"This is what makes economies tick"

Our next BESU instructor, Peter Naudé, is bringing a very special topic to our summer university. Let’s have a look what fascinates him about it!

– What exactly is Business-to-Business Marketing?

Working for a leading consumer brand might be the glamorous side of marketing, the stuff we read about in the newspapers, but it is business-to-business (B2B) marketing that makes the world go round. These are all the many thousands on transactions made between companies, rather than between a retailer and you as a consumer. Think about a motor car: it is just one sale made to a customer but there are hundreds and hundreds of items that the car manufacturer had to buy in order to make that car – it is these kinds of transactions that we will focus on.

Why study B2B Marketing?

The short answer is, because that is where the jobs are! If you want to go into a job in industry, you will necessarily be involved in B2B marketing, either as a supplier to other businesses, or you might be on the other side – buying products or services from other companies. So it is important that we focus on both sides of the process – both the selling side and the buying side. 

– How is B2B Marketing different to normal, consumer marketing?

I think that it is important to understand that it is sometimes highly similar to consumer marketing, but sometimes it is also very, very different. It is quite normal to find that a company has just a few customers – in extreme instances, they might have just one customer! If this is the case, you quickly realise how important that relationship with the customer is – you lose that one customer, and you may well go out of business. So, in these cases, you really have to develop an understanding of what drives the quality of the relationship between two companies.  

– How did you end up as a Lecturer in Marketing?

It was in search of a quiet life really! – my first job after graduating (from University of Cape Town) was as a management consultant. But I found I was travelling 5 or 6 days a week, and as someone who was newly married, that really did not suit us, so I returned to UCT as a lecturer. I eventually ending up in Manchester. But at the last count I think I have taught in about 20 different countries, so somehow the travelling still continues!

– What will the course cover?

I want to mix things up a bit: we will use a combination of traditional lectures, case studies, and group presentations. My overriding message is that I believe that the astute B2B marketing executive needs to have three very different views of what marketing entails, and to appreciate when to use which of those.