12 Megatrends in B2B Marketing

In 2007, the Economist conducted an experiment to discover new environmental challenges and opportunities that B2B marketers could expect to see in the near future. The objective research was conducted by sending surveys to businesses around the world; the sample size for the experiment contained 136 businesses with many of these businesses currently having international operations. The Economist concluded that there are 12 megatrends in the B2B market from the data gathered from the completed surveys. In addition, researchers felt the intelligence gained from surveyed advertisers could help B2B marketers reach their promotional objectives in the global market place.

Specifically, The Economist research survey revealed that sponsors and advertisers are:

  • shifting dollars away from single-media promotion in favor of integrated thought-leadership programs featuring print ads, sponsored research, publications and conferences;
  • improving return on investment (ROI) measurement techniques to track lead generation and new business;
  • seeking much closer collaboration with partners to find new ways to achieve unique marketing objectives;
  • going higher and deeper into organizations, targeting not just decision-makers but also key influencers;
  • pursuing a broad range of target company sizes;
  • more closely integrating marketing strategy, messaging and media
  • still relying on advertisers and public relations (PR) firms—but expecting their capabilities to evolve to meet their changing needs;
  • placing greater emphasis on selling globally, particularly in emerging markets—and to companies domiciled in emerging nations;
  • exploring new media—with high growth from Web 0 initiatives on the horizon;
  • increasingly outsourcing their research and conference activities.

Mega Trends in B2B Marketing:

  1. The shift to 360 thought leadership
  2. The ROI imperative
  3. “Me too” sponsorship on the wane
  4. Going higher and deeper into organizations
  5. One size does not fit all
  6. Integrated marketing on the rise
  7. The changing role of advertising and PR
  8. The allure of emerging markets
  9. A new marketing opportunity: Domcoms
  10. The global decision matrix
  11. New media poised for rapid growth
  12. The growing appeal of outsourcing

This blog post will focus on the 8th mega trend, the allure of emerging markets, and shed light on if the Economist prediction of China becoming the largest economy in 2017 holds true. Case studies on Disney and Universal desiring to penetrate the emerging Chinese marketplace by creating theme parks are prime examples of domestic firms trying to become global. However, these studies have proven that entering a foreign market is extremely difficult considering complex government regulations and differing cultural negotiation styles. Furthermore, the Colgate Max Fresh case provided insight that significant market research on Chinese consumers tastes and preferences and adapting these attributes to fit a product (in this case toothpaste) won’t fully eliminate the risk that the promoted product won’t be a success.

However, is the Chinese environment different for B2B industries? And can B2B marketers realize and capture value by tailoring their marketing strategies to fit the Chinese emerging market? 66% of the companies surveyed in this research experiment feel the emerging Chinese market is the perfect environment to start increasing their firms’ profits. A research study about B2B supply chain management conducted by Spekman, Kamauff Jr, and Myhr could possibly help B2B marketers face this emerging mega trend and create immense value for the supply chain partners. The data suggest that buyers and sellers have very little in common, and their “world views” tend not to converge. While some differences are expected, the divergence in motivations and beliefs relative to supply chain management is quite stark. This suggests that it is not surprising that supply chain management practices are difficult to implement. For buyers and sellers to achieve a common goal there must exist a level of consensus (Spekman et al., 1996). At the very least, buyer and seller must have a shared perspective of the merits of such close ties within the supply chain (Spekman, Kamauff Jr, and Myhr). If B2B marketers were to figure out a method of creating a shared global perspective throughout a given supply chain, penetrating the Chinese market would see significant decreases in risks associated with adaptation strategies and FDI. The whole chain would see value creation from reduced costs from operations and differing ideas on how all the firms involved could create profit. Furthermore, this reduction in global operation costs could help elevate the damage firms could receive from unpredictable hick-ups with cases such as Disney, Universal, and Colgate.

If you would like to learn more about the 11 other mega trends affecting B2B marketers please refer to link provided. The Economist B2B Mega Trends


Speckman, Robert E., John W. Kamauff, Jr., and Niklas Myhr. “An Empirical Investigation into Supply Chain Management : A Perspective on Partnerships.” SupplyChainManagement 3.2 (1998): n. pag. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.