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Marketing and Sales

The B2B Takeover: Insights from CMOs

How B2B marketing leaders draw inspiration from B2C practices

  • August 2023

Drawing from B2C Innovation: CMOs' Approach

The allure of B2C strategies in fostering innovation is undeniable. Shonodeep Modak, CMO of Energy Management at Schneider Electric, explains, "We often draw inspiration from B2C's disruptive marketing approaches." Erica Brinker, Chief Commercial & Sustainability Officer of Chaberton Energy and a former CMO at Honeywell, also underscores the invaluable lessons that B2B can extract from B2C, emphasizing that the complexities of an omnichannel marketing campaign mirror the intricate B2B customer journeys, calling for tailored content and personalization.

Brinker points out that B2C's often larger marketing budgets fuel experimental strategies. In contrast, marketing to other businesses entails a more focused, methodical approach, cherry-picking proven strategies: “We don’t have a lot of room for error, so we look at what has already worked in B2C to cherry-pick. We benefit from being second because we don't have to experiment with technology that hasn't worked,” she explains. “In B2B, finding buyers is easier, especially with tools like LinkedIn. The decision-making matrix is more straightforward compared to B2C companies, which need to find audiences among the masses.”

The Unique Strength of B2B: Direct Access to Decision-Makers

B2B leaders are learning from other companies’ breakthroughs and adapting those lessons to B2B's unique strengths. Modak underscores this dynamic by highlighting the need for B2B to embrace new approaches while remaining aligned with its core advantage—direct access to decision-makers, which is a fundamental B2B's strength. He notes: "We can establish pivotal connections in new segments. Engaging with Operations EVPs and Chief Revenue Officers elevates interactions, going beyond transactional engagements."

Access to the C-suite empowers B2B marketers to curate content that directly addresses their strategic concerns. The personalized engagement provided to key decision-makers resonates as these leaders seek strategic growth solutions.

Strategic Parallels with B2C: Customer-Centricity

The evolving dynamic between Marketing and Sales is particularly intriguing. Brinker advocates for deeper interaction, with marketing actively participating in sales meetings. However, she believes that Marketing and Sales teams don't necessarily have to be under the same reporting structure, stating: “There needs to be a symbiotic relationship on what's working, what isn't, adjusting on the fly, and hearing what salespeople have to say.” This relationship extends to insights that enrich salespeople's understanding of customer behaviors, equipping them for more informed pitches through data-driven intel. Modak reiterates this idea, underlining Marketing's role in leveraging customer insights from digital content interactionscan help the seller refine their pitches. "The best formula I've found is to make their lives easier, showing them customer intent that they may not be aware of otherwise."

Brinker also highlights the paradigm shift ushered in by digital marketing, noting the rising demand for Amazon-like experiences within the professional realm, which means that Marketing provides a service to Sales that the latter couldn’t get anywhere else. This mirrors B2C's emphasis on enhancing customer experiences through data-driven insights.

Playing with Synergy and Strategy

The interplay between B2B and B2C isn't about mimicry but mutual growth. B2B leaders draw inspiration from B2C's innovations while harnessing their direct links to C-suite executives. This evolving paradigm captures adaptable B2B leaders who absorb B2C dynamism while remaining anchored in their unique strengths. Within this intersection lies the true potential for B2B marketing excellence to flourish.

"Tools may evolve, but the essence of effective marketing remains grounded in market adaptation, precise segmentation, and effective targeting," underscores Brinker. As B2B charts its course, it capitalizes on B2C wisdom to craft a narrative that forges meaningful connections and fuels strategic growth.

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