Blurring the Line Between B2B and B2C?

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A recent article in Advertising Age took a closer look at the mobile technology revolution: how it’s changing the way business is done and — perhaps more surprisingly — how it’s changing the strategies of B2B marketers. Companies like SAP and Cisco Systems have completely retooled their messaging and their outreach to reflect this new reality — one where people are engaging directly via mobile devices.

SAP’s former tagline “Businesses Run SAP” morphed into “Life Runs SAP.” Cisco Systems then unveiled its new “Internet of Everything” initiative, calling to mind the total interconnectivity of the global marketplace. It’s a not-so-subtle shift, and it’s a change that’s not lost on key industry players.

“Now we talk to people,” said one B2B agency CEO. “We don’t talk to companies.”

It’s true. In the end, it’s real human beings who are using mobile technology to access information, communicate with partners and reach new customers right where they stand. In fact, a recent study from Forbes Insight and Google revealed that 40% of U.S. executives use a mobile device as their primary business platform — and that number is expected to jump to more than 50% in the next three years.

So what does this mean for the future of B2B marketing?

For one, the situation demands a comprehensive focus on mobile — from websites and apps down to email blasts, text messages and push notifications. Tomorrow’s most effective marketing strategies will have to incorporate mobile from the start, not as an afterthought.

It also means recalibrating the traditional B2B mindset to reach customers in a more direct, personal way than ever before. That will require real working knowledge of their businesses and their own customers.

Legendary computer scientist Alan Kay once said, “The easiest way to predict the future is to invent it.” With the explosion of mobile technology today, it’s up to B2B marketers to invent the best ways to reach companies — and the individuals within them — in this brave new world.

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