It has always been assumed that a business-to-consumer organisation – one that sells products to a large group of customers – is very different to a business-to-business organisation – one that sells only to other companies.
The separation in the mind of the marketing manager is clear. A company that sells soft drinks to millions of people in many countries will market those products differently to a company that provides services to other businesses.
But an interesting article recently published on LinkedIn challenges the conventional wisdom and as David Edelman wrote it, the McKinsey lead on digital marketing strategy, it is worth exploring.
Edelman argues that companies with consumer products have long used the Consumer Decision Journey model to figure out the exact steps taken before purchasing a product. He believes that exactly the same iterative steps can be seen before executives make decisions to buy from another company.
Edelman says: “In their work with more than 30 marquee B2B organizations around the world, half or more of all marketing spend is misaligned, going to areas that do little to influence the purchasing decisions of top customers and providing little help to the sales people calling on them. As much as 50% of marketing spend is not aligned with the issues that matter to decision makers. No company can successfully grow with that kind of waste and breakdown.”
What is really needed is a common view of the customer, aligning both the marketing and sales process. This has been long accepted in B2C organisations, but now Edelman’s view may bring those same techniques to decisions in the B2B world.
Photo by Tom Grundy licensed under Creative Commons