Does B2B Marketing Need Urgent Reinvention? | Marketing


IBM Marketing Director Carla Piñyero Sublett feels B2B marketing has gone astray. In a recent interview, the senior vice president of IBM, who joined the group in February this year, claimed that “B2B technology marketing is due to disruption” because everyone is “running the same games” and “floods the same channels, which doesn’t add much value. to customers or decision-makers ”.

Piñyero Sublett said US Campaign that she wants IBM and other B2B marketers to break the cycle of targeted and account-based marketing on which they are too dependent, in favor of uncovering the rich stories that already exist within their organizations.

“We forgot that our number one responsibility is to build relationships and add value,” she said. “It won’t happen by dotting LinkedIn inboxes, chasing with banner ads, or flooding emails. I want to create more pull than a push by educating and inspiring customers through a rich storytelling.

We reached out to the leaders of the B2B space in Asia to see if they agree with these claims.

Do you think B2B is too practical and neglects creativity?

Rhys Taylor, Managing Director, Gyro Asia Pacific:

On the contrary, over the past 10 years there have been two significant trends in business-to-business marketing that suggest marketers have been relentless in building relationships and adding value at every customer touchpoint. The first has been a growing awareness of the need to recognize the humanity of business customers as individuals and to speak to them in rich and humanly relevant ways, regardless of the product or service being promoted, or the segment of business. target audience or market.

And in addition to the fact that this topic is regularly at the center of Forrester and the LinkedIn B2B Institute reports, we’ve seen it in the real world with brands like JLL (Commercial Real Estate and Investing) launching their award-winning global “Stories” campaign. ambitions ”, and even last week with the bold launch of a new brand and the reinvention of professional services company NCS Group.

The second trend, which also applies to B2C practice, is to move away from creating an ambient brand image through traditional sponsorship and outdoor presence. Instead, there’s a focused effort to ensure brands achieve ubiquity through some form of utility. This was truly led in Asia Pacific by WeChat, which was the first brand to define what a super app could be for businesses and consumers, and continues to be visible across the region.

Jo Chan Kue, APAC Commercial Director, Artifact:

On the contrary, since B2B is often very specific, “precision” roughly corresponds to the marketing of this category. B2B needs to be very specific to target the right audience and the right message. In these senses, creativity will not be in the same context as B2C, that we have to provide graphics or emotional feelings, but we will focus on how to make the brand message appealing to customers. The look and feel of the business will often be in the box (business guide), but my point is that B2B needs to have its own definition of creativity, and that could be in its approach, its platforms and its messaging.

Luke Janich, CEO, Red2 Digital:

Taking the industry as a whole, it seems practical solutions are preferred over creative ones. For us, the sweet spot is the combination of the two: data-driven creativity. We’re starting to see more and more B2B marketers creatively leveraging data points to measure effectiveness. While many B2C brands have handled this transparently, there is a real opportunity for B2B brands that focus on information rather than specs and media.

What advances have you seen in B2B marketing in APAC?


The point is, marketers in Asia Pacific need to address a greater number of languages, cultural and religious nuances, and varying degrees of technology adoption depending on where their business operates. This leads to a greater focus on measuring impact and success – which is why banner ads and emails will remain necessary at the bottom of the funnel – but it also breeds creativity.

And in the B2B space, this creativity is often achieved through partnerships. Where brands are ready to go out of their own way and recognize that their customers’ world will never end for them the way they want it to. But through a meaningful collaboration or merger, such as when Gojeck and Tokopedia formed GoTo, their brand may be able to accelerate, smooth, secure or improve the work and personal lives of their clients from a way that creates an affinity with the brand. (Our recent B2B Superpowers report explains how B2B marketers can target both the personal and business needs of individual buyers.)


There is a tendency to focus on targeted and account-based marketing in B2B. Nonetheless, we’ve seen real breakthroughs when ambitious clients and agencies come together. For us, the pandemic has fueled the boom in content marketing, from bespoke webinars and blogs to email and social media. These channels offer new storytelling opportunities, which can support the full suite of PPC, SEO and lead generation.


We have seen many of them post covid rethink how their marketing could be much closer to the end user (to get insight into their R&D or product innovations). The tendency is for them to find interest in partnering with big data platforms for trend detection (such as Tmall Innovation Lab). Data modeling, such as scoring leads, has grown because it has been proven to have better durability and better long-term performance. They have expanded their presence not only in search, but some of them have also embarked on the Douyin craze, for better brand awareness that could lead to an immediate collection of potential customers and even a conversion.

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