The New World of B2B Marketing: Reinventing a Company

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Wendy Marx, the President of Marx Communications, recently wrote an article in Fast Company detailing the new strategies a marketing officer must exercise to be successful in this new generation. With local cultures and ideals changing almost every other month, there are some key attributes that a marketing executive might need to change in order to stay ahead of the game. “ A global IBM study of more than 1,700 CMOs published in October 2011 laid out the issues in bold terms: CMOs have failed to keep up with the changes in the marketing environment, especially with the explosion in data, social media and channel and device choices along with changing consumer demographics” (Marx). Now imagine expanding those efforts globally. The international arena is even more complex because there are different trends and cultures to learn before establishing that distinct position within a global market. How would you grab a response from an Indian and Chinese consumer of a particular product? Will the strategies be similar or drastically different? When a company reinvents itself, does it have to reinvent twice for domestic and global customers? I will analyze Wendy Marx’s 4 points of change to evaluate if they will also work globally or determine if the “new world” she is referring to is only successful in the American market.

 

The first step given is to focus on the customer (Marx). This step encourages companies to focus less on building the brand and more on understanding your target consumer, giving them want they desire and more. This task may be easier obtained locally with a well-known cultural consumer base. If we take this action international and a company is able to focus more on a global customer & understand what that global customer desires, then a company will become untouchable by competitors. The reason this is not occurring so frequently today is probably due to the high cost it would be to research what each countries consumer desires. With the different theories and cultures, a company would have to hire a marketing research team permanently to predict what each country’s consumer desires from that company. Also, we have to look at if the brand of the company is even considered amongst the global community. It may be more important to build the global brand in a generic sense, before aiming deeper into the particular consumer. Ultimately, focusing on the customer should always be the goal, but marketing globally along with attempting to reach the large variety may end up back firing if the brand does not have a solid reputation.

 

The next step is to move from promotion to education (Marx). “At many B2B companies that means becoming a content marketer” (Marx). A content marketer is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action (CMI). This step requires the marketing to be very knowledgeable of their target audience and to be careful not to have the content advertised to go “over the consumers head” or weaken the image of the actual product/brand. With a global approach, this task can be quite fun. It can give the marketer a chance to advertise their product in a creative, educated manner while incorporating that local culture’s ideals and traditions. Doing too much promotion can make your marketing blend in with others in the same market, but if a marketer changes the content to be more educational (what is the product, how will it benefit you, why you need this item, etc.) can make a world of difference consumer response. It will allow for customers to begin to ask questions and inquire which a good thing is always!

Third step is to redefine the definition of expert (Marx). I take this one to mean, the information being translated to the consumer does not necessarily have to be from the “expected” marketer. Just as long as the information provided is thorough and abundant. It may actually be fun and interesting to have the expert be a person completely separate from the norm because this may cause consumers to be intrigued. In the global perspective, redefining the definition of expert can mean having locals promote the details of a company or brand to gain brand awareness and acceptance. That idea can be successful or completely back fire so it is imperative that thorough research is conducted and the “right” different kind of expert is chosen.

 

Lastly, Marx states “connect emotionally with your advertising.” Emotional, passionate advertising will definitely engage your audience and allow them to connect with your brand. This can ultimately create long term, loyal customers who value your business because you are passionate about your company and the product you’re selling. Now globally, this may cause a dilemma. Many cultures in the world frown on individuals, leaders of companies included, being very emotional. Emotions may be an aspect that is to be expressed in the privacy of your own home or not at all. This may be a turn off to certain cultures around the globe. As a result, a company may want to only emotionally connect with the advertising in those areas that will understand the emotions presented. An alternative is to connect with advertising in different ways with different cultures. This may take more money and more time, but it could possibly be a market changer. You don’t see many companies doing this because of the marketing cost this would create and no guarantee that a company would profit heavily from this changed aspect.

 

All of Marx’s ideas to reinvent a company’s marketing strategy are excellent ideas for the domestic market, but when a company attempts to take these suggestions globally it can only work with extensive amounts of research and financial investments.

 

Footnotes:

The term consumer mentioned above is interchangeable with individual and business customers.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3001721/new-world-b2b-marketing (Marx)

http://www.junta42.com/resources/what-is-content-marketing.aspx (CMI)

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