So you work at an agency and you have just been assigned to a B2B account. Perhaps you’re not thrilled about that since there’s no readily recognizable name to put on your résumé, and it's not an account you can brag about to your agency friends at happy hour.
Once you get the initial grumbling out of the way, you should be pleased about all the potential learning opportunities that B2B work offers.
B2B Relationships Are Long-Term
B2B brands typically spend more time, money, and effort to build relationships with their target market. So it makes sense that this type of effort is also put into finding the right agency partner for a B2B brand.
Contract decisions typically take more time, and the clients are thorough in determining how an agency works, who will be working on the account, and what type of results they can expect. But this intense process builds a much stronger relationship and creates more trust -- a great start to any client-agency partnership.
Collective Education Results in Stronger Relationships
Being able to learn from one another strengthens an agency-client relationship in general, but the concept of mutual education is particularly applicable in the agency-B2B brand realm.
Working with fellow marketers and business owners can be an amazing learning experience for agency professionals. For instance, the process of exploring how a business operates, the overall goals, and the specific market challenges can be eye-opening. This knowledge will inform your future work for other brands, regardless of the type of client.
Content creation is a big part of B2B relationships -- in fact, 93% of B2B marketers report using content marketing in the past year. Creating information for a sophisticated market and finding unique ways to reach a niche group of buyers is an exercise in marketing most agency professionals need.
This type of work also creates stronger relationships with the client. The client must educate the agency staff on the particulars of his industry, and the agency team has to take the initiative to truly understand the complicated industry. This exchange of information helps to break down walls and creates a relationship based on communication.
For agency professionals, being able to get the insider perspective of how a B2B client’s business operates can help you become a better and more empathetic marketer (since in a way, all agency work is B2B). Getting an internal view of how a business and brand is created from the ground up is a great experience. Even if you never plan to go client-side, it can help you develop a skill set that will serve you well for other B2B and B2C clients.
What’s more, B2B organizations tend to be quite a bit “flatter” (at least in this writer’s experience), so an outside agency will have more chances to interact with key decision-makers and principals.
For the clients, they get to see the day-to-day workings of the agency, and that can have a positive impact on the way they work with you and other advertisers in the future.
Closer Relationships With Clients
B2B brands and their agencies can create much deeper alliances because of the amount of knowledge shared between teams and the initial vetting of the relationship.
Agency professionals: Rather than grumbling about that B2B assignment, you might consider requesting to work on the account. The depth of knowledge you'll gain from your B2B counterparts is reason enough to jump on the opportunity.
Originally published Nov 4, 2014 2:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017