Making a Case for B2B Marketing

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Making a Case for B2B Marketing

- By Ramesh Karki

B2B marketing should be seen not as a cost centre, but as a strategic investment that fuels growth.

The digital landscape of Nepal is experiencing a remarkable transformation. From bustling tech startups to established software development companies, Nepali businesses are brimming with talent and potential. According to the 2023 IIDS (Institute for Informatics and Development Studies) report, the number of IT businesses in Nepal has grown by a staggering 35% in the last three years. This surge is accompanied by a thriving pool of skilled IT professionals, with estimates suggesting a 20% year-on-year increase in qualified IT graduates. These statistics paint a clear picture: Nepal's digital sector is poised for a global breakout. This flourishing digital ecosystem in Nepal presents a unique opportunity: the potential to compete on the international stage. Nepali businesses possess the technical prowess and skilled workforce necessary to deliver high-quality digital services across various industries. 

From web development companies crafting cutting-edge user experiences to software development firms building innovative solutions, Nepali digital businesses are prepared to make their mark in the global marketplace. However, translating this potential into international success requires more than just technical expertise. Many businesses still primarily rely on personal networks and word-of-mouth referrals to acquire clients. While this approach can be effective for securing initial projects, it presents a significant barrier to scalability and international expansion.

Network-based growth has limitations – It restricts access to a broader pool of potential clients, particularly those located in lucrative western markets. This, in turn, hinders the ability of Nepali businesses to compete with established international players who deploy strategic marketing techniques. Even more critical, network-based growth deprives Nepali companies of the crucial skills necessary to attract new customers systematically. By shifting to a B2B marketing engine, businesses can develop these skills and establish a predictable, consistent process for acquiring new clients thereby forming the very foundation for sustainable growth.

Cost Center vs Strategic Investment

Further hindering international expansion is the misconception that B2B marketing is a mere ‘cost centre’ – an expense with little to no return on investment. This outdated perspective fails to recognise the immense power of B2B marketing as a strategic investment. 

By neglecting B2B marketing strategies, Nepali businesses are missing out on the opportunity to build a brand, create brand awareness, generate high-quality leads from target markets and foster strong client relationships – all crucial ingredients for sustainable international growth. Viewing B2B marketing solely through a financial lens underestimates its transformative power. Western companies across diverse digital industries have demonstrably harnessed the power of B2B marketing to achieve international success. Some of the examples are listed below:

• HubSpot, a leader in marketing automation software, utilises a content marketing powerhouse strategy. Their blog, offering valuable insights and educational materials, is a go-to resource for businesses of all sizes. This not only establishes HubSpot as a thought leader but also generates a steady stream of qualified leads from international markets. 

• Stripe, a leading fintech giant, uses targeted content marketing campaigns to educate potential clients worldwide about their innovative payment processing solutions. 

• Amazon Web Services (AWS), a cloud computing leader, actively participates in major international conferences and trade shows, showcasing their expertise and building brand recognition amongst a global audience. 

• Canva, an Australian user-friendly design platform, is a prime example of how B2B marketing can work for smaller players. Canva leverages social media marketing brilliantly, creating engaging tutorials and design templates specifically targeted towards international audiences. This strategy not only builds brand awareness but also attracts potential B2B clients who can benefit from Canva's design solutions for their own marketing needs.

These diverse examples illustrate the versatility of B2B marketing strategies. Whether it is through thought leadership content, industry-specific outreach or creative social media engagement, B2B marketing empowers businesses of all sizes to reach a global audience and achieve international success. The traditional perception that B2B marketing is merely a cost centre needs to be changed. Instead, it should be viewed as a strategic investment that fuels international expansion and brand building. By harnessing the power of B2B marketing, Nepali businesses can transcend their reliance on personal networks, unlock international growth and establish themselves as key players in the global B2B marketplace.

Why B2B Marketing is Seen as a Cost Centre

Frequently viewed as a department that burns through budgets without delivering tangible results, B2B marketing is relegated to the dreaded cost centre category. This perception, however, is not only inaccurate but also detrimental to a company's long-term success. In reality, strategic B2B marketing is a powerful investment that fuels growth, generates leads and fosters lasting customer relationships. However, several factors contribute to the misconception of B2B marketing as a cost centre.

Difficulty in Demonstrating ROI: One of the biggest hurdles for B2B marketing is the lack of clear metrics for measuring success. Unlike tangible products, the impact of marketing initiatives can be multifaceted and spread across various touchpoints in the complex B2B buyer journey. B2B sales cycles are often complex and lengthy, involving multiple decision-makers, making it challenging to attribute revenue directly to specific marketing campaigns. Traditional metrics like website traffic or downloads, while valuable, often fail to impress executives seeking a clear picture of marketing's financial impact.

Short-Term vs Long-Term Vision: B2B marketing success hinges on a long-term vision. Building brand awareness, nurturing leads and fostering relationships take time. However, pressure to deliver quick results can often shift focus towards short-term tactics with limited impact. Flashy campaigns may generate a temporary buzz, but they fail to build a sustainable pipeline of qualified leads. This disconnect between short-term goals and long-term strategic objectives weakens the overall marketing effectiveness.

Silos and Misalignment Between Departments: In many organisations, marketing operates as an isolated entity, disconnected from other departments like sales and customer service. This lack of collaboration creates inefficiencies and hinders the overall customer experience. Sales teams may be unaware of latest marketing initiatives, leading to difficulties in qualifying leads effectively. Similarly, customer service may struggle to address issues arising from inaccurate or misleading marketing messages. This siloed approach prevents marketing from aligning its efforts with the broader business goals and creates friction with other critical departments.

Unclear Marketing Values: Justifying marketing spend often boils down to a war of words. Without clear metrics and a data-driven approach, showcasing the true value proposition of marketing initiatives becomes an uphill climb. The lack of quantifiable evidence to demonstrate how marketing activities contribute to sales pipeline growth, brand awareness and ultimately, revenue, makes it difficult to secure the necessary resources and budget for impactful marketing strategies.

Transforming B2B Marketing into a Strategic Investment

Globally, companies are shifting from marketing and sales working in isolation to a unified revenue engine. The rise of the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) role, who often leads both marketing and sales, exemplifies this trend. Marketing and sales are now collectively accountable for a shared goal: driving both retention and net new customer revenue. This alignment emphasises the importance of integrating marketing into the overall revenue generation strategy. This transformation is even more critical for Nepali companies aiming to compete in the competitive international market. However, shifting to a strategic B2B marketing approach requires a fundamental change in mindset. This new perspective positions B2B marketing as a revenue engine, driving long-term growth through strategic planning, data-driven decision making and measurable results. By viewing B2B marketing as a strategic investment, companies can establish a competitive advantage, build brand awareness and ultimately generate a consistent pipeline of qualified leads. 

Aligning Marketing with Business Goals

The foundation of a successful B2B marketing strategy lies in alignment. Marketing objectives must be clearly defined and directly tied to the overall business goals, whether it is increasing revenue by x percent, expanding market share in a specific region or building brand awareness within a new target audience. This alignment ensures marketing is not operating in a vacuum but rather working in tandem with the broader business strategy. Establishing clear marketing objectives not only provides direction but also ensures accountability. By developing a data-driven marketing strategy with measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), businesses can track progress and make informed decisions. These KPIs could include website traffic growth segmented by target audience, lead generation rate from marketing campaigns or brand mentions in relevant publications. By establishing clear KPIs, marketing can demonstrate its contribution to tangible business outcomes, fostering a results-oriented mindset and gaining the buy-in of key stakeholders.

Building Strong Relationships with Sales

A strong relationship between marketing and sales is paramount for B2B success. Unfortunately, all too often these two departments operate in silos, creating inefficiencies and hindering the customer experience. Implementing a Service Level Agreement (SLA) helps define clear expectations and responsibilities for both teams. This agreement might outline lead qualification criteria, response times for sales inquiries and service level expectations for lead handoff between marketing and sales. Building strong relationships goes beyond the SLA. Developing lead nurturing programs allows marketing to continue engaging leads after their initial interaction. This nurturing process educates leads about the company's offerings, addresses their pain points and positions the brand as a trusted advisor. By the time leads are qualified and passed on to sales, they are more informed and sales cycles can be shortened, leading to increased conversion rates.

Embracing Data & Analytics

In today's digital age, data is the currency of marketing. Marketing automation tools are no longer a luxury; they are a necessity. These tools allow for efficient campaign tracking, capturing valuable data on customer behaviour, website visits, content engagement and email opens. This wealth of data can be leveraged to personalise customer experiences. For instance, website visitors who show interest in a specific product can be presented with targeted ads or retargeting campaigns. Similarly, email marketing efforts can be segmented based on customer demographics or past interactions, ensuring the delivery of relevant content that resonates with individual recipients. The power of data does not stop at campaign optimisation. Regularly reporting on marketing ROI, presented in a clear and concise manner, is crucial for demonstrating the value marketing brings to the table. Reports should showcase how marketing activities contribute to sales pipeline growth, brand awareness and, ultimately, revenue generation. This transparency fosters trust and empowers B2B marketers to advocate for increased resources and budget allocation, allowing them to execute impactful strategic initiatives.

Championing Innovative Tactics

To truly thrive in today's B2B landscape, traditional marketing tactics will not suffice. There is a need to embrace innovative channels like content marketing (blogs, white papers, guides, etc) to establish thought leadership and social media to foster two-way engagement. Additionally, offensive tactics like Account-Based Marketing (ABM) to target high-value accounts for maximum ROI must be leveraged. Further, it is necessary to solidify the brand through industry expertise (conferences, publications) and by showcasing positive customer experiences (testimonials, reviews). This comprehensive approach transforms B2B marketing from a cost centre to a strategic investment driving significant growth.

B2B Marketing for a Developing Nation like Ours

Developing nations face unique challenges in the global B2B market. Inconsistent branding, limited industry recognition and a lack of established connections with international clients create a significant competitive disadvantage. Traditional marketing strategies often fall short in this dynamic landscape.

However, B2B marketing offers a powerful solution. By embracing digital innovation, localising strategies, and leveraging data-driven insights, companies can overcome these hurdles. B2B marketing goes beyond just tactics. Studies show it strengthens seven key capabilities crucial for developing markets – branding, pricing, communication, customer relationships, internal collaboration and market alignment. Tailored B2B strategies help businesses address these areas effectively and connect with international prospects.

Furthermore, B2B marketing fosters an understanding of cultural nuances in Western markets. Unlike Eastern traditions that value conformity, Western consumers prioritise individualism, innovation and self-expression. Staying updated on customer insights and market trends allows businesses to localise their approach while maintaining brand essence. This agility and adaptability are key to success in the global B2B arena.


Not everything costly is necessarily a cost especially when it has the potential to drive revenue for the business. B2B marketing is a strategic investment that unlocks a competitive advantage. Businesses that allocate more budget and leverage marketing tend to experience higher revenue and sales growth compared to those that do not. By embracing digital innovation, data-driven decision making and localised strategies, companies can overcome limitations and thrive in the global B2B market.

The strengths of B2B marketing can be leveraged to grow faster and more efficiently, with measurable ROI. By investing in strategic marketing approaches, Nepali businesses can unlock their full potential and leave their mark on the world stage.

B2B marketing is not just an expense – it is Nepal’s passport to international success. 

(Karki is a Co-Founder at Korifi B2B - Nepal’s first full-service B2B Marketing Agency)

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