Like B2C or “consumer” marketing, B2B marketing is a business practice in which businesses market their products or services to potential buyers. Where B2B marketing differs from the B2C variant is that instead of targeting individual consumes, it is focused solely on other businesses.
This means that marketing principles and techniques must be executed in a specific way, which will be explored in more detail later in the article.
B2B marketing is carried out primarily by providers of products and services targeted primarily at corporate customers. Classic examples would be industrial goods such as concrete or steel; more recent examples include business software and consulting services.
However, B2B marketing is also carried out by companies whose target audiences include both consumers and other businesses.
B2B marketing techniques are founded on the same key principles as business-to-consumer marketing. However, unlike B2C customers, B2B customers tend not to buy on a spontaneous, emotional or impulsive basis. They have a very specific set of needs and are often buying on behalf of a large number of others.
This calls for B2B marketing techniques to be shaped in a specific way.
Though B2B marketing is often compared to business-to-consumer marketing (B2C), the same methods and channels cannot simply be carried over to B2B marketing strategies in an analogous fashion.
Below are some of the key differences that shape the way in which B2B and B2C communication should be carried out.
The number of potential buyers for a B2B product or service will generally be much smaller than for a mass-produced consumer product. This calls for marketing content to be very carefully targeted to the interests and needs of the target group.
When a consumer purchases a product, this often represents the final stage of the marketing and sales funnel. For a business buyer, a purchase is often just the first milestone in a long-term relationship. It is vital to make sure that expectations for after-sales support are fulfilled.
Not only this, but B2B marketing can also continue after the sale – for example in the form of newsletters with product updates, invitations to webinars and other similar measures for maintaining and consolidating the customer relationship.
In the B2B marketing field, buyers are likely to be better informed and are less likely to buy on the basis of impulse or whims. Since they are spending their organisation’s money, not their own, they must account for their decisions to others.
They ask key questions about ROI that private consumers often overlook, which means that your team must be equipped with the knowledge to give sophisticated, in-depth answers to technical questions.
We mentioned above that a key feature of B2B marketing is long-term relationships with a smaller number of customers. With this in mind, many B2B companies often appoint dedicated account managers to nurture personal connections.
These account managers can for example pursue an account-based marketing approach, cultivating relationships with a small number of well-qualified leads by addressing them on their preferred channels.