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Book Review: B2B A to Z by Bill Blaney

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Meeting the needs and wants of the customer should be a standard business and marketing objective, regardless of size or type of business, be it B2B or B2C. Customers come in two categories, business-to-business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C).

According to author Bill Blaney, B2C is all about meeting the wants of customers and B2B is about meeting the needs of businesses. In his new book, B2B A to Z: Marketing Tools and Strategies that Generate Leads for Your Business-to-Business Company, he offers a “soup to nuts” B2B strategies book.

He writes, “The truth of the matter is that B2B marketing has always been the Jan Brady to consumer marketing’s Marcia. It has never received the respect (or attention) that consumer does; it’s misunderstood by the masses and (sometimes, even by clients); and it has so few written resources to help its parishioners that it’s only natural that companies are behind the curve on new developments in the field.”

Blaney starts by detailing how B2B marketing has changed. For example, he writes about the diminishing reach of traditional media and how new media has changed the landscape. He also dismantles nine myths of B2B marketing, including customers know a lot about your product and successful advertising doesn’t need to be updated.

One chapter is devoted to B2B tools, strategies and methods for lead generation and what to do with those leads. Blaney suggests the marketing plan is the most important tool, which can be as short as three pages or as long as 50 pages.

He writes, “It may seem elementary, but many companies overlook this crucial step. In order to understand what you want, where you want to go, how you plan to be perceived, and how to get there, you have to write it down.”

Blaney also writes about traditional marketing strategies that B2B needs to continue to work with. The entire book offers vitally important information for B2B, the strongest chapters are those that address online campaigns, web sites, SEO and the circle of three, responsive web design and blogging.

One of the chapters describes Google Penguin. Blaney writes, “If you’re a business that relies on Google for revenue, it would be surprising if you hadn’t heard of Google Penguin, the last algorithmic update from this massively successful juggernaut.”

He calls Penguin “the bane of existence for companies that counted on their search position.” Blane gives a history of Penguin and offers several guidelines including that “relevant, targeted and original content” is what businesses should be building their online presence around.

He devotes a full chapter to case studies. The last chapter of the book provides suggestions on how to survive and stay ahead when marketing a business. A few of the tips he writes include:

• Learn everyone’s job;
• Never neglect the new tools of the trade;
• Realize and accept the fact that one person doesn’t know it all;
• Be willing to fail.

It’s a changed business environment for most companies these days including B2B. Globalization, mobile apps, and the driving force of 24/7 business attitudes and access are just a few issues facing businesses today.

Blaney offers a book full of tools and strategies that address such issues with a focus on B2B. It is well written with real business world suggestions.

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  • Lesley Harris

    Post college I started in the B2C field, but when I moved to Atlanta I ended up working for a B2B company. At first, it felt very different, but in the last few years it’s started to shift, and remind me more of b2c marketing, mostly because of social media. LI used to be the place for businessy folks to interact, but now that most companies have twitter accounts, and a ton of people within the company have personal-yet-corporate accounts, interacting with potential clients CAN be different. Like, I have subscriptions to Hoovers and LeadFerret to get my b2b leads, and they’ve started offering, in addition to the yadda yadda yadda (name, title, email, etc), social media links. At first it seemed ridiculous. FB is for people to talk about their cats, not what they’re selling. But, I think that’s changing. Which doesn’t mean that all b2c tactics work on b2b sales, but there’s far more of a grey area than there was even two years ago.