ANA panel: B-to-b marketers should lose 'marketing speak'

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New York—B-to-b marketing executives eager to more effectively communicate their brand's attributes must make sure "not to speak marketing speak," said Diane Brink, VP- worldwide integrated marketing communications at IBM Corp.

Brink made the comment Tuesday at the Association of National Advertisers Brand Innovation Forum in New York during a panel session titled "Brand Innovation in the B-to-B World."

Brink, who talked about IBM's efforts to transform its brand from that of a company that for years had been known as a computer manufacturer to one now known as a provider of a full suite of business services, said marketing executives need to ask themselves three questions before embarking on a branding campaign: Is the need relevant? Is the capability being communicated available? Do sellers and partners understand what the company is attempting to communicate?

"To identify opportunities you have to see the world from a customer perspective and develop strategies from that effort," Brink added.

Sally Robling, CMO of American Standard Cos., touched upon b-to-b companies' efforts to improve lead generation sales. "You have to be flexible during the sales process and have the ability to walk away from leads that aren't attractive," she said.

Ellis Booker, editor of BtoB, moderated the panel discussion.

—Matthew Schwartz

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