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Marketing in many B2B firms is often lackadaisical at best. However, B2B marketing does not and should not be halfhearted, especially in today’s digital, customer-driven marketing environment. B2B companies that achieve marketing excellence are better positioned to outperform competitors because they put customers first, create strategic alliances, and are value and outcome-driven.


“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” – Peter Drucker


What is Marketing Excellence?

Reaching excellence in marketing is a process of implementing marketing best practices where the firm delivers exceptional value to customers, vendors, and other stakeholders. The Marketing Excellence Review chart below shows the best practices for achieving excellence in marketing. The table also identifies two other areas of marketing performance that a B2B company may fall within, poor and good marketing practice.

According to Phillip Kotler, considered the father of modern marketing, organizational management must examine their marketing processes in relation to the review chart. They create a marketing profile based on determining where they think the business stands on each review list line. In areas where the company falls short of excellence, the business leaders can make changes that help the firm become an outstanding player in their industry. 


Product drivenMarket DrivenMarket Driving
Mass-market orientedSegment-orientedNiche-oriented and customer-oriented
Product offerAugmented product offerCustomer solutions offer
Average product qualityBetter than average product qualityLegendary product quality
Average service qualityBetter than average service qualityLegendary service quality
End-product orientedCore-product orientedCore-competency oriented
Function orientedProcess orientedOutcome oriented
Reacting to competitiorsBenchmarking competitiorsLeapfrogging competitors
Supplier exploitationSupplier preferenceSupplier partnership
Dealer exploitationDealer supportDealer partnership
Price drivenQuality drivenValue driven
Average speedBetter than average speedLegendary speed
Vertically integratedFlattened organizationStrategic alliance
Stockholder drivenStakeholder drivenSocietally driven


The Takeaway

Marketing excellence is an achievable marketing goal. It requires management to understand where they currently are in terms of marketing proficiency, identify areas for improvement, then develop and execute a strategy to reach excellence. 

Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, stated, “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” If you are not marketing and not innovating, your competitors will eventually outpace you.

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