B2B, or business-to-business, branding and marketing once went by the decidedly unsexy moniker of “industrial marketing.” It was a hard-nosed business of products sold on features and price, with marketers often relegated to a sales support role and “brand” considered an indulgent and irrelevant nicety better suited to B2C.
No more. Today, B2B often attracts top talent and spends top dollar — $540 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, for advertising alone.
To help our readers keep up with the rising power and accelerating pace of B2B branding and marketing, Branding Magazine is undertaking several initiatives, including this Branding Roundtable and, on-going, our new monthly column The B2B CMO.
For this latest edition of the Branding Roundtable, we turned to B2B brand leaders in San Francisco, Chicago and London, asking them to comment on the current state of B2B, and its direction for the future:
Download the full (and free) eBook from our store to get their answers to:
- What do you see as the biggest difference(s) between B2B and B2C branding?
- What is the biggest challenge in creating, nurturing and leveraging B2B brands today?
- What is the most underutilized opportunity area for growth in B2B branding and marketing?
- B2B organizations are often driven by sales force relationships, with marketing seen primarily in a secondary support role. What do you recommend to better align sales and brand marketing?
- How important is internal branding considered to be in your B2B organization – and if important, how do you leverage it?
- The importance of brand purpose seems to be rising in B2B – how do you view its importance and role in your organization and in B2B branding overall?
- After years of concentrating on product-feature-price marketing, recent surveys indicate that B2B is waking up to a deeper focus on serving the complete customer journey. What do you see as the best current methodologies for understanding your B2B buyer?
- Starting with it’s original description as “industrial,” B2B branding and marketing has often had a less-than-creative image. How do you rate the current state of B2B creativity–and can you share a particularly creative example, from your brand or others?
- B2B is often considered a more complex sale than B2C – do you find dealing with that complexity to be best served principally by in-house expertise, outside agencies and consultants, or a combination?
- Branding is sometimes seen as a “soft” discipline by B2B management – what do you see – and internally sell – as the main value to having a strong B2B brand?
After you’ve read it, please return here to leave us your comments.