Five crucial B2B marketing lessons from General Electric

Stephen Whiteside

Business-to-business marketing is often regarded as the poor relation of its consumer-facing counterpart. But for Beth Comstock, svp/cmo at General Electric, the commonly-held belief that this discipline should be rebranded as "boring-to-boring" falls considerably wide of the mark.

"Our customers are people too. We're all emotional beings. We want context. We want relevance. We want connection," she told delegates at the Masters of Marketing conference, run by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and held in Phoenix, Arizona.

As if proving that industries like aviation, energy, financial services and healthcare can yield inspiring stories and dynamic branding was not sufficiently challenging, GE is also among the largest and oldest corporations in America, which hardly seems to be a promising recipe for cutting-edge marketing. Once again, however, the doubters are not automatically in the right.