Working in consumer marketing is seen as the apex of the career pyramid. Indeed, it is taken almost for granted that consumer marketing, and in particular FMCG marketing, has the best brands, agencies and talent. Starting your career at Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola or Diageo can set up your career for the long term.

But is it time to rethink this idea, when we see so much great marketing being done outside of the FMCG giants and, indeed, unconnected with consumer marketing? I’m tempted to ask the question: is the FMCG hegemony finally over?

Here is something you will never hear or read: what can consumer marketing learn from business-to-business marketing. B2B is often seen as the ugly stepsister of marketing. Not that sexy, not that interesting and certainly nothing to learn from.

Let’s see how true that really is. The dramatic effects of trends like cloud computing, managed services, the consumerisation of technology and the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS) models have meant that the rules of the tech marketing game have changed. The outcome is that B2B customers don’t want to pay high prices out of capital expenditure budgets and now prefer lower cloud prices paid from operational spend.

The industry that has previously been dominated by the ‘pay first, consume later’ principle is now transforming to a ‘pay as you consume’ model. In other words, these B2B brands only get paid when and if the customer successfully consumes the business value of their product.

These vendors include some of the world’s biggest brands: Microsoft, Salesforce and Amazon (through its AWS division). The SaaS business model eliminates the risk for the customer, and the vendor has to relentlessly create and deliver value all the time, otherwise subscriptions fall off a cliff.

Concepts such as lifetime customer value and cost per acquisition are the most important metrics because these are the lifeblood of a business. SaaS brands have to think of customers not as buyers, but as future users, where delivery of the proposition is directly connected to the success, and indeed the share price, of the customer. These B2B brands have to continuously create value for the customer, otherwise it’s game over.

Compare that to my most recent experience with one of the UK’s best-known mobile operators, a household-name consumer brand. I had just switched after my patience had run out after 17 years of loyalty (yes, you read that right, 17 years) with another brand.

Within one month of joining, I rang the new…