So, What is B2B Marketing?
Let’s think about brands like IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, what do they have in common? They are highly valued, successful business-to-business brands. When people hear the word - ‘Marketing’, they often think of TV commercials especially focussing on consumer brands like Samsung, Pepsi or Adidas. What people do not understand is that the business to business marketing is on par with the consumer brands, if not higher.
Before we dig in, let us understand what 'Marketing' is.
Marketing differentiates one brand from another to influence customers to choose that brand and create loyalty and advocacy.
Now, Let us look at what Business to Business marketing (or B2B Marketing) is, in a bit of detail. B2B marketing promotes products or services from one business to another business that either cannot or chooses not to provide that service or make that product themselves.
So, for example, a company like Salesforce offering a CRM Software could market to a Pharma company like Dr. Reddy’s Labs to help them with customer relationship management, dealer management, etc. A technology company like Intel could sell products to a company like Dell that uses their products as an ingredient for Dell's products, which Dell then sells to consumers.
B2B vs Consumer Marketing
The biggest difference between B2B and consumer marketing is the target audience. B2B Marketing targets businesses as against consumers. B2B marketing typically has a more vertical or niche market. They tend to be in one industry or have one product type, targeting maybe a few thousands of customers. These customers seek more detailed information such as education about a product’s technological advance or expertise to deliver a service.
Consumers usually decide on purchase by themselves or with friends /family. The B2B purchases on the other hand are of high value or are multi-faced with higher risk involved and higher management (C-Level) often included as the key decision makers. B2B purchases also evidently have longer buying cycles including getting into lengthy contracts. In B2B, the purchasing decision hardly has little to no emotion, but the focus is on understanding the buyers, what’s their role, what’s important to them. Hence, in B2B, to engage the customer, we need to consider what’s unique to B2B Marketing of that particular offering.
Did B2B Marketing completely overshadow the good old Marketing principles?
The timeless best practices have stood the test of time and still hold good. Let’s quickly look at some of them.
- First, know your customer to find the demographics such as age, income and insights such as mindsets, attitudes, behaviours etc. This insight helps you make smart, strategic choices to influences customers to choose your brand.
- Being honest about the product or service, features and benefits.
- Being relevant in how we portray the brand. Starting from brand positioning to the tactics used to communicate/messaging.
- and finally, establishing an emotional connection that will ensure long term credibility and relationship.
B2B Marketing is Logic-driven, focuses on Time, money and resources saved and Favours in-depth promotion
B2B marketing has evolved thanks to the information age and increase in digital touch points to ensure building valuable relationships to guarantee lasting customers. Today's customer is self-motivated and is more educated. Online content, social platforms and technology have changed the way customers make decisions. Over half of B2B customers decide on their purchase before engaging a sales representative, so marketers are playing an increasingly important role to provide relevant content that customers seek in key touch points early in their decision process.
Another important aspect is the need of Integration. To improve the touch points two things are very important - aligning the messaging across the touch points and secondly, to integrate information such as performance analysis or competitive intelligence.
The most effective B2B marketing plans combine time-tested best practices with a solid understanding of current trends to engage customers when, how and where they want.
Let us now look at some of the key ingredients that you need to look for in 2019 for your B2B Marketing:
- Content is the king! – Everything from Content creation, to distribution to having an effective strategy needs to be planned and has to be in line with the goals for the business. So, what do you do? - Educate your clients, show them best practice, tell them what to look out for, give them valuable tips on how to achieve success, demonstrate how you’ve helped others in their shoes, answer their problems, open their eyes.
- Focus on the customer and not your service. The buyers have never been more informed and popular research suggest that the buyers first contact the sales person when they already are at 60-70% stage in their buying cycle. Sir Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco, has some straightforward advice for businesses: “Follow the customer.” In the B2B marketing world, that translates to spending time online wherever your customers do.
- High performance website is probably the most important tool in B2B Marketing essentially as you turn it into a lead generating engine. Put in the educational content, rev up your SEO to be found, a blog page where content can be shared, clear messaging of your offerings, links both internal and external, and finally making it a mobile friendly website.
- Using the tools – Social Media, SEO, CRM, referral marketing, etc to ensure that your ideal customer profile gets to know you and you keep it that way!
BizReport found that 86% of B2B marketing firms use social media in their efforts, compared to just 82% of consumer marketing firms.
How can LeadMarked help?
Your B2B marketing is the next logical step to generate quality leads. We @LeadMarked can help strategise and build your B2B Marketing and Lead generation from the scratch.