. The Transom .

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

B2B always isn't

You have probably read a lot lately about the A380 aircraft from Airbus. This double decker airplane can haul up to 853 passengers and is the largest commercial aircraft ever built. Airbus calls it the future of their company and the future of air travel. Designed to help move large amounts of people through congested airports, it is aiming to reduce airport 'clutter' at the gates and in the skies.

Boeing, on the other hand, has come out with the 787 Dreamliner. It's a smaller craft than the A380, but can carry more passengers in a more fuel efficient manner than previous planes. Boeing is betting its future customers want something more like an affordable Dreamliner than a giant A380.

Something else is interesting in the approach of the two companies. Boeing won the marketing game. Boeing called its new plane the Dreamliner. Airbus called it an A380. Which would you rather fly? Boeing set up a highly interactive, informative and entertaining microsite for the Dreamliner (www.newairplane.com). Airbus didn't. Boeing is promoting the craft to consumers as well as airlines and governments. Airbus is only marketing to the potential buyers.

This difference of approach can translate to many other kinds of businesses. For example, in the commercial playground industry, the vast majority of companies market only to the buyers - landscape architects, park directors, hotels, etc. However, recently some of these companies have started to recognize the value of marketing their products to the end consumers. While not directly engaged in the buying process, they are stakeholders and influencers of the buying decision, as well as more loyal customers down the road.

Many so-called B2B companies could benefit from studying Boeing's approach to marketing the Dreamliner and remember the entire scope of stakeholders and influencers, not just the direct buyers.

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