The technology's there, and the door's open for innovation. But everything is so complicated.
It's an interesting dichotomy for B2B marketers -- where technological advancements are met with increased difficulties in the world in which they market.
"Complexity is exploding," said Stephen J. Liguori, founder and CEO of Liguori Innovation and the global chairman of the Business Marketing Association (BMA), the 17-chapter, 2,500-member network of B2B marketing peers. "B2B marketers have all the opportunities and challenges in reaching their customers in new ways just like B2C companies."
However, Liguori continued, "we additionally work in extremely complex markets and companies. Examples: digitally connecting healthcare equipment in hospitals to support doctors, nurses and patients. Building apps for airline pilots to fly shorter, smoother routes to save money and time. So gaining new skills and expertise to successfully navigate this complex world is critical."
Extending B2B Reach
The complexity was top of mind at the annual Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Fla., this week. And it's something Liguori and the BMA will continue to tackle in a new partnership with the ANA announced today.
The BMA will become a division of ANA starting Nov. 30, a move officials say will help "extend business-to-business marketing capabilities and intellectual brand-building capital through increased scale, focused resources and broadened leadership."
The BMA hails itself as the largest organization in the world dedicated exclusively to B2B marketing. The ANA has 630 member companies, representing more than 10,000 brands and $250 billion of marketing spend. Currently, the ANA has 160 B2B marketer member companies representing 12,000 marketers.
"The BMA has been led, and really run for years, by a dedicated group of professionals we call the 'All Volunteer Army,'" Liguori told CMSWire. "From me as the chairman, to a very engaged board, to local chapter leaders and teams, virtually everyone volunteers on top of their day job. We have one paid employee, our executive director. The ANA brings not just passion and expertise. They bring a world class team that will give us the scale and reach we need to thrive and grow together."
The two organizations are working on logistics surrounding memberships and benefits.
Asked about the needs of today's B2B marketers, Liguori told us business marketers need more 360-degree engagement in the core strategy of their businesses.
"We long ago ceased being the ad and brochure people," he said, "but some still see us as that."
Too often, B2B marketers are seen as "second class marketers, and somehow a lower grade."
Over 50 percent of GDP is B2B across every major critical industry, Liguori pointed out.
"So it's time for less, 'B2B is not important,'" he said, "when in fact it really needs to move to center stage."