Thank goodness for Shakespeare.
He knew how to coin a phrase which you can use and abuse to your heart’s content. In this instance it’s to make a point that was well expressed at a recent B2B-centric dinner hosted by Sir Paul Judge on behalf of The Marketing Society, in the UK.
‘People respect the techniques (of marketing) and use them. But they don’t call them marketing.’
This sentiment was echoed round the table. Marketing was thought of by senior executives, partners and board directors as ‘brochures and balloons’. The activities which marketers themselves would described as marketing were variously referred to by senior management as ‘revenue generation’, ‘business development’, ‘key account management’, ‘contract management’, ‘growth drivers’, ‘relationship development’ and ‘business networking’.
In common with other marketing discussions, how best to measure ROI was a major theme. What was definitely new in a B2B context was the open acknowledgement of the role of emotion in contributing to the actual purchase decision. Hence perhaps the difficulties in producing a clear ROI, not only because of the recurrent problem with linking broader activities directly to sales, but because they are actually part of the business process, not a separate function.
So B2B marketing is alive and well in large corporates. Just don’t call it marketing.
This post was originally posted on The Marketing Society Blog.