By Renita Miranda
In the world of consumerism one finds lesser importance given to B2B marketing. It seems easier to capture and woo the end consumer rather than the stakeholders involved in business to business category. B2B communications is a much neglected and underrated player in the marketing segment, while its counterpart, consumer communications has stolen the show and attracted wealth of many agencies. The B2B category is overshadowed by the heavy weight B2C market which is glamorous and hyped. B2B seems to be submissive however in reality it is a market where high impact action is incessantly taking place. In this business centric market the most important dilemma is how one communicates to the key stakeholders?
As many industry experts suggest, communications in B2B scenario has to be dynamic and parallel across all media/channels. Marketing and communication tools must be used carefully to engage and educate the consumer. It should serve as a platform to listen to the needs of the customer and thus offer customized product/service and of course for customer redressal. Measurability and return on investment (ROI) are critical because B2B clients want to be able to see the difference that their marketing spends is making on the bottom line.
Why many companies are not entering the foray of providing specialised B2B communications? There is still lack of enthusiasm in the way one perceives B2B communications as a service that can be rendered to companies. In India, there are hardly any agencies that provide holistic communication solutions to B2B companies. Most of the companies are reluctant in shifting course from the mainstay B2C segment. This is because the B2B buyers are more demanding. B2B relationships are fundamentally more complex, with potentially many people from each company needing to interact with each other. Indeed, some companies may not want any public interaction to be visible, because one supplier may deal with several customers who are in direct competition to each other. This leads some people to conclude that B2B is simply not “social”. But that would be confusing “social” with “public”.
B2B communication appears to be in the nascent stage of its development in India. However accelerated efforts must be taken by companies to make B2B communications its priority in order to build marketing capabilities. It will take a while for it to augment into a fully fledged medium of information exchange which will change the complete sphere of B2B marketing. Godspeed B2B marketing!
(Renita was interning at Adfactors B2B when she authored this article, today is employed with a large publishing group)