How B2B Product Marketing is Different from B2C

How B2B Product Marketing is Different from B2C

I read a great post from Gopal Shenoy this week about how B2C product marketing is different from B2B. I’m a B2B marketer so that got me thinking about writing a post in the reverse. Here’s how I think B2B product marketing is different from B2C 1/ Channels are important (sometimes critical) – Most B2C companies sell direct. B2B is often through channels or a mix of channel and direct. The channels can be single or multi-tier and you will need to figure out how to price for these channels, enable and train them, incent them and ensure that there is as little channel conflict as possible. This is not easy. 2/ Long term customer relationships – Many B2C companies talk about “building customer relationships” like it’s a new thing and that’s because for many B2C companies it is (with the exception of SaaS-based B2C services where churn is a major metric). On the B2B side, there are fewer customers and often you will live or die by your long-term relationship with that customer. That means you will often have dedicated teams assigned to larger accounts. 3/ Tiered customer service – Because those long-term relationships are important, customer services becomes absolutely critical. Of course service is important on the B2C side as well, you don’t often see differences in the way you serve customers. On the B2B side there is quite often a massive difference in the way you service a very large account vs. a very small one. 4/ Purchasing teams – For larger-ticket items there will be a number of people and groups involved in a purchase...

Inbound Marketing and Product Marketing

It’s not very often that I get to talk to a group of purely product management and product marketing folks so when he Rymatech folks asked if I wanted to do a webinar with them I was quick to say yes (the webinar is happening Wed. Feb. 9th at 12 EST and you can register here). The topic I am going to focus on for that webinar is the changing nature of marketing in general and what that means for product marketing professionals in particular (a topic I have been thinking about since I spoke at ProductCamp Amsterdam).   Here’s a brief overview of the topic: 1/ Traditional Marketing Sucks – People hate traditional marketing. It’s interrupt-driven, untargeted and pushy.  People are pretty good at ignoring things that bother them so that style of marketing has become less and less effective. 2/ Customers Want to Control the Sales Process – Prospects don’t want to be “sold.” Customers are interested in researching products themselves and tend to resist interacting with a vendor to as late in the buying process as possible. 3/ The Only Way to Enage With Customers Early in the Buying Cycle is to Provide Useful Stuff – So if your prospects don’t want to be sold to – how should you interact with them?  By helping them rather than selling to them.  Inbound marketing (in my definition anyway) consists of providing things that help prospects.  That might be best practices or tips.  It could mean helping them understand specific technologies in the market and when they should be used.  It might mean educating them on different approaches to solving a...

Marketing Tactics vs. Strategy: Striking a Balance

One of the biggest differences between marketing jobs at a large company versus doing marketing at a startup is the breadth of responsibility.  At a large company, marketing roles are highly siloed and folks are slotted into field marketing, PR, communications, strategy, etc. and they rarely work on projects or tasks that cross those lines.  At a startup there aren’t enough people around to start splitting up jobs like that so more often than not there are one or two people doing everything.  That’s is the fun part of doing startup marketing (and one of the dangers of hiring a person who has only ever worked at big companies for your startup, but that’s another blog post).  The challenge of course is that you have to wear a lot of hats simultaneously So how do you find a balance between the strategic and the tactical sides of the equation?  In my experience most marketers are more comfortable on one side or the other and they tend to spend too much time in that comfort zone.  For example, folks that are awesome at lead generation can easily spend all their time doing only that.  Folks that are good at strategy often find lead generation “boring”. All strategy and no tactics – you might never get off the ground There are obvious problems with not paying attention to short term revenue.  Even though your positioning and strategy might establish you as a thought leader (yeah, hate that word but you know what I mean) in a market, you might not survive long enough for that strategy to translate into revenue without...

Marketing ROI: 5 Reasons You Aren’t Measuring it

AMR published a study of marketers in North America that showed that only 50% of marketers formally analyze metrics to judge ROI.  To me that’s a stunning statistic.  Only 50%!?  I’m a bit of a numbers nut, I’ll admit it.  I blame my engineering background.  But seriously, half of the marketers out there aren’t tracking any metrics to determine what’s working and what isn’t? I got thinking about it.  Why wouldn’t you want to measure any metrics to track ROI?  Here’s what I came up with: 1/ You don’t want to spoil the purity of your artistic vision with all of those icky “numbers” – Some days I wish I was an artist and I didn’t have to worry about pesky things like revenue and profit and feeding my children, so I could just concentrate on the beautiful-ness of my lovely marketing. Yeah, OK, no I don’t. 2/ You don’t think it can be measured – I hear this one a lot and frankly I just don’t understand it. Yeah, OK, there might be the odd small thing you are doing that you can’t track but seriously people – you’re driving people to your website, don’t you care how many convert?  You’re trying to get folks to call you, doesn’t it matter how many of them actually buy?  You are running specials and promotions, but you don’t care how many take you up on them? 3/ Your executive team never asked you to measure it – This might be a good reason except that one day you’ll get a new CEO who asks where your metrics are and you...

Marketing is Dead (long live product marketing)

I gave the keynote presentation at ProductCamp Amsterdam over the weekend.  It was an amazing trip.  The intelligent and charming organizers (shown in the photo left to right Xavier, Vladimir, Mark,  Jelmer, and Kevin) not only shuttled me around and fed me good food but they also put me up in by far the largest hotel room I have ever stayed in (below is a shot I took from the loft. Yes, it had a loft).  The venue (kindly donated by the folks at Backbase) was fantastic and the crowd was full of smart startup folks that asked really good questions. The talk I gave was one that I’ve wanted to do for a while.  It was on the changing nature of marketing in a world where buyers are much more in control and traditional marketing tactics are not only ineffective, but down right annoying. The talk is called Marketing is Dead (long live Product Marketing). I want to thank the organizers again for inviting me and for being such good hosts.  And if there are any other European conference organizers out there reading this I’d like to say that in addition to Amsterdam I like London, Paris and Berlin very much…. Here are the slides: Marketing is Dead (long live product marketing) View more presentations from April Dunford. If you enjoyed that, you should subscribe!  You can sign up for email updates, subscribe via RSS or follow me...

Brand Marketing has Left the Building

Last week I attended Marketo’s User Conference and I had a great time being elbow-to-elbow with 600 other hard-core marketing folk (if you don’t know them, Marketo provides a marketing automation tool that helps marketers automate lead generation campaigns).  One of the themes of the conference was around the transformation of marketing from a cost center to a revenue driver.  Phil Fernandez, Marketo’s CEO had this to say in a recent blog post: In today’s “buyer’s in control” market, traditional marketing and sales approaches have become grossly inefficient and outdated. By relying on antiquated strategies and ineffective methods, organizations find that 80% of leads and 50% of the sales team time is wasted. This misalignment adds up quickly and creates significant revenue leaking points across the organization. The solution to this “revenue leakage” requires a shift in thinking about marketing’s fundamental role in the business.  This shift moves marketing further and further away from doing more traditional “branding” style activities, toward campaigns and tactics where there is a direct line of sight to revenue. Why is this shift from brand marketing to revenue marketing happening in the first place? Digital makes measurement possible – Digital marketing has made it possible for marketers to measure more of what we do. 10 years ago when I was spending my money on print advertising, traditional PR and events it was hard to track the amount of revenue I influenced.  Because it was hard to measure we often allocated marketing spend across tactics based on anecdotal information.  We took a guess at what worked based on how many people we got in front...
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