'Spread your name, not name your price' if you want to be a player in the business-to-business (B2B) online market, is the conclusion of a new report from consultant Accenture.
According to the report, 80 per cent of corporate buyers put a strong brand and reliable customer service ahead of low prices when using business websites. "A familiar, reputable brand is the single most important buyer preference by a wide margin," the report states.
Stephen Dull, the Accenture partner behind the report, commented: "The findings were counter-intuitive to the idea that price matters first. You can't compete in B2B if your only differentiator is price. Focusing your attention on the customers is where companies will rise above the noise."
The Dull report also criticises the design and marketing of B2B websites, saying that user satisfaction ratings from corporate buyers fell below that given to online retailers by consumers, and that while e-tailers have wasted billions of dollars in over-marketing to consumers, those targeting corporate business are under spending.
Mark Wolfe, a partner at Accenture, said: "B2B is still in its infancy. Imagine if industrial marketers spent half as much effort as their business-to-consumer counterparts in creating a rewarding online experience for their customers. The adoption of ecommerce would sky rocket."
"The numbers speak for themselves as to the role marketing plays and, more importantly, the price that this blind spot is costing companies in untapped opportunities, not to mention efficiencies," he added.
The report predicts that the US market for B2B could surge to $2.5tn by 2004 if businesses continue to adopt online purchasing technologies at the current rate.
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