Marketing to businesses is very different than marketing to individual consumers. That’s why an entirely different marketing method — B2B marketing — exists, and that’s why we built this guide. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of B2B marketing, the most effective B2B marketing strategies, and how you can tap into and convert your business audience.
B2B Marketing is the art of brand building with a business audience in mind. Under this specific business model, marketers funnel their marketing effort into products and services that customers can buy and use. Sales portals like Amazon.com serve this purpose, for example.
B2B marketing is very different from consumer marketing, and that’s why an entirely different marketing method exists.
Under the B2B model, one company’s marketing strategy may not necessarily benefit another company’s marketing strategy. B2B marketers take a two-sided approach to marketing and go after customers on both sides of the fence. This means a great B2B marketer can offer a unique product or service to one company’s customer, and vice versa. That’s why an entirely different marketing method — B2B marketing — exists.
Now, you might be wondering: Who’s your target audience? In plain English, that’s your customers. You’ll look at how your audience reads, how they interact with each other, and which channels they use to communicate with one another. You may choose to reach them with e-blasts, webinars, videos, or blog posts.
B2B marketing is an approach to marketing that reaches a very specific subset of customers. Now let’s take a closer look at B2B marketing and why it’s different than B2C marketing.
B2B Marketing in 5 Steps: Marketing to B2B
To succeed in B2B, you must consider your target market and think about the needs of your buyers. This combination of knowledge and feedback will help you figure out the various issues your prospect might be facing.
Appropriately tailoring your message will help you cut through the noise and get noticed, and no matter what it is you’re selling, be it software, hardware, or a service, you’ll need to make sure it meets your audience’s needs. Once you’ve done that, you can focus on the effectiveness of your marketing materials.
Once you determine the appropriate placement for your B2B marketing materials, you’ll need to put it together. Remember, everything needs to be relevant to your targeted audience. For instance, if you’re going after a buyer that’s in software as a service, you’ll be considering the various communications channels they would use to interact with one another. This could include technical comments, product feature updates, and sales.
Just as your potential customers use these channels to communicate with one another, they’ll use your marketing materials the same way, so make sure you invest in all the relevant mediums.
This is the most important part of B2B marketing. Your marketing materials are your product and your marketing. Be sure you invest in solid B2B marketing tools, from blogs, social media, e-blasts to LinkedIn and blogs for company websites.
Once you’ve got all the initial B2B marketing materials in place, you’ll want to make sure they’re accessible. For example, you’ll want to embed them into your company’s website for easy access for potential customers. You may also want to provide tools to potential customers who are interested in your products or services.
Once you have all the appropriate materials, it’s time to start driving traffic to your website. Your company’s blog might be a good place to start, with calls to action and social media help. Create a strong brand presence and hope you catch the attention of every single web surfer.
You’ll also want to integrate your website into your other social media platforms for easy interaction. Make sure to comment on blog posts and provide your prospective customers with a good experience.
It’s very important to remember that driving traffic is only the beginning of B2B marketing. You also need to make sure your prospects continue coming back to learn more.
Market research is the key to a successful B2B marketing strategy. Conducting a survey or questionnaire can help you study the B2B audience and provide as much data as possible to give you a comprehensive overview of your business. This will help you create a more effective marketing strategy. Remember that the B2B audience is a lot different from your B2C customers. You’ll have to help them sort through a lot of information.
B2B marketing is extremely important to any B2C company. You’ve got to know your customers, their needs, and your best interest if you want to succeed.
The B2B marketing approach has been around for years now, and the environment it affords for businesses is endless. The variety of marketing tools is also invaluable. If you’re going after B2B customers and markets, you’ll need to develop B2B marketing materials.
Focus on customer needs and you’ll find success. But remember that your B2B marketing efforts should be tailored to your customers’ needs, too.
B2B marketing is about being different. Approach it with that in mind and you’ll be able to reach your business community, and the B2B communities, that you’re after.
B2B Marketing Needs are Important for Any Marketing Plan
Many people think business-to-business marketing is a superficial, unsophisticated type of marketing that businesses don’t need. In fact, they’ll tell you it adds unnecessary costs.
This misunderstanding of business-to-business marketing and the companies it serves is inspiring to me. Their marketing strategy may not be all that sophisticated, but what they’re using it for is, and my question is: Why would anything less than thinking of business-to-business marketing as a necessary part of a marketing plan be considered to be a mistake?
For businesses that are already successful, B2B marketing can prove to be incredibly helpful. Of course, I’m using the word successful in the loosest sense. Successful in that they’ve found a way to succeed in today’s environment, but not necessarily the way they’d like to be successful. Some businesses are so focused on being as effective as possible that they leave the possible profits on the table. What’s so wrong with that? B2B marketing is where you look outside yourself for a change.
If you’re not versed in B2B marketing already, don’t worry. You’ll learn.
Infosec is a leading provider of managed security services for public and private sector customers and partners. They’ll be back after I give them a hand.
On a business-to-business level, if you’ve been in business for more than 5 years, you’re well beyond the “new business in a garage” stage if you’re still using only B2C sales or marketing approaches. That fact should be a wakeup call to your B2B marketing efforts.
Good B2B marketing is about being different from your competition. Approach your marketing differently, and you’ll go further. You need to research your market. You need to understand your customers’ needs. And you need to do a lot of work to make sure you’re good at what you do. If you apply what you learn from B2B marketing to B2C, you’ll find your business more successful than it was before.
The phrase “good B2B marketing” is a very difficult concept to grasp. You’d think that the more you know about business, the more successful you’ll be at B2B marketing. But that’s not necessarily the case at all. Treat B2B marketing as a necessary element of your marketing plan. Do your research before you get started, then put your efforts in the right place.
The Issue Is Understanding the Need for Marketing, Not Getting New Customers
If you’re looking to acquire new business, it’s important to understand the need for that business and how you’ll deliver new solutions. If you’re not clear on how you’ll provide solutions, you won’t be well-positioned to be successful in business-to-business marketing. But if you’re able to look at a business opportunity and determine how you’ll deliver new solutions, you’ll be well-positioned to be successful in B2B marketing.
People tend to think of B2B marketing as the way to reach business. This is a mistake, because business-to-business marketing is the way to reach the B2B market. Though it is important for you to reach new business, you have to do so through B2B marketing. Otherwise, you won’t be well-positioned to get new business.
Today, it’s nearly impossible for you to capture all of the B2B dollars that you want in all industries you want to go after. B2B marketing is a necessity. Your clients expect you to be well-positioned.
If it takes you a while to get your B2B marketing strategy right, that’s OK. The important thing is that you find your way to stand out. There’s an amazing saying in life about following your passion, and that’s true for B2B marketing too. You need to follow your passion, and your passion is going after business. No one can do it for you. If you can find the wisdom, you can obtain your passion and then hone your expertise to deliver the B2B marketing services that your business needs.
Don’t assume your B2B marketing efforts are a waste of time. You probably have to spend a lot of time and money to get them right. B2B marketing is still a young discipline. The field is evolving rapidly.
And Entrepreneurs Can’t Sell Everything
But as your company’s success grows, you might find that you’re in a position to participate in many different markets. So what’s your B2B marketing strategy going to be? You’ll have to decide how to allocate your time and resources. An independent consulting firm could provide the best possible solution by combining entrepreneurial skills with B2B marketing’s offerings and techniques. The Web will continue to be an important tool for B2B marketing professionals.
However, B2B marketers must be careful to ensure that their business is both profitable and sustainable. Success is a poor indicator of B2B marketing’s value. The sustainable value of B2B marketing is what’s important. Many B2B marketers consider B2B marketing to be part of their business but off the radar screen. B2B marketing should be part of your long-term financial strategy. When you invest money in B2B efforts, you reach businesses that you might not otherwise get to.
One color you can’t go in is green. Not that you’ll be trying to force someone to purchase something from you that they would otherwise have gotten for free. It’s just that you’ll be trying to sell something you know you don’t necessarily need.
Start Slow, if Necessary
There’s a frightening truth about business-to-business marketing—that it takes time. This advice isn’t necessarily intended to frighten, but you have to take it as it was intended. You can’t force or rush B2B marketing to make “common sense” work. And there are no short cuts that can help you get there, either. The best you can do is ensure that you don’t put all your money on winning lottery tickets when it comes to B2B marketing.
Whenever a B2B marketer thinks about his or her customers, he or she should think about the “why” behind every single purchase.
B2B marketing is a great opportunity if you’re ready to learn. You’re nothing if you’re not willing to learn new stuff. Without fresh concepts, you’ll never be competitive. And the young market that B2B marketing represents has all the energy and enthusiasm of the young market in any other market.
Finding the Right Salesperson for the Job
For professional B2B marketing services, you’ll usually hire the right kind of salesperson. But for front-end sales, you’ll either start with an agency or a consultant.
If you want to identify people with the “right stuff,” you can buy it. But you can also get it from the Web. For most B2B marketing professionals, the most reliable source of people who can actually sell may not be the Web.
Salespeople may not be your department. Marketing is here to help. Hire the right salesperson with the right personality for the B2B marketing job. And remember, you’re going to be working on relationships with both your customers and your salespeople. Your salespeople will be your customer’s best advocates. For B2B marketing services, that means a lot of appearances. They have to be excellent sounding boards and advisors.
It’s a lot easier to recruit a successful marketing vice president than a sales vice president. So don’t ignore marketing when it comes to B2B marketing. If you can’t find B2B marketing people who can still measure your success against the right metrics, replace them.
Don’t always assume that the most experienced salespeople are the best marketing people. If you’re not sure which points of view you need—or if your salespeople are the wrong ones—try hiring someone who can demonstrate both these competencies. Allow for the possibility that your staff is a little more mixed up than you thought.
If you try to find the right salespeople before you’ve carefully identified the right prospects, you might be making a big mistake. It’s easy to get too fast and loose with chasing your salespeople, or your salespeople might end up flushing your prospects. Focus on your successes first. Then you can look for your salespeople.
If You Build It, They Will Come
There is a lot of B2B content out there for you to consider. Keep an eye on what’s new and get to know your competition.
Information is power—and people are people. You can’t market to people we don’t know. They can’t vote for our competitors. We cannot do this overnight.
There are people out there using technology and marketing to change the world. The current state of B2B marketing may not be the best that it can be. But as a professional marketing professional, you’ll have the opportunity to make it better. And you’ll have the opportunity, in your spare time, to do it too.
B2B marketing looks like a very different world. Just like the outside world, though, it’s still being formed through new technological innovations and cultural changes. The field is full of opportunities. The opportunities here are many, and they’re going to keep growing. The professionals now look more and more like salespeople. Your success is dependent on the successful marketing of your B2B offering. Keep in mind the distinctions between B2B marketing and B2C. Your success will depend on it.
And it’s the kind of success that will give you a sense of pride: If you have a good marketing plan, it can be successful. You’ll be able to say things like, I did that. I did that. And you didn’t do it with the big budget.
Obviously, B2B marketing can be a rewarding experience. You just need to pay attention to a few important differences. And that’s true for your success in B2B marketing in general, and for your B2B marketing success that you achieve because your message and your offering is the right one at the right time.
The experience of marketing is never dull. B2B marketing, in particular, is exciting, and you can make your own impact on it as well.
Winners Create Winners
You may have noticed that B2B marketing is sometimes called business-to-business marketing. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to arrive at the conclusion that B2B marketing is a good idea. It’s one of the most basic concepts in marketing, and B2B marketing is also one of the most obvious. Any marketing professional can see this for himself.
Your B2C and B2B marketing efforts will work in tandem. Your company’s best marketing efforts will be exceeded by your B2B marketing efforts. You can do both. If you have a B2C marketing plan, don’t underestimate its importance to your particular B2B situation. B2C marketing can drive a lot of B2B movement.