Learn about what B2B marketing is in the broader context of marketing, and its similarities and differences to consumer marketing.
Before we really dig in, I'd like to start off by defining marketing overall, and then business-to-business marketing, which is often referred to as B2B marketing. Marketing differentiates one brand from another to influence customers to choose that brand and create loyalty and advocacy. All that's true for B2B marketing, but more specifically, 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 Deloitte that offers accounting services could market to a restaurant like Subway to help them with bookkeeping, accounting, and tax services. A technology company like Intel could market to a retailer such as Wal-Mart to sell them software or processor products to use for their employees or customer systems, or 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.
The biggest difference between B2B and consumer marketing is the target audience. Consumer marketing targets consumers. B2B marketing targets businesses. Here are a few more differences. B2B marketing typically has a more vertical or niche market. B2B markets tend to be in one industry or even one product type, targeting maybe thousands of customers, whereas consumer markets tend to be larger and broader, reaching millions of customers.
More thought leadership. B2B customers seek more detailed information such as education about a product's technological advance or expertise to deliver a service. More stakeholders. Consumers usually decide on purchases by themselves or with one or two friends or family members. Pretty simple, right? Well, B2B customers purchases often are higher priced or are multi-faceted, such as company-wide technology. There's a higher risk involved, so it's not surprising that there are more stakeholders involved and decisions.
C suite, meaning executives with a C title, such as chief executive officer or chief financial officer often are included as key decision makers. And decisions often include internal disciplines, such as regulatory, legal, risk management, or procurement. 81% of these types of disciplines have a say in the purchase decision. B2B marketing also has a longer purchase cycle. Consumer products tend to have short life cycles, like buying toothpaste every few weeks.
B2B purchases can have lengthy contracts and might be purchased in bulk volume to receive a discount. So purchase decisions have less flexibility to switch brands or consider a new product or service. More one-on-one relationships. B2B organizations often include salespeople for in-person, live customer contact to build trust and credibility. Personal relationships are cultivated closely and over time between the sales representative and the customer.
To engage your customers, consider what's unique to B2B marketing before you begin writing your marketing plan.
- Learning the role of a B2B marketer
- Maximizing the relationship between B2B marketers and sales
- Setting objectives
- Writing different types of objectives
- Benchmarking against objectives
- Identifying your competition
- Anticipating future trends
- Developing a marketing strategy
- Developing buyer personas
- Writing an insightful creative brief
- Measuring and optimizing