In B2B marketing, it’s a no-compromise world.

When visiting the BizSugar community of blog articles for small business, the title of a post from Susan Oakes of M4BMarketing caught my eye. It was “How to Confuse Your Customers in One Easy Step.” Her focus is branding and she delivers a solid argument for making sure a company’s brand looks the same wherever it appears — Web site, newsletter, business card, trade show, blog, etc.

She describes her reaction when looking at a particular company that has not demonstrated this consistency. “It did make me a little wary about the quality of their work and which one represented the real tone of the business. Sure this is not a rational thought but rather an emotional reaction. My initial response was if they did not care enough about their own brand why would they care about mine if I used their services.”

The fact is that few B2B businesses are lucky enough to be the “only” provider of a particular product or service. A company’s product may have a feature that is unique, but that advantage still does not guarantee that everyone needing that type of solution will buy from them.

I am reminded of this fact every time I conduct an initial interview with a new client. One of my interview questions, of course, is, “Who is your competition?”

I am often surprised by the answers I get.

There are direct competitors, of course. But then there are the dozens of other peripheral businesses that have a related solution that can often win the customer.

That’s why it’s so important for B2B marketers to follow best marketing practices in everything they do — whether it involves their brand, lead generation, or nurturing efforts.

When B2B marketers compromise campaign practices (media, list, content offer, messaging, design, frequency, etc.) based on what the boss wants, the sales department wants, or the product manager wants, the result is fewer leads and fewer sales.

That’s how it is in this crowded, competitive B2B world.

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2 Comments

  • By Susan Oakes, September 30, 2010 @ 12:18 am

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for referencing my article. I agree with you about peripheral businesses as potential competitors and in some cases they can be major competitors. I give an example of cola products and water products. They are not diret competitors but each are competing when a consumer is thirsty and has to make a choice.

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