With much ado, Marketing Week have announced their nominations for 2019 Brand of the Year. There are some brilliant and well-deserved nominations in here: Greggs, Monzo, Nationwide, and Netflix among them. These businesses deserve much credit for responding to new market demand (Greggs and veganism), taking a stand against unacceptable behaviour (Nationwide and online abuse), and disrupting traditional markets (Monzo and banking, Netflix and television) and I’m chuffed to see them on the list.
But I’m mostly struck by the fact that not one of their ten nominations for 2019 Brand of the Year are for brands occupying the B2B marketing space. Not one.
How could this be? Perhaps B2B just isn’t as important as B2C. But that is rot. Just look to the report launched this week on the contribution of B2B to the UK economy. This showed that 80% of all UK firms derive at least some of their income from B2B and that 44% of UK turnover comes from B2B activity.
Perhaps brand is not important in the B2B space? But that is patently untrue. In every job I’ve ever had in B2B, brand has been a key contributor to helping a business to change its story, differentiate itself better, and ultimately get customers to pay for its products and services.
Perhaps the achievements of the best B2B brands just aren’t up there with the B2C stars? That’s just nonsense. You want B2B disruptors? Think SnapCap, Skype, Storey… You want B2B cause marketing? Think IBM and “Girls Who Code”… You want B2B new market demand? Think Instagram…
I can’t help thinking that the Brand of the Year list is just another example of B2B marketing blindness by the wider marketing profession. The marketing industry can do more than market FMCG, but that seems to be forgotten. And that’s a shame because B2B marketing is actually more difficult than B2C and B2B marketing professionals need more support and respect from their industry than many of their well-funded and better-privileged B2C colleagues.