Further define and explain the nature of B2B marketing:
In Chapter 1 we learned that “business marketing is the process of matching and combining the capabilities of the supplier with the desired outcomes of the business customer” (Vitale, Giglierano & Pfoertsch, 2011, p. 4). Business buyers are motivated by both organizational and personals goals, therefore most B2B relationships are a combination of functional and emotional motives. That means that a business marketer must be cognizant and knowledgeable about not only the organization’s internal and external needs but also the needs of the individuals within the buying center.
Does familiarity with consumers truly benefit B2B brands?
According to the Sigel+Gale report a B2B brand that has familiarity with consumers does realize benefits over lesser-known B2B brands. These benefits include higher consideration, stock value growth, higher asset ratio and growth in revenue (2014, p. 3).
Discuss what the true value is of connecting with a consumer audience.
Connecting with a consumer audience can transfer to value for a B2B company in a number of ways, perhaps the greatest benefit is the recognition of the brand’s reputation. If a brand builds a successful consumer reputation it has the ability to transfer over to the business world, such as the examples of Google and Intel in the Sigel+Gale report. If a consumer, and potentially a buyer, are comfortable with a companies services and products in their everyday life they will be more willing to consider that company for business solutions as well. “No B2B buyer wants to risk his or her livelihood or reputation buying an unreliable product and service. This in turn places great emphasis on brand, reputation, case studies and other factors, which convey reliability and consistency over the life of the product or service being purchased (Hague, Hague & Harrison, 2015, para. 15).
Is there really value in this type of connection or is it something B2B business can afford to ignore?
As the Sigel+Gale report suggests keeping consumers engaged is vital for B2B businesses, this seems to make perfect sense seeing as those participants of the buying center are also consumers. In effect an emotional connection with even a single consumer can translate to bringing trust and security into their business decisions. B2B relationships are more personal, lengthy and complex than B2C relationships, therefore there should be even more emphasis and importance placed on not only building them but also maintaining them. The stakes are higher for B2B buyers, so any value that can be added to the relationship is crucial; recognizability, innovativeness, comfortability and relevance all factor in an effective B2B relationship.
Consider the alternative, the Huawei company not only missed connecting with consumers but was also not able to effectively communicate the benefits of their offerings causing them to fall on the ‘relevant but not known’ list. To further prove the point I cannot say I have ever heard of this company until now.
In some cases, business to business brands can benefit from bringing familiarity of their product to consumers. Consumers are often intrigued by how the products they enjoy are made, and that can often circle back to the business to business process. By marketing to the consumer audience, business to business companies can be seen as valuable and create a demand for their products. If consumers demand their products, businesses will be more inclined to purchase their products and build a lasting relationship with the business to business organization. One example of a business to business company that could benefit from advertising directly to consumers is an organic, local food supplier. A restaurant may specialize in serving local, organic produce and mention the name of the local supplier on their menu for a small marketing fee. The consumers see the local, organic supplier on the menu and feel a connection to the business. These consumers may continue to regularly visit this restaurant because they carry products from the local, organic supplier. Because there is demand for this type of product, new restaurants with similar local and organic inspired menus may begin to open and use the supplier as well.
Another business to business company that markets to consumers is Constant Contact. Constant Contact is a software that allows companies to create email campaigns. All of the emails that companies send with Constant Contact have a small Constant Contact logo on them. This gives Constant Contact a small piece of marketing to every person on each of their client’s email lists. One of the benefits of business to business companies marketing to consumers is that you never know who these consumers may be, or what needs they may have for your product in their professional life. For instance, I may be a consumer receiving an email blast from StichFix and see Constant Contact, and research that company because I have a need to be able to create email blasts for the company I work for. Businesses should evaluate if advertising to consumers could boost their product, and if so pursue it, because you never know what new customers you may reach and what new demands you may be able to create.