From B2C to B2B – Navigating the Marketing Spectrum in a Digital Age
Smarter GTM 12.13.2023

From B2C to B2B – Navigating the Marketing Spectrum in a Digital Age

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In this episode of Sunny Side Up, Kelly Hopping interviews Jane Lee on her transition from B2C to B2B marketing. Jane discusses the significance of a strong brand as a sustainable competitive advantage, the necessity of aligning brand position with company vision, and the importance of building brand equity and customer connections. Jane emphasises adapting marketing strategies to support overall business goals, aligning them with sales objectives, and focusing on processes that lead to measurable outcomes. Jane also shares her experience during the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for rapidly adaptable marketing strategies in crises. Lastly, we discuss the shift from B2C to B2B marketing regarding data strategies, emphasising the value of direct customer data. 


About the Guest

Jane Gasparian Lee is the Managing Director of B2B Marketing at United Airlines. She leads the United for Business marketing strategy and B2B product development. Prior to joining United Airlines, Jane worked for 10+ years in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry at PepsiCo.  Most recently, she led the product innovation team at Quaker Foods, developing a robust innovation pipeline to drive category growth.  During her time at PepsiCo, she also launched a healthy snacks portfolio for the Chinese market.

Connect with Jane Lee

Key Takeaways

  • A robust and well-defined brand is a key sustainable competitive advantage in any market.
  • Clearly define your brand’s position and ensure alignment with the company vision.
  • Prioritise building brand equity and customer connection, which is crucial for long-term success.
  • Shift focus from isolated marketing tasks to strategies that align with and support overall business goals.
  • Align marketing strategies with sales objectives for cohesive and effective business operations.
  • Prioritise strategies and tactics that lead to specific, measurable business outcomes.
  • Steer clear of metrics that do not contribute to actual revenue or business success.
  • B2C digital experiences shape customer expectations in B2B environments.
  • Develop self-service digital options for B2B customers, allowing for efficient and independent transactions.
  • Stay attuned to changing digital preferences and behaviours, especially post-pandemic shifts in online purchasing.
  • Quickly adapt marketing strategies in response to sudden industry changes or crises.
  • High data quality helps you use verified information for more accurate insights.
  • Prioritise hiring skilled data scientists to effectively manipulate and draw insights from the data.
  • Be transparent and proactive in identifying and addressing data collection and analysis gaps.


“The only sustainable competitive advantage is your brand.” – Jane Lee

Highlights from the Episode

How does your non-traditional journey from B2C to B2B influence your approach to the B2B market? What are specific B2C marketing principles you’ve successfully integrated into your B2B practice?

In business, understanding the lasting value of a brand is crucial. This approach, exemplified by Jane’s transition from B2C to B2B marketing, highlights the universality of strong branding principles. Key lessons include the importance of a clear brand identity, the alignment of visual elements with brand positioning, and the need for simplicity in brand architecture. Focusing on building brand love and equity rather than proliferating multiple sub-brands can lead to sustainable competitive advantages for businesses. This strategy is equally effective in both B2C and B2B sectors.

How does transitioning from B2C to B2B impact your perspective on marketing strategy? What insights or transformations have occurred in your approach as you made this transition?

Adapting and aligning marketing strategies with broader business objectives is crucial when transitioning between different business environments. Jane’s journey from a consumer goods company to an airline illustrates the importance of questioning the purpose behind marketing tasks and aligning them with the company’s overall goals. For businesses, this means moving beyond tactical executions like sending emails to developing integrated strategies that support sales and revenue goals. Collaboration between marketing and sales and a shared focus on end goals are essential for driving business success.

What’s your take on the influence of B2C digital experiences on B2B? How do you see these insights and trends from the consumer space shaping the landscape of business-to-business interactions?

The digital expectations set by B2C experiences significantly impact B2B customer interactions. As illustrated by Jane’s approach at United, businesses can benefit from applying B2C insights to enhance their B2B digital platforms. This includes creating user-friendly, self-service options and understanding customers’ increasing comfort with online transactions, even for high-value purchases. For businesses looking to improve their B2B digital experiences, it’s essential to recognise and adapt to these evolving expectations, integrating lessons learned from B2C to meet and exceed customer needs.

You’ve been with United since before the COVID-19 era, when travel stopped, affecting both B2C and B2B audiences. How did you balance the challenges of a stressful market and a recession while crafting an experience that feels consumer-oriented yet serves business needs? How did your marketing strategy pivot during the pandemic, necessitating a complete playbook reset?

Jane joined United in late 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. With the airline industry heavily impacted and United losing significant daily revenue, Jane faced a complete halt in traditional marketing activities. Simultaneously, she navigated personal challenges, managing work and family life from home. Her focus shifted to understanding customer needs during the pandemic, particularly regarding concerns about cleanliness and safety. This led to creating and continuously updating content to address evolving circumstances, such as implementing and later removing mask requirements on flights. Jane’s experience underscores the necessity of adaptive, responsive marketing strategies in crises.

How does the shift from B2C to B2B marketing impact data strategies and the use of predictive models, considering the significant differences in data volume?

The shift from third-party to direct customer data offers significant advantages in transitioning from CPG to the airline industry. Jane’s insights at United reveal the importance of collecting high-quality data and effectively integrating and analysing it. Key challenges include linking B2B and B2C data and creating comprehensive profiles for non-loyalty customers. For businesses, the lesson is clear: invest in skilled data scientists and develop systems to connect various data sources, enhancing customer understanding and business strategy.

Good reads: Is there a book, blog, newsletter, website, or video that you would recommend to our listeners?

Podcast: The Daily Podcast

Book: Getting More by Stuart Diamond

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