Revised May 21, 2020
Back in prehistoric times (before the Internet, that is), b2b buyers learned about products and services by reading (print) magazines and (printed) analyst reports. Once they developed a short list of vendors for consideration, they contacted the companies (using phones, which were connected via wires) and the companies sent them (printed) sales collateral by mail (postal, that is).
Then sales people would contact the prospects and use a “consultative” sales process. Buyers would tell each sales rep all about their company, industry and problems, and each sales rep in turn would then explain why his or her product/service was absolutely the best fit to meet the buyer’s needs.
Marketers spent a lot of time creating attractive sales collateral materials–brochures, specification sheets and the like–and getting these printed on nice, glossy paper. Store rooms and offices were full of these glorious materials.
Then the Internet came along, and despite pronouncements that it would “change everything,” it really didn’t for the first several years. Sure, it was a leap forward in distribution technology: websites replaced printed magazines and reports, email replaced postal mail and faxes, phones lost their wires, and online conferencing reduced, somewhat, the need for travel.