The traditional approach to B2B marketing will no longer cut the mustard, with many companies changing their approach and adopting elements of the b2c model in order to stay ahead of the competition, an expert has claimed.

Simon McEvoy, planning director at Tangent Snowball, argued that the old-fashioned system of direct, down-the-line marketing aimed at forming a close personal relationship with a business customer is no longer effective.

Writing for Brand Republic, he suggested firms with large B2B customer networks are beginning to find this style of advertising ineffective.

“Expectations within the business community have increased. A generation of business owners … have grown up with the sophisticated use of web technology and emotionally charged advertising campaigns,” he declared.

Agencies have also played a major role in encouraging conservative b2b firms to adopt more innovative measures over the last few years, added Mr McEvoy.

Furthermore, the economic downturn over the last few years “has caused the B2B landscape to become incredibly competitive, so businesses are looking for ways to acquire and keep B2B customers which go beyond price or offer-led messaging”.

But what does this mean for companies? How can they develop their approach beyond the old-fashioned remit of linking up with interested customers and integrate elements of b2c marketing into a more complex, modern strategy.

Utilising technology is vital – social media platforms are becoming increasingly important, with b2b customers sourcing goods and services via Twitter and other sites more regularly.

Customer relationship management (CRM) can play a role in this process – not only is it able to link up with social media sites automatically, it also helps firms store the kind of data they need to produce effective, well-targeted marketing campaigns.

According to Mr McEvoy, it’s important that companies think carefully about their brand before embarking on a new style of advertising – after all, what works for one firm might be ineffective for another.