Success in marketing always requires the ability to overcome challenges. That's as true in the B2C arena as it is in the B2B world. However, B2B marketers face numerous challenges that their B2C counterparts do not. B2B products are often highly complex, buying-decision chains involve more people, customer bases are narrower, and purchase cycles are longer. At the same time, business-serving industries like technology and consulting services are crowded with participants and extremely competitive.

"For B2C marketers, emotion still drives purchase, and tuning your message to deliver peak emotional potential for your audience can have an impact that's quantifiable quickly," says Kevin Nabipour, partner and managing director of content strategies at Allison+Partners, a global marketing communications agency. "For B2B, however, nurturing cycles are long, and ROI takes time to cook."

What's more, the marketing function at many B2B organizations is not always the driving force it could be, thanks to a misalignment with sales.