Business-to-Business (B2B) Marketing
If you often read business publications or frequent professional forums online, you have likely come across the abbreviation "B2B" and "B2C". Talking specifically about B2B here, it stands for "business to business", which simply refers to any company primarily focused on selling products and services to other businesses rather than to consumers.
What is B2B marketing?
As the name suggests, business-to-business (B2B) marketing refers to the marketing of products or services to other businesses and organizations. B2B marketing techniques rely on the same basic principles as B2C marketing but are executed in a unique way. In a broad sense, B2B marketing content tends to be more informational and straightforward than B2C (Business-to-Consumer). Finding new ways to engage with prospective clients through social media is currently a hot topic in the B2B marketing world.
Types of B2B Marketing
Below are a few of the most common B2B marketing types and channels:
- Blog Posts: Blog posts are a mainstay for almost any content team and they should make buyers aware of and interested in your product. It's important to update blogs regularly on your site to have organic visibility and attract inbound traffic. Marketing leaders must highlight the problems their products or services can solve and incorporate them into engaging blog posts.
- SEO Search: SEO search is a prominent channel for B2B marketing. If you want your blogs to actually work, you need to distribute and optimize them for search engines. For better engagement, B2B companies can use brand names as keywords in an effort to catch clicks from those further in the buying cycle looking for business-specific information.
- Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing is the modern-day billboard. It's a must-have for any B2B company because 75% of B2B buyers use social media to research potential vendors for purchase decisions. Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are the most preferred choices for businesses to find their prospects. Both organic and paid marketing should be in the mix. Social networks allow you to reach and engage prospects where they are active.
- Whitepapers/ eBooks: E-books are standalone assets containing valuable information. They are often used as a B2B lead generation tool. To make the best use of e-books, make sure you provide the readers with actionable takeaways as well as valuable resources like checklists, tips, and actual guides.
- Videos: Videos are the fastest and easiest way to get information, be it any topic. Many B2B companies are inheriting video marketing in their marketing strategies because viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to only 10% when reading in a text. This content type can be applied in several of the previous categories mentioned here like blogs and social media but is worth singling out because it is growing so important to B2B strategies.
Who employs B2B marketing?
Any company that sells to other companies falls under the B2B umbrella. B2B companies can be found in every industry, from manufacturing to retail, software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions, security solutions, tools, accessories, office supplies, you name it. The B2B market is the largest of all the markets due to its wide range of applications in several industries.
B2B marketing can be better understood by an example of automobile manufacturing. We all know some of the biggest consumer-facing brands, but in every model of car or truck they produce are dozens of other companies' products. These include the tires, batteries, and electronics that are essential for the vehicle to operate properly. The manufacturer purchases these products from its various suppliers and then finishes them into the final product. So when you buy a car from one company, you are actually purchasing parts that were created by dozens of other companies from all around the world.
B2B Marketing Strategies
B2B marketing success doesn't come from broadcasting a product over traditional media such as radio or television. B2B marketing success comes from embedding your company name in the industry and making your product seem like a staple. Here's a look at the process B2B companies use to stand out in a crowded marketplace:
- Identify your goals: Before you start with the marketing strategies you need to specify your goals and then work accordingly to achieve them. Take a look at your digital competitive analysis. Where do you need to be in order to pull ahead of your competitors? Is it more leads? More Conversions? Better branding? Identify your goals, note them down, and review them frequently.
- Identify your target audience: Once you have your goals set, it's time to identify your target audience. This is a very important step for B2B organizations. B2B products and services are usually marketed to a distinct set of organizations with particular challenges and needs. The more narrowly you can define this audience, the better you will be able to speak to them directly with relevant messaging.
- Create Assets and Run Campaigns: With a plan in place, it's time to put it into motion. Follow best practices for each channel you incorporate into your strategy such as hosting informational webinars, setting up booths at popular industry tradeshows, sending out email newsletters positioning your company as the industry expert, maintaining an active, interactive social media presence, attending industry networking events and building buyer relationships.
- Measure, Tweak, Improve, Repeat: This is the ongoing process that keeps you moving in the right direction. You would want to know which strategies are working and which ideas are failing so that you can make smarter decisions concerning your money and time. You need to tweak the campaigns based on the results and have a flexible approach. The more vigilant you are about consulting analytics and applying your learning's, the more likely you are to surpass your goals and improve continually. Once you get your flow right, just repeat the process. The result is snowballed digital marketing success.
B2B marketing is a whole wide concept and requires a lot of strategic planning to get the best results. Hopefully, now you have got a fair bit of understanding about B2B marketing, to get started on your B2B marketing plan.