end product cannot be reductionist or simplistic, but that end product must be about simple, refreshing and effective communications.