Today we’ll answer the question, “What is b2b marketing?” covering an introduction to b2b marketing. So if you have asked the questions: “Am I in b2b marketing? Should I be in b2b marketing? How do I make money in b2b marketing? Let’s get some answers!
In this article, we’re going to go over what b2b marketing is, covering an introduction to b2b marketing, including a definition that is easy to remember. We’re going to cover the five biggest mistakes that people make in b2b marketing. Lastly, I’m going to give you an activity that will allow you to gain insights about your company’s customers or your target customers so that you can serve them better since that is what marketing is all about.
What is b2b marketing?
In finding an answer to this question, what you’re trying to find out about is more about the environment and the channels that your business operates in, for example, is it b2b versus b2c, or could even be b2b2c and this has implications on your marketing strategies and plans.
The first step in b2b marketing, like all marketing activities, is to identify who the customer is and what they need. The customer is key and must be at the heart of all strategy and planning and from there, once you’ve identified your customer, the marketing activities will differ.
Definition of b2b marketing
In b2b marketing, another business consumes your product or service, so if you contrast this with b2c marketing, where an individual consumes the product or service, you think about a business is using your product or service and buying it from you and therefore they’re going to have very different decision criteria about how to search, how to find, and how to use, and how to choose products and services; which again is why knowing the customer is key to find out what they want so you can give them what they need.
Five biggest mistakes made in b2b marketing
1- Different type of content is required in b2b marketing
b2b customers are usually very knowledgeable because they’ve done a lot of research because of the often larger sums of money involved in the purchase, this means they typically require a lot more marketing information and more technical marketing information for example free case studies, white papers, and technical support to help move them along the customer journey.
2- Marketing communications must speak to a different type of influencer
b2b purchases often look to third-party experts to support their buying decision, so they often look for referrals, recommendations, and insights from industry experts, so they therefore also rely heavily on trade organizations, trade journals, trade shows, and experts in the industry, etc…
They do this to help support their decision to buy, but also external information to help sell their purchase decision internally within their own company.
3- You may need to market to more than one person in the buying decision process
In b2b purchases, there’s in most cases more than one person involved in the purchase and you might need to tailor your communication for each of these different audiences, for example, there might be many interested parties or people involved in the b2b purchase decision and they could have a slant or a focus on their criteria, for example, one person could be focused on the cost if they’re from accounting or procurement, one person could be more involved in the technology, and one person could be more wanting to know the benefit of the impact does it give me in terms of sales or revenue.
So you need to tailor the messages for each of these parties to account for that if they’re all involved in the decision-making process.
4- b2b marketing must recognize a different set of buying emotions
while b2b purchases are generally not driven by the same emotional drivers as b2c marketing, status, or instant gratification, they still have very real emotional drivers which you must be aware of and address, for example, fear of making the wrong decision, since there are generally much larger sums of money involved and also levels of trust with the seller so you must understand what their needs desires and wants are of the purchases in your b2b decisions and address those in your marketing while at the same time providing financial data, case studies, and financial benefits as well as logic and lots of other compelling data that is normal in the world of b2b.
5- b2b marketing may rely more on personal interactions
while in the b2c world people can respond to mass communications and promotions in the world of b2b a lot of personal relationships need to be built and personal selling and account management also needs to happen and building that relationship and trust take time, so there tends to be a lot more one-on-one interaction as part of the marketing and selling process and this is particularly important if your product is not that differentiated from what it does versus your top two to three competitors; your advantage then comes around the service and ideally your people of what you put around your product.
So it comes down to do you have stronger account management and stronger service around the product and that becomes your differentiating factor. So b2b marketing may also rely on more personal interaction.
Activity to gain insight into your B2B customer
Now here’s an activity that you or you can give someone in your company to do to start getting insights about b2b marketing, so the heart of any good marketing of course is customer insights, so draw up a list of customers or potential customers that you would like to target and go and talk to them ideally on the phone or face to face find a way to talk to them and make a list of what are their wants and what are their needs and how would you communicate to those wants or needs with your product or service and then write a summary of what you have learned and present that somebody else in your company. Doing this simple exercise or getting people in your company to do the simple exercise is a good way to start generating insights around customers, particularly in the environment of b2b marketing.
So in summary, the message for b2b marketing is clear, again be clear about your target market get good insights into the build your plan accordingly.