Since Internet disrupted the world, everything has changed. Everything from culture, purchasing activity, leisure, labour, as far as supply-chain design. Being in the fourth industrial revolution, changes are coming in an exponential way (Schwab, K., 2016) hence most of the companies tries to be updated about digital trends. Though, before knowing what the new trend is bringing and applying its features to our business, it is already out-to-dated. Therefore, what is the solution to be competitive? Nowadays, companies invest more than ever in R&D to drive that innovation (Schwab, K., 2016), not to try adapt their business to that disruption. The problem arises when a company does not see the future in the eyes of technology and even worse, when a company does not see the presence of it in present days. Senior managers without academic backgrounds tend to reject the idea of how the technological impact is changing their traditional market (Martinez, A., 2017).
As a reference company, Grauvell is a enterprise founded in 1966 in Barcelona. They have been working in sport fishing market for more than 50 years, being one of the leaders in the national perspective. Numbers were fantastic for many years, having massive growth but crisis came and sales decreased as well as the economic purchase power from the Spanish society (Franquera Artés, R., 2017). The sector then faced a price war fight in which many companies went bankrupt. Therefore, reducing margins was the only possible competitive advantage to make business in this market (Martinez, A.",, 2017). Moreover, differentiation like customer service or high quality services didn’t convince the customer as before, clients were more price-sensitive. Due to that, companies like Grauvell whose goal is “[...] to offer the most complete and quality assortment to all fishermen..” (Official Webpage Grauvell, 2017), understood that their business strategy needed to be changed. Low-cost firms were included in Grauvell’s portfolio and also an asset divestment started. Even though it helped to survive in a short to medium term, competition had being strengthened and now they’re searching for another strategy to be followed.
Spanish sport fishing distributors like Sports Pamies have Grauvell as one of the leaders in the market (Pamies, J., 2017), so the issue is not domestic consolidation, which is to buy the competition to be one of the first ones. Other tactics as international growth is a reality that they implementing, but they want to go beyond it, why not to sell Spanish final clients instead of only to distributors? Furthermore, becoming the competition of your distributors is not the most wonderful option, but what if it is the last one? A “win or die” situation was generated. Hence, can technology be the problem but also the disruptive solution?
Firstly, online exposure in B2B companies is growing. B2B marketing is less known than B2C one and channel conflict plays an important role here. It is true that making a marketing plan for B2C and B2B companies can vary approaches, the available tools are the same ones but not the way using them. Although, it doesn’t matter what type of company you are, you must exploit digital marketing benefits. (Miller, M., 2012). The truth is that “the 90% of all supply chain transactions are B2B” (Amrouche, N & Yan, R., , 2007). So companies should benefit from it because there are two reasons that many authors confirm: your competitor is doing it or is thinking about it and you customer expect from you to do it (Miller, M., 2012). Moreover, looking at trends, online shopping in USA surprised 14% but traditional didn’t exceed 1.9% in 2010 (Amrouche, N & Yan, R., , 2007). Also, in US there were more stores closed in 2017 than in 2008, more than 6800 stores where closed in 2017 and around 6010 where the crisis hit.(Adwords Help Center, 2017)
Secondly, preferences have changed and technology can track them. An study was made by Michael Johnson in 2013 regarding the shared elements that different B2B companies from four different industries had in common in their success in their path of shopping digitalization (Johnson, M., 2013). After 58 in-depth interviews with players in all the supply chain, Michael Johnson verified that “critical mass, integration issues, value proposition, and leadership participation” are the key factors for success in all of the industries. Moreover, “industry knowledge, revenue model, branding and reputation, and rich content” were successful factors in 3 of the 4 industries. Having these factors under consideration, entrepreneurs can make their business models under these premises. Also, managers of established business will use this information if they want to enter to online-shopping and need to strengthen their core areas. Moreover, “value proposition” being more relevant in all of the four industries than “industry knowledge” can provide to the B2B company an idea of how a strategy should be focus. Nowadays is not how much do you know nor how well is your revenue strategy based nor how much market share do you have, today the customer want services based on uniqueness (value proposition), an interactive company which you can provide feedback or ask for help (leadership participation), flexibility and creativity (integration issues) and a company that knows exactly to who are targeting (critical mass). Hence, competition can be eliminated if a B2B company knows exactly “how to do it” not “what should be provided”. For example, "How to do it" can be known through Big Data information, trends are tracked with programs such as Google Analytics, product based on your e-commerce's data.
Thirdly, SEM strategy is becoming key to create brand awareness. For example, Grauvell's SEM strategy could contain a Google Shopping campaign, so an excel should be created under Google specifications to upload all the products into the system with pictures to be projected in the Google’s marketplace. Due to the reason that Grauvell will have really competitive prices because of B2B margins, being in this marketplace will place them in a really good position comparing with other enterprises. Secondly, a "Search Network with Display Select" campaign can be done to increase the amount of times "Grauvell" word appear in search queries linked with sport fishing products' pursuit. Thirdly, "Display Network only" campaigns are “the best ones if you'd like to show ads on websites and apps when your keywords are related to the sites' content.” (Adwords Help Center, 2017). These ads will be added in Placements that we should include as our target like fishing blogs, sport fishing associations and sport newspapers. An example can be Marca newspaper in Spain, the most read one in the country.
Therefore, these three examples of why synchronization with technology is a common topic but the solution is easier than thought, show that there are options. Managers should be open-minded and rely on all the benefits the new commerce world has. At the beginning, it will be a high investment, but ROI will be less abstract than offline marketing because of the tracking numbers. Hence, technology is more and more a personalized system and this will bring support and delusion to managers and marketing specialist beginners to achieve sales growth, brand awareness, track trends or other competitive/ corporate strategies. Technology was the problem for traditional companies but this has to change. As explained above, technology tools are also the disruptive solutions for unconfortable situations.