I have been fortunate enough to work as a marketer in both consumer and b2b brands. One of the biggest differences I have found between the roles is the direct impact you have on sales.
In consumer brands the marketers strongly influence product development, determine the customer value proposition and control often very significant marketing and communications budgets that generate sales through a variety of consumer channels.
In most of the b2b brands I have worked in, the two teams that have had the biggest impact commercially have been the product management/development teams and the sales teams. The marketers in these firms provide the sales teams with the opportunities (e.g. events), PR and communications and supporting material (e.g. e-newsletters, blogs, brochures) to help them sell most effectively. In such an environment one of the most powerful things a marketer can do is to develop a business case to help the salesperson challenge and convince the buyer to buy.
Importantly it’s a business case from the buyer’s perspective. What it’s going to cost upfront, ongoing and what revenue (and other benefits) is it going to generate. If the product or service is being sold to a b2c / consumer firm, costs should include all the marketing and sales costs the firm will need to spend to create value. It should also include the impact on customer acquisition, customer retention, revenue per customer and the net promoter score and or customer satisfaction benefit. This insight is of course difficult to get hold of but I have seen different firms build up this capability in different ways.
Some work closely with a select group of customers where operating information is shared to their mutual benefit. Sometimes risk sharing ventures are established where the costs and benefits of the purchase are shared between the buying and selling firms. I have also seen firms use consultants who have a broad knowledge of the value chain often across geographies. Selling firms also recruit in people in from the buying firms. A good personal example of this was when Ericsson recruited me from O2 to help market and sell their Multimedia portfolio (mobile tv, mobile music, apps etc) to mobile operators marketing teams. At the time, Ericsson Account Directors were very experienced selling telecoms equipment to Technology teams in mobile operators, but had little experience selling these new services to the mobile operators Marketers who were the key decision makers for these services.
Importantly, focusing on a business case shifts the conversation from cost to value. It also allows you to engage with a broader set of decision makers in the buying firm, in particular the commercial and finance teams who ultimately will be asking their colleagues to prove the value of an investment ……through a business case.
Thanks for reading and look forward to any comments you have.
Angus Mitchell is the founder of Athenic Consulting Limited based in Hertfordshire near London. Established in 2009, Athenic Consulting design and deliver winning marketing and sales solutions for firms of all sizes. They offer consultancy and interim marketing services to European clients including Sky, Google and Sepomo mobile payments. Prior to establishing Athenic Consulting, Angus worked in marketing roles in the UK, Italy, Spain and Sweden for brands including O2, BT, Ericsson, Genie mobile and Infinito.it. He also founded a specialist Italian wine company, Dodici.
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