The Forward Observer > Marketing For The Front Line of Sales

How B2B Companies Can Profit from a Marketing Overhaul

Written by Douglas Burdett | Apr 29, 2012 6:28:00 PM

Rather than delegating marketing to one department, B2B companies who orient their entire business around marketing will thrive.

In the McKinsey Quarterly article, "We're all marketers now," the authors (Tom French, Laura LaBerge, and Paul Magill) outline how over the past 10 years, the power and effectiveness of traditional "push" marketing has become increasingly irrelevant.

To adapt, companies have added other marketing touchpoints such as social media.  However, as product performance information can be shared at the speed of light, the actual customer experience has become the coin of the marketing realm, forcing companies to focus on delivering a quality product.

"At the end of the day, customers no longer separate marketing from the product—it is the product. They don’t separate marketing from their in-store or online experience—it is the experience. In the era of engagement, marketing is the company."

As a result, companies are discovering that every person and department with any connection to the customer experience is part of the marketing function. B2B companies need to know that the marketing department can no longer control all customer touchpoints.

"...companies need to become marketing vehicles, and the marketing organization itself needs to become the customer-engagement engine, responsible for establishing priorities and stimulating dialogue throughout the enterprise."

According to the authors, the biggest obstacle companies face in becoming more marketing oriented is organizational, not conceptual.

To accomplish the necessary organizational change, B2B companies should consider restructuring their marketing around 4 key dimensions:

  1. Distributed marketing - rather than confine the marketing function to one department, marketing activities should be imbedded in other core functions of the organization long considered to be unrelated to marketing, such as human resources and research & development.
  2. Councils and partnerships - in many companies, every customer-facing department is sharing information in order to measure and improve the overall customer experience.  Similarly, companies are partnering more with their vendors to better understand and respond faster to the end customer.
  3. Customer insights - gleaning customer insights by closely tracking activity and feedback across all touchpoints and respond quickly is becoming more important than just traditional marketing research.
  4. Data and analytics - According to Duncan Watts of Yahoo!, “Marketing is going to become a much more science-driven activity.”   The exponential increase in marketing data that is becoming available is being shared across multiple disciplines and functions in order to deliver the desired product experience.

Click the following link to read the full article, We’re all marketers now.

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