B2B and tech brands: if you have a visionary, put us in the picture

Everybody thinks they work in technology. Supermarket Tesco is the latest non-technology brand to announce that it will create its own “aggressively priced” smartphone this year, which it claims will rival the Samsung Galaxy S5.


This move follows Tesco’s entry into the tablet market with its Hudl device, which at £119 sits at the lower specification end of the sector. The difference with the Tesco smartphone is that the brand hopes to compete at the higher end of the market, with Samsung and Apple.

It’s not just Tesco innovating in the technology area. Even budget store chain Aldi has moved into the tablet business. Each retailer loads their devices with their own apps and services, offering an increasing number of ways to reach their customers.

But what about innovation at the technology firms themselves? Last week, Marketing Week launched its Vision 100 in association with Adobe, a list of the marketers and business leaders who are changing and shaping the industry. It was notable that while many of them were mastering digital marketing and transformation, they worked for a wide variety of brands in every sector.

Technology firms and business-to-business marketers were under-represented on the Vision 100 list (see letter on page 8). Is that because these firms are devoid of vision?

I seriously doubt it. But what is clear is that these individuals are not being put forward by their brands or talking loudly enough about their successes. Or the global corporate structures are so complex that it is difficult to spot the standout individual if there is one.

Although there are a few marketers with B2B responsibility in the Vision 100, as well as technology firms (Facebook, for example) they were among the very few names from that sector who were cited to Marketing Week by their peers as visionary. And some of them are better known for their business-to-consumer work, even if they are doing a lot of B2B activity.

We see the same phenomenon in our Marketing Week Engage Awards in association with YouGov. This year, the selection of entries from B2B brands for the awards are in the minority. So we too are asking if the expertise and influence of fantastic B2B marketers is being missed. We’re keen to make sure that we do hear about those individuals in future (see page 18 for a feature on the changing B2B landscape). So if you think we should know about amazing B2B brands, people and innovations, do get in touch. We already know that visionaries come from all different backgrounds, so please surprise us.

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