Posted by: garyskidmore | September 19, 2011

Moving ‘B-to-B’ to the ‘A’ List

The Importance of Being B2B

Recently, I had the honor of being named by B-to-B Magazine to its “Who’s Who in Direct” for 2011, which I acknowledge is really more about the company I work for – Harte-Hanks – than it is about me.   Named in its July 2011 issue, the recognition takes note of industry leaders in the field of direct and interactive marketing, specifically in business-to-business (B-to-B) markets, and I happened to be one of 10 leaders named. The magazine also names Who’s Who for business-to-business marketing in eight additional categories:  marketers, agencies, email, search, business media, demand generation, events and associations.
Business-to-business marketing has complexities all its own, and Harte-Hanks has pursued solutions for organizations in this sector that I believe are truly innovative.  These solutions have come about through years of vision and planning, facilitated by home-grown startups and acquisitions.  In 2011, our focus on demand generation and content-driven marketing has culminated in the launch of The Demand Curve™ — a means for planning, assessing and road-mapping lead generation, lead nurturing and sales support in B-to-B environments – that we will formally announce at next month’s Direct Marketing Association (DMA) DMA:2011 conference.
Specifically, The Demand Curve leverages the capabilities of our insight team including Mason Zimbler US and UK, our B-to-B creative and digital agency; our installed tech database CiTDB [Ci Technology Database]; our Aberdeen Group research content; and our analytics team at Information Arts.  The Demand Curve helps our tech clients increase demand for their products through multichannel communication with their most qualified prospects. In addition, apart from The Demand Curve, our global database, contact center and data quality solutions continue to prosper – driven significantly by tech and business marketers.
To me, B-to-B is the hidden, but yet not-so-secret, rear engine of direct marketing – with billions in media expenditures generating trillions in commerce.  Many of the clients I interact with here don’t even call what they do “direct marketing.”  To them, marketing is marketing, and direct channels are increasingly vital, from digital, to email, to mobile, to events, to the telephone, to the PC – and the mailbox, too.  Just this past week, DMA announced it had opened a Center for Accountable Marketing in Silicon Valley, California (Harte-Hanks is a founding member) – and I applaud this terminology and this outreach effort, which largely will serve the technology sector located there.  “Accountable marketing” and “accountable communications” are clearly what business marketers seek to define, to achieve and to measure.  And accountability, like B-to-B, is on my A-list.


 “The only way to consistently grow in B2B is to be better than very good. In fact, it’s to find something that organizations need and be the very best in the
world at it. Hopefully, that thing is something that organizations in your sphere are eager to talk about among themselves. If it is, you win. There’s a
line at your door for years to come.”

– Seth Godin

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