For many of Stuart Clarke’s business-to-business clients, communications is not a first priority. For instance, with engineering or defense-driven companies like Airbus and BAE Systems, the allocation of advertising funds falls way behind investment in technology, infrastructure, and the like. Nonetheless, Clarke, international account director, MPG, London, forges ahead and helps them succeed with advertising that works. His biggest ally, not to mention why the clients keep coming up with more budgets, is ROI metrics. Not only do they demonstrate results, but they work well with the b-to-b mindset. Clarke works to demonstrate the accountable benefits of a marketing strategy while underscoring how innovation in various effective channels can create a positive change in perception.
This often requires additional funding for research, but clients now see how investing in advertising can achieve real value for the brand and for public companies their share price. Clarke is paying much attention to two key trends to gauge their impact on business-to-business issues:
(1) the constant development of new digital technology and (2) the move from mainstream to social media.Airbus is now spending 15% of its budget in online advertising while also investing substantially so that its own Web site is a “proper shop front,” in Clarke’s words. Clarke jokes that few young people enter this industry with a great calling to do business-to-business marketing since the principal allure is the glamor and creativity of consumer advertising. But, for him the specialization of b-to-b is engrossing, and he gets tremendous satisfaction from establishing best practices.