CONSUMER VERSUS CORPORATE MARKETING-CONVERGENCE OR DIVERGENCE?

INTRODUCTION

Most of this book covered consumer marketing concepts and case studies. While I touched on corporate marketing, in which the customer is a corporation, this was not the main focus. Let me use this chapter to reiterate the major propositions for marketers using the context of corporate marketers, and examine the issues they face by comparing and contrasting them to consumer marketers. In using the term “corporate marketing" I will be combining three other definitions often found in the literature—industrial marketing, business marketing, and business-to-business (B2B) marketing, grouping all of them under corporate marketing.

While I have spent most of my professional life selling consumer marketing analytics to a set of marketers, my own marketing activities are those of corporate marketing. My customers are corporations, and I market and sell my products to a number of departments in these corporations—marketing, information technology (IT), finance, operations, sales, and engineering. My personal experiences has given me a good exposure to how marketing and selling work together in developing competitive positioning, understanding customer needs, building solutions, and in promoting these solutions to corporate customers of high-tech and advertising services products. Unlike in consumer marketing, I found that my work required a much closer coordination between marketing and sales, and it was often hard to divide the activities clearly between the two areas.

My second experience base is from my customers who are marketing to other corporations. Many of my customers are selling to their corporate customers. In that respect, I have been observing several variations to corporate marketing situations. First of all, there is B2B marketing, in which the customer will consume the purchased product. In particular, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are good examples of marketers selling ERP solutions to their customers who use ERP systems for their accounting, inventory management, or human resource departments. Second, there are business-to-business- to-consumer marketing opportunities, in which the customer is a corporation selling products to consumers. For example, AT&T sells wireless services to consumers, using wireless products from Samsung, Nokia, and Apple. The final consumer for the phones is an individual. However, Samsung and AT&T provide additional value that gets bundled with the final product. Finally, there are food chains of businesses (for example, business-to-business-to-business to consumer), in which the products become increasingly specialized by each layer of the food chain. For example, a smarter sports stadium is a final product with benefits to consumers that has a number of players in the food chain, including a stadium owner, a system integrator, a software provider, a telecom service provider, and a telecom equipment provider.

Corporate marketers are seeking and receiving a fair number of benefits from the capabilities described in chapters 3, 4, and 5. Let me offer a couple of examples to illustrate how big data has invaded the world of corporate marketing and provided marketers with a much larger number of observations, new ways of collaborative influencing, and orchestration across the marketing components. Given that corporate marketers in the past were dealing with small volumes, well-defined customer clusters, and a preintegrated sales and marketing function, they can now obtain their results much faster. While public case studies are not as prevalent, corporate markets are not lacking in their use of big data tools, and often provide useful insights to consumer marketers.

As I started to research this topic, it was hard to find published literature. This gave me the inspiration to write more from experience and prepare for a sequel, which would deal exclusively with corporate marketing based on the feedback I receive from my audience.

 
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