This recent article from the Drum interviewing Michael McLaren, chief executive of newly formed Merkle B2B, is an insightful analysis and summary of the rapidly changing international B2B marcomms industry. https://www.thedrum.com/news/2020/09/0…plains-why
It’s tough at the top
Two years ago, recognising that no one agency had all the answers, BBN International set about devising a new model. Today, our Matrix model draws upon our 1200 dedicated B2B marketing experts worldwide to create bespoke account teams, each providing robust ‘just right’ marketing solutions that B2B clients are looking for.
Being no.1 (in B2B Marketing’s 2020 UK & US Agency Benchmark reports) sets certain expectations, expectations that we work hard to meet. BBN is a genuinely connected global group of independent, share-holding B2B agencies with over a thousand B2B specialists working in 52 offices in 30 countries, and it has over 300 clients from 23 different B2B sectors generating over $172 million in global billings. Although we’re proud of these numbers, they are only ‘play factors’, and while it secured our no. 1 ranking, we know our clients expect more than that!
McLaren’s vision to “provide more integrated, data-driven, tech-enabled solutions”, is born out of a recognition that B2B clients are underserved in this market. This is indeed true and absolutely endorses our belief that clients are looking for agencies capable of providing a fundamentally different, solutions orientated approach. One which is a true amalgam of industry experience and technical expertise adapted for and supported in their key operating geographies.
Technology driving reinvention
The new landscape we are entering will see technology transitioning from what in reality is so often a façade, to being core to the transformation of how companies identify, secure and maintain relationships with their customers. In many cases, this will compel reinvention. And it has to happen now. So, agencies will be selected based on their agility and their ability to provide the end-to-end implementation. Those agencies will have to seamlessly manage discovery, strategy, idea, activation and optimisation. But it goes further, in a world where change is the constant, we are all seeking a definition of the new normal. Business to business brands, that are used to taking an oh-so-rational approach to decision making, will have to find that element of magic – that thing that speaks to the hearts and minds of customers, that resonates with them and touches them emotionally.
More than ever clients rightly want and need a ‘Goldilocks’ solution, not too big, not too small, but a ‘just right’ option; as McLaren observes, global agencies that provide this are few and far between.
We at BBN, believe that a greater choice of agencies dedicated to the advancement of the rapidly growing B2B marcoms sector can only be good for clients and the industry as a whole. For BBN it has been an immensely rewarding process and challenges aside will be similar for Merkle.
About the author
Clif Collier is the Executive Chairman of BBN Ltd. Together with BBN’s Executive Board and partner owners, he helps guide and develop the organisation’s vision, strategy and image. His efforts have helped BBN build its brand position as the no. 1 International B2B Agency.