The Changing World of B2B Marketing

A New Start

To comment upon my experience of the changing world of B2B marketing, I think it’s best to start at the beginning – 2006.

One of the first questions that Philip Allott MD at B2B marketing experts Allott and Associates asked me at my interview was would I be there for the long haul! I had worked for seven years from leaving school at the then British Rail followed by 25 years with the Press Association (PA) so I said I had staying power.

But I couldn’t predict a longevity that encompassed a banking crisis, the London Olympics, Brexit, a worldwide pandemic, the death of The Queen, the crowning of a new King, the rise of social media and a war in Europe. After the staying power question Philip then asked me to spell the word accommodate! I got the job.

man buttoning his blazer

So, in August 2006 I joined the company as an office assistant and had to learn about ACT! I thought this was something you did on a theatre stage but of course it’s the software bible for holding data and circulating messages to the media or market on behalf of our clients. This has hardly changed during my time but a lot of things have.

Heavy Lifting a Thing of the Past

When I started mail shots involved printing the letter, filling envelopes making sure the address fitted the window, stamping and placing them – which could be hundreds – in Royal Mail bags and then carrying them for 150 yards to the local post office for delivery. A time-consuming task that thankfully can be done by electronic means with tracking tools to gauge interest. Saving trees as well as the soaring cost of postage.

Instead of circulating and filling mail bags amongst other duties my role changed in 2007 when Philip asked if he could tap into my journalistic instinct to cultivate a good story! Another chapter in my career was being written as I joined the writing team.

Green Agenda

This coincided with things looking decidedly dodgy due to the global economic meltdown in the late noughties. But the company proved resilient and pulled through just as the environmental agenda began to hot up. Sustainability is a buzz word now but there was a time when it was rarely mentioned when promoting clients’ products.

Nearly every editorial needs to shout out an environmental angle whether its sustainable, eco-friendly or reduced carbon footprint – usually all three. Surprisingly, the word ‘pollution’ seems to be used less when describing damage to the planet.

The Changing World of B2B Marketing

Another significant milestone is the ongoing rise of social media platforms. The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Instagram and YouTube have become important players and changed the dynamic of B2B PR and marketing. Influencing, connecting with and engaging people has never been more instantaneous or easy.

Allotts has a dedicated social media team as part of a multi-channel strategy to help build strong brand awareness for its clients. Terms such as followers, impressions, posts and clicks are an everyday part of the office language.

conference call on a laptop

Communicating your message would also often involve travelling miles for client meetings or pitching for work. Not necessary to go on the road now! Mobile devices and the 2020 pandemic paved the way for the likes of Zoom, Teams and Skype meaning you didn’t have to navigate the M62 to get from A to B. This can be done with a laptop/phone from the comfort of the office or even from your own home.

Changes for the Agency

Meeting technology also played a part in changing the agency’s demography. When I joined there were no overseas companies on the firm’s books. By 2022 around 50% of our client base is global. This includes businesses based in Australia, Holland, Germany, Israel and the USA. We started winning more overseas work after Brexit – just saying!

Allotts has evolved with the times but what does the future hold? Looking into my crystal ball could it be a case of artificial intelligence vs human intelligence. Does AI threaten human autonomy? I don’t think we’ll see a robot revolution at Allotts any time soon but who knows?

Au Revoir, Adios, Arrivederci

I think there will always be a place for conventional channels to spread the word. Clients still like that human touch, to see their name in print as well as on digital media. After a career spanning 50 years, my time is up so if robots do take over the madhouse I shall be long gone into the sunset. It’s been 16 eventful years with Allotts and I wouldn’t swap the experience for anything. Now for something completely different!

Gary at his retirement party