Can Groupon Deliver for B2B?

By Diann Bilderback

That’s the question Ajilitee is asking in an unusual Deal of the Day running right now on Groupon through its Groupon Stores.   You know Groupon, where you can find deeply discounted deals of the day in your home town on “things to do, eat, see and buy.”  The one recently featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine as the fastest growing company ever?  The company that just turned down Google’s acquisition offer of $6 billion?  Yes, that Groupon, the company that connects sellers and buyers in a fresh new B2C channel and taps into our bargain-hunting culture. The question is:  will it work for B2B?

We decided to find out by testing an offer on Groupon Stores, which is a new self-service platform for B2C businesses in which a business can construct an offer and use Groupon’s platform to market it to a wide audience.  Can a B2B business adapt a B2C channel to move its products and services, especially when those products and services are complex like consulting services? What will those Marketing people dream up next?

We acknowledge this is an unusual go-to-market strategy for IT consulting services. In fact, to our knowledge, we’re the first enterprise consulting firm to try it.  Yet, we’re intrigued by the way companies like Groupon and Living Social are changing the buy-sell model at the consumer level and can’t help wondering how (or when) this model could be viable for B2B.  At Ajilitee, innovation is part of our mission, and as marketers, our job is to respond to trends and changing behaviors in new ways to see what’s possible. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So here we have it, now running at Groupon Stores near you:  Ajilitee is sponsoring two offers for 50%-off consulting engagements.   These are very good deals, actually, for half off a week-long $25,000 engagement with two master-level consultants. The first is a Cloud Opportunity Map, which helps an organization identify the right area to pilot a cloud application. The second is a BI Best Practices Audit, which lets you analyze your BI operation against best practices.  You don’t have to pull the trigger on the buy until you talk to us to be sure it’s what you want, and you have a whole year to exercise it once you do.  Good value, minimal risk, big savings.  Check out our merchant page at Groupon here, and more details are also available on our own website at www.ajilitee.com/groupon (no longer accessible).

So what do you think? Is it wishful thinking to believe consumer behaviors are valid in a B2B environment? Can B2B buyers and sellers wrap their heads around a Groupon Stores selling professional services, big-ticket hardware, or other complex B2B products?  Let us hear from you…and stay tuned for updates on Ajilitee’s little experiment.

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