How does building a brand in a business-to-business context different from doing so in the consumer market? When companies market (company A) their products to other business (Company B), they are looking to build a lasting business relationship. Company B is marketing their product and services because they know and understand what the company will need in order to operate more efficiently. When companies make purchases, it is a multi-step process that involves executive decisions and planning, company financial review (depending on the amount of the purchase), and possible sales meetings to offer demonstrations of new products (Business Marketing Association, n.d.). B2B marketing is to convert prospects into customers and build a lasting business relationship; they need to focus on relationship building and communication using marketing activities that generate leads that can be nurtured during the sales cycle (Murphy, 2007).
Marketing to a company can be done through email, webcasting, newsletters, telemarketing, direct mail, and representative follow up services. Companies keep in constant contact with the business in an attempt to keep doing business with them and ensuring that any needs the company may have, they will attempt to meet or exceed. When companies decide to market to consumers, they use a different approach. The majority of the products on the market for consumers are not a necessity; companies have to use creative ways to ensure that consumers will purchase the product. The ultimate goal of B2C marketing is to convert shoppers into buyers as aggressively and consistently as possible (Murphy, 2007). Unlike how companies make decisions, consumers go off their emotions, product eye appeal, prices, discounts, and coupon usage. When consumers decided to make purchases, the buying process starts long before the actual purchase and has consequences long afterwards (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Since consumers make purchase for different reasons than companies, consumers face a higher risk because of factors that may not be in their control. Technology has made marketing easier and even free for some companies.
When companies target consumers, they use social media, blogs, electronic coupons, and customer survey completions that offer winnings. Consumers review the advertisements and see them as a good deal, even if it’s for a product they don’t need. To make the deal even better companies also offer loyalty rewards for frequent shoppers and buyers. Companies combine merchandise and education to consumers to keep the coming back (Murphy, 2007). This marketing technique lets the company know that the customer will return to make purchases and even purchase new products when they come on the market. Business Marketing Association, n.d. Key differences between B2B and consumer marketing. Retrieved from http://www.marketing.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=3418 Kotler. P., Keller, K. L., 2012. Marketing Management (14th ed.). Upper Saddle, NJ: Prentice Hall Murphy, D. 2007, Marketing for B2B vs. B2C similar but different. Retrieved from http://masterful-marketing.com/marketing-b2b-vs-b2c/
Is Cisco’s plan to reach out to consumers a viable one? Why or why not? Cisco’s plan to reach consumers looks like a very viable plan. The company was able to launch a campaign that introduced them to consumers as being able to service not only large companies, but also to everyday consumers. Most consumers may have never thought about wireless capabilities being used within their homes; however Cisco was looking to change that by offering wireless network options to consumers. The “Human Network” campaign tried to humanize the technology giant and the initial results were positive (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Cisco Connected Sports allowed the company to showcase their product in a large venue.
The fans who attended the games were able to see the new technology being used and how the stadium made the devices seem easy to use and navigate. Serious sports fans would be pleased, but the company still needs to think about consumers that do not attend games. The downside of Cisco entering the consumer market is that they had a lot of competition when attempting to market to consumers. While the company does have a viable plan to obtain the customers attention, the downside is that they have to compete with well-known electronic companies.
For instance, vendors such as Samsung Electronics, which have long experience and established brands in that business, can fairly easily add networking to their products; its less likely that companies out of the network and into the living room Lawson, 2013). According to Kotler & Keller, (2012), Cisco’s revenues increased 41 percent from 2006 to 2008, led by sales increases in both home and business use; by the end of 2008, Cisco’s revenue topped 39.5 billion and Business Week ranked it the 18th biggest global brand (p. 57).
Even with the increased revenue, Cisco sold its home networking business to Belkin International; the company plans to fold Linksys’ employee and products into its operations while keeping the Linksys brand alive (Lawson, 2013). Since the sale of Linksys to Belkin, Cisco has once again attempted to enter the consumer market by offering services through a service provider. The essence of Cisco’s business with services providers, where it makes both set-top boxes for homes and back-end infrastructure for content delivery (Lawson, 2013). Cisco could possibly make a comeback into the consumer market and if Cisco wants to be part of that, they will need to market and introduce products that consumers really need and want. Lawson, S., 2013. After selling Linksys, Cisco aims to reach consumers through carriers. Retrieved from
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9236213/After_selling_Linksys_Cisco_aims_to_reach_consumers_through_carriers Kotler. P., Keller, K. L., 2012. Marketing Management (14th ed.). Upper Saddle, NJ: Prentice Hall