Michael Richards is CEO and chief growth officer marketing agency alan. He can be reached at michael.richards@alan-agency.com.

Business-to-business marketing is boring.

This isn’t new information. So why aren’t B2B marketers doing something about it?

Accenture Strategy’s B2B Customer Experience 2017 study fired a warning shot to the industry when it revealed that 71% of B2B customers increasingly want a B2C-like experience, with 49% of B2B executives admitting their failure to deliver the experience their customers desired most. In the six years since the report, discontent amongst B2B’s audience has only grown.

A recent report, The Power of Provocation, by B2B marketing agency alan., conducted with U.K.-based B2B business leaders, reveals that 82% find B2B marketing boring, predictable and repetitive, with 88% yearning for marketers to take a bolder, contrarian and more provocative approach to their work. 

Historically, marketers might have argued that the barriers to more vibrant and emotionally-driven B2B marketing were harder to cross. Stakeholder fear meant that the B2B industry adopted a conservative and risk-averse culture in which brand-building exercises were frowned upon, believing it was all about the transaction and closing the sale rather than about eliciting an emotional response. But our report reveals that times have changed.

The surveyed business leaders acknowledge the risk aversion and the brand-building hesitancy but believe that it’s marketing’s responsibility to push those boundaries. Some 91% want marketers to become accountable for educating businesses on brand-building and 90% want marketers to step up and tackle the stagnant culture of risk aversion themselves. The ball is in marketers’ court to kick-start a business-to-business marketing revolution. So what strategies can be implemented to rectify the situation?

The lessons can be learned from B2C. ...