At last, B2B wakes up to digital age

2012, I reckon, is going to be the year that the skeptics eventually wake up to the fact that digital is the fundamental key to unlocking B2B marketing. We all know that the early adopters have been using it for eons and that young professionals embraced it as an ideological panacea whilst simultaneously suffering from a bout of collective amnesia apropos the last 40 years of marketing nous, rendering digital rudderless and often impotent.
Too often marketers have positioned themselves firmly one side of the fence; digital being fantastic or over rated. Decisions as to the use of it have often been too emotionally charged rather than prosaically influenced; too dependent on the knowledge or, lack of, the marketing decision maker.
Yet, the phony war against digital seems to be over – and for two main reasons. Firstly, there is a greater understanding of it abilities, its achievements to date and appreciation of its value and accountability. Secondly, and, perhaps more importantly, clients are demanding its use in ever larger doses, especially in B2B. We have, for instance, seen a threefold increase in its use in B2B driven primarily by its effectiveness in engaging with customers yet coupled with its cost-effectiveness.
The opportunity to offer so many marketing ‘touchpoints’, each designed to interact mutually exclusively but still work in a complementary manner, has rendered digital essential to B2B marketing.
It is probably fair to say that digital is now the core component of B2B marketing. It has fast become the anchoring strategy around which other media have become embedded. Its versatility, ease of route to market, ability to engage and cost effectiveness have played a crucial role in establishing its rise to prominence.
B2B marketing is weathering the recession far better than B2C marketing; and much of this can be attributed to the wise marketing directors that, while not young professionals or early adopters, are nevertheless ahead of the curve in championing the potential of digital.

Drew Nicholson is joint managing director of DNX

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