As head of the Business Marketing Association (BMA) and a working chief marketing officer for several companies, Kathy Button Bell gained unique insights into the field. She notes three trends that already are in place and appear likely to continue affecting the business-to-business (B2B) arena.

Man Speaking at Business PresentationFirst, she cites research that shows that marketers in the B2B arena are engaging in activities today that they never had before. Many of these activities reflect consumer experiences and insights. Even for B2B, Bell suggests, “You have to behave much more like a consumer-minded company when it comes to your reputation, awareness, and just trying to communicate with people.” The reason for this shift has a lot to do with the rise of multiple media channels that make every interaction noisier. In turn, business and industrial marketing is far more sophisticated and complicated than in years past.

Second, in a related trend, Bell notes that whereas business marketing was once a distinct, isolated set of competencies and strategies, often dependant on the personality and skills of an individual salesperson, today it requires the collaborative efforts of a dedicated team. Firms in B2B markets need fully staffed marketing departments to ensure that they have sufficient selling resources in place and to move rapidly to leverage opportunities.

Third, as they expand their marketing departments, even firms that traditionally focused on production or engineering need to make marketing a senior-level, strategic consideration.Buisness

The trends clearly converge in some ways, suggesting that the future of B2B marketing is a prominent and growing role, across the firm.

Discussion Question:

What stages of the business-to-business buying process does this expert suggested are undergoing changes?

SOURCE: Kate Maddox, “Longstanding B-to-B CMO Says BMA, ANA Merger Was Needed,” Advertising Age, January 8, 2015, http://adage.com