It has been hard not to notice the increasing number of articles and blog discussions on the health of B2B marketing. There has always been a portion of the B2B community that has felt marketing has limited value and is somewhat of an unnecessary evil that should be minimized. Now, some have taken to the web proclaiming the death of B2B marketing.
Though the discussion around the death of B2B marketing due to the advances in the Internet is somewhat new, the perspective is not. For years I have been hearing about "products that are so good they sell themselves" (btw - these are highly intelligent products designed by engineers that understand exactly what the market wants and they have the capability to identify a target customer, walk into visit with the customer, introduce themselves and their value, determine the needs of the customer, clearly articulate the benefits and competitive advantages they offer, and finally close the sale).
This perspective has evolved to the notion that B2B marketing is dead because of the advances in the Internet. The Internet now provides so much information, that customers have the power to get all the information they need to make purchase decisions. This perspective seems to view the marketing function as simply communications. It also seems to assume that companies have a limited interest in the information about their company or products that is on the Internet.
To begin with, let's understand that communications is one role of marketing, and if done in isolation from the other functions, it is bound to be ineffective. Poorly implemented marketing functions may be a source of the challenges directed at the value of B2B marketing. Even the most basic textbook definitions of marketing include the 5 P's (Positioning, Product, Pricing, Placement, and Promotion) or SIVA (Solution, Information, Value, and Access). All of these elements of marketing must be coordinated and work together.