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Blurring of Lines: B2B eCommerce and consumer marketing automation in the Marketing Nation

Steve Susina • April 9, 2015

marketo 2015

While much of the eCommerce world will be turning its attention to Las Vegas over the next two weeks for the Demandware XChange and Magento Imagine conferences, one of the more interesting alternate destinations will be San Francisco, where the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit will take place.

Marketo?  Isn’t that Marketing Automation? That software that B2B tech firms use to generate leads?  What does that have to do with the world of eCommerce?

Well one of the trends that has clearly emerged over the past 18 months is a blurring of lines between B2C eCommerce and B2B marketing automation.  I’ll be spending next week in San Francisco attending my 4th Marketo summit, and I’ve seen this particular event grow from several hundred attendees to this year’s expected gathering of more than 6,000 marketers.

But what I’m most interested in seeing this year is just how much the lines of distinction between marketing automation and eCommerce have blurred.

Merging of Marketing Automation and eCommerce

B2C marketers—especially retailers and branded manufactures–are well established with approaches for their eCommerce initiatives.  However, it’s only been in the past 18 months that their interest in marketing automation has picked up.  I first noticed the signposts at the IRCE and conferences last year, as companies like Sliverpop, Oracle Marketing Cloud (Eloqua), (Pardot) and Marketo started to exhibit, network and engage with the commerce-centric audience.  The conference brochure included sessions on personalization, triggered messaging and customer engagement.

In addition, Marketo has recognized consumer brands and is adopting its technology, reserving two Revvie categories—their revenue performance awards—specifically for consumer marketers: The Consumer Marketing Team of the Year and Innovator in Consumer Business

The Consumerization of B2B

B2B marketing is moving from the opposite space and direction. Modern marketing automation platforms got their start primarily serving B2B (and especially tech) firms, who have recently upped their interest in all things eCommerce.  This is evident in a new report from Internet Retailer magazine, which predicts that B2B eCommerce is on a path to reach $1 trillion in annual transaction value in 2015, which will double in the next five years.  If you needed more proof, look to SAP’s eCommerce brand hybris, which is a titanium level sponsor at the Marketo conference.

And the emergence of B2B eCommerce will be the focus of a session I’ll be presenting at the Marketo Summit, on April 14th at 2:00 PDT.  The Rise of B2B eCommerce: How Marketing Automation and the Consumerization of B2B Change Marketing

Key takeaways include:

  • An understanding of the B2B ecommerce market, including market size, competitive trends and changing buyer behavior
  • How Marketo can be used to facilitate not just top-of-funnel information distribution, but increase commercial transactions
  • How to build a strong business case for launching a B2B eCommerce website
  • The design and taxonomy elements that B2B firms should borrow from successful consumer ecommerce websites
  • Business models for B2B eCommerce, including wholesale distribution, retail replenishment, and online product catalog replacement.

If you’re headed to San Francisco, I hope you’ll stop by for my session.

Sessions for B2C and eCommerce

Finally, putting on my eCommerce hat, I’ve looked through the agenda for sessions that prove to be particularly useful for the B2C eCommerce marketer looking for marketing automation solutions.  Here are six that look interesting:

  • A Facebook View of Personalized marketing at Scale
    Adam New-Waterson of BloomReach; Favi Adusmumilli of Facebook, and Vidya Chadaga of Marketo; April 15, 3;30 PM
  • The Customer-First Imperative: Success in an Omni-Channel World
    Emily Reagan, Bazaarvoice; April 14th at 11:40 AM
  • Transformative B2C Marketing Through Brand Activation and Consumer Nurturing
    John Common of Intelligent Demand; Lawrence Montgomery and Steve Krizman of Kaiser Permanente; April 14th at 4:30pm
  • Black Magic: How to Start Building Long-Term Consumer Relationships with Marketing Automation
    Cassie Matcham of Comvita; April 14th at 3:00 PM
  • An Integrated Journey: How 3 Day Blinds Connects Anonymous Advertising to Marketing Automation
    Dan Williams of 3 Day Blinds and Maureen Little of Turn; April 14th at 1PM
  • Turbo Charge Your Marketing with Contextual Marketing
    Rosa Hu, SAP hybris; April 15th at 4:30 PM

An electrical engineer by education and marketer by choice, Steve Susina uses data and analytics to help firms generate demand, establish thought leadership and strengthen the company brand. He currently serves as Marketing Director for Lyons Consulting Group (LYONSCG), a full-service eCommerce digital agency. He is a Marketo Certified Expert with more than five years experience using marketing automation.

Steve Susina

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Steve Susina

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