This article was first published by Martin on LinkedIn.

Everyone these days – consumer or professional buyer – is Cash Rich, Time Poor…though in today’s economy often without too much cash.

Both B2B and B2C purchase decisions are made by people who need a problem fixed, whether it’s something to eat for breakfast or a large underground pipe to fix a water leak.

The key account customer – whether Tesco or Yorkshire Water – is a curator of what’s available, narrowing choice to meet a designated specification and most likely setting commercial terms and prices.

As a brand owner you want to understand the end user, be able to articulate their problem, refine it into insight and present your brand as the customer’s solution.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Understanding the brand is typically (and rightly) owned by the marketing team. As is strategy. Yet relating to the customer is the job of Sales. You’re even more conflicted when the marketing team reports to Europe, isolating UK commercial as the owners of the “local” relationship.

But to engage the customer in a long-term growth agenda you need not just to understand end users but to be able to package this up with behavioural insights that show you know how to grow the customer’s business too.

Because it stands (or falls) outside of traditional Sales and Marketing functions it’s this customer vision or customer story that many businesses struggle to articulate – leaving them to slug it out in short-term discussions about price and margin.

So whether you’re in B2B or B2C – pastry or power tool – one of the critical growth factors in your business is creating a compelling category story that engages the customer in your long term vision of growth – for you and for them.

It’s all about the customer: Is the gap between B2B and B2C really so big?
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