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Back in the late 90s I worked for 3Com, they had 13 divisions, and we even sold external US Robotics modems, yes they did exist. I was lucky I worked for the Palm Division and our directive was to grow market share. The appetite was right in the market and we had a far superior product to the Psion, our only competition at the time. My team travelled from technology event to event and just had to remember four Palm functions; email, notes, contacts and diary plus the USP – you could ‘sync’ your emails, that was it sold, we increased market share to over 60% in the first year, the Palm 3 and then 5 sold themselves, the market was just evolving.

Now let’s move to February 2010. I have a choice to make as I set up my own consultancy business, which mobile phone or device should I buy to suit my business and communication needs? I have used a wide range of devices, obviously the Palm III & V, several base function Nokias, Qualcomm CDMA, Siemens, early model HTCs, e- Series Nokias, Palm Treo and finally the BlackBerry Pearl. Everyone is readily available to give you advice on which device to purchase particularly given the recent change in dynamics of the major players and the devices on offer. For me it came down to a choice of two the iPhone or a BlackBerry Curve.

In the 90s I attended all these trade shows and industry events. Being on the Palm stands for days on end, I cannot tell you how many people (very technical people) I spoke to who had developed apps for the Palm OS, and yes they had to show me how it worked and why it was better than something similar, this was an industry in its own right. You see, the Apple App Store is not a new concept, it’s just that Apple bring products to market that link all aspects of the market from day one. Yes, there may be some technical glitches now and then, but they seem to get it right 99% of the time, hence their massive shift in size and profitability over the past decade.

My point is that as the customer you have the choice and you have helped to shape this market. As B2B marketers, we’re also B2B customers. Boundaries are more blurred than ever before – but that could be an opportunity in itself!

What was my choice in the end? I wanted a business function communication device, not an app hungry entertainment machine, so I chose a BlackBerry Curve.

One response to “B2B marketer as B2B customer – blurred boundary or insightful opportunity?”

  1. Lisa Hutt says:

    I liked a quote at your recent event Andy – To quote Hugh McLeod ‘If you TALKED to people the way advertising TALKED to people, they’d PUNCH you in the face!’ I think as the line blurs, marketers are using their insight as customers to develop much more natural and compelling content.

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