Lately I’ve been tackling Michael Lewis’ fantastic book – The Big Short - it’s compelling but dense – about the roots of the sub-prime mortgage disaster. Boatloads of money were made because people couldn't see clearly into the deals. It’s very frustrating to read about the profit that was made from the lack of transparency.
And the inverse is precisely what I enjoy about the work we do in the B2B space. Marketing (and strategy) help B2B companies become better understood by the other participants in their market. I’m not talking about sharing trade secrets, but rather about being clearly known in the context of an interdependent marketplace.
B2B markets are often characterized by a lack of visibility. The sales process can be murky and pricing is highly customized (along with other aspects of the offers) often to the point where the company itself is unclear on which price it’s offering to which customer. In the B2C environment, it's much simpler. The roots of mystery shopping aren’t any more complex than one apple seller peering over at their neighbour’s fruit stand or eavesdropping on their conversations with buyers. In B2B, this behavior is simply hidden from view.
Also, in many B2B markets, there are few if any public companies, so there’s limited disclosure of activities or revenues. There is often little to no secondary research available about the specific B2B markets to help participants understand the dynamics of their industry.
Customized B2B market research can help you understand an opaque marketplace more clearly. And good marketing makes companies more transparent, especially in B2B. Both of these activities enable clearer communication and stronger messages. They drive sustainable value creation, by allowing people in the industry to understand what others offer and how it can create value for both parties.
It’s very exciting when we can make sense of a complex environment for a client (like in this case study for a media organization). We are helping create value for our clients when we can translate a complex technical offering into language that reflects their customers’ needs (like in this case study for a power quality company).