Love/Hate B2B communication

I’ve had a love/ hate relationship with communication for almost 30 years now. Why? The story is actually quite simple… follow me.

I started my career by co-founding Egzakt, an advertising and communication agency that was established in Trois-Rivières, Québec in 1987. So, my preoccupation with communication is not new.

Throughout these last 30 years of service, I have done both communication and strategic marketing, especially for businesses that sell to other businesses (B2B). In 1995 I incorporated the web into this work and the integration of technologies followed from there. That’s when I realized that the game had changed completely. The impact of communication could finally be measured, and the work done much more precisely, by segment, online (web) and offline (traditional).

In this perspective, it’s plain to see that communication is not just a beautiful image that makes you go ‘WOW’ or a well-phrased text that merely gratifies it’s author. And this is where my love/hate relationship ignites: When working with a client and talking about marketing strategy or search results or even as discussions get into strategic company decisions, I suddenly get asked what the publication, or the image chosen to illustrate this future positioning will look like. That’s when I realise that we are working in a traditional communications culture and that the culture gap is wide. It’s not the customer’s fault. It’s this culture claiming that only a beautiful image and a nice text will make everything right. As if a slick online or offline publication or web site with a home page that looks like a magazine ad will enable a company to achieve its growth objectives.

Communication is in fact the end result of the strategic thinking process; it’s the crystallization of the elements that we have put forward to convince the customer to “buy” us. To get there, we must start from potential customers. In B2B, there are several segments of potential customers. Even within each segment, there are several types of buyers and influencers. Therefore, there is no single recipe that will appeal to all groups of individuals, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Marketing and communication have become more and more complex through a proliferation of channels, technologies and tactics. These in turn have generated the need to assemble new and complimentary talents that didn’t even exist a few years ago, to create a solid team. Marketing and communications are based on processes and not just on intuition. These processes also require a “gestation” period.

We’ve been doing communication work day in and day out for our customers since 2002. We’ve won two first prizes in the United States for product launch ad campaigns (One in the Architectural Record and the other in AIA – American Institute of Architects magazine.) Recently, one of our customers got asked if they would be willing to sell content we’d developed for their blog. Our work is always based on the combination of marketing intelligence and creativity, because in communications, you can’t have one without the other.

I love communication. I’ve been blogging since 2009 and Exo B2B has published more than 400 blogs to help businesses in B2B marketing and sales. I love communication, and I love it most when it’s effective. 🙂

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