Let’s define what are the main differences in b2b marketing. Nowadays you can find many diverse articles on the internet about marketing and what is working and what is not. Finding the real stuff can be hard especially when you do not know where to start.
So, whether you are a professional marketer working in b2b or an owner of b2b business, let me give you the 5 most important differences in b2b marketing that you actually need to know before you create your first b2b marketing strategy.
Before we start, I would like to also address marketers who are transitioning from b2c to b2b, as it is different and your way how to convert people is not similar as you do it in b2c. So, I hope this article will show you where you will need to make some changes in your way how you attract people to the business.
But I am not saying you should totally forget about what you have learned in b2c marketing as coming with fresh look and ideas on how to tweak and improve your b2b marketing can bring valuable insights and also differentiate you from competitors.
So let’s dive in!
Some of the best b2b marketing differences are as follows :
- Brand Loyalty
- Customer Relationships
- The Decision Makers and Influencers
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing is a short form for a business to business marketing. This type of marketing occurs when a business is selling products and services to another company and not an individual.
The company which is buying the product or/and services doesn’t need to be necessarily involved in business to business deals, and they can be selling to people, but they just buying the products and not selling.
The company who is selling products and services is mainly focusing on businesses. And by “mainly” I mean that’s their main stream of income, revenue from other business which bought the product or/and service.
Still, that means, the business can be providing some products and services to people.
So what does it mean to you?
You as a marketer have a certain targeted audience to who you can offer your, or your company product and services to other companies.
That means you would be focusing on and targeting other companies and not individuals. Of course, there are people who would be deciding whether you can solve their problems. Usually, it is around 7 people who would be evaluating your products and services.
Examples of Business to Business Companies
Look at some examples of what business to business companies are doing and what is making them different from b2c.
Alibaba is a perfect example of business to business.
Drift is another great example of a business to business company.
If you love to read books you probably know your local book store or amazon. So this one is similar, but for business to business. My favorite, BulkbBookStore!
What is B2C Business?
B2c is a short form for business to consumer. Business to consumer is when you are or your company is selling products and services to individuals. By individuals I mean not only 1 person, but it can be a family or and group of people.
For example, if you are buying beers for friends when you are organizing a party that is still in category business to consumer. The consumer is not just one person.
To easy to explain these products and services are for everyday life for you and me to use or buy. Like for example a car, a fridge or food.
So for you as a marketer in b2c, you are mainly focusing on promoting goods and also services to a people or like it is said in the name to consumers.
This gives you already a different target audience from business to business. This refers also your tactics and strategies you would be using to attract people to buy your product and services.
Examples of Business to Consumer Companies.
Amazon is one of the largest business to consumer company in the world.
Walmart is as well one of the largest companies in a business in the consumer sector.
Clean Cut Gardening Services are a great example of services in business to the customer sector.
Summary of Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing
Business to business marketing is when you are promoting your product and services specifically to companies and not consumers. That comes down to different tactics and strategies to attract companies to buy your product and services.
Business to consumers is when you are promoting your products and services to individuals. This refers again to different marketing tactics and strategies to attract people to buy your product and services.
1. Brand Loyalty
Creating brand loyalty is one of the main aspects for businesses as proof that they are there for customers for long. That is not just to buy from me and I disappear right after the money are in the bank account.
Brand loyalty is very important when businesses searching for products and services as it usually means that once they buy from a company it has the potential for a long-term partnership.
When a business wants to buy something it is usually expensive and once is bought it is not that easily replaceable like in b2c consumers.
That means that whenever you are creating your copies and marketing strategy, think of how you can create or show that your company is loyal to their customers.
Deliver to your customers what you have promised is one thing, but be there for them to support them to successfully implement your product and service is another thing.
So, focus on how you can deliver a message to your prospects that your company is faithful to its customers.
For example, show that some of your customers are with you over a long period of time.
Because remember, businesses searching for a partner to buy and stay, not change them every time.
Brand loyalty is very important in business to the business industry.
2. Customer relationships
If you are buying expensive staff for your company, you want to make sure, you are making the right decision. You need to trust the company that they will take care of you and also deliver good quality products and services.
To get the trust from your prospects and customers you need to build relationships with them. Show them who you are and what you stand for. In the end, you still do business with human and pure facts are just not enough.
But remember, data and information are much more needed in business to business marketing.
Like I said, provide proof that you are not just a company that once gets paid will disappear.
So, create relationships with them will help you to deliver the message to them, so they can evaluate it and consider you.
It is about getting their valuable time so you can present your solutions. That requires the trust that you won’t waste their time and energy.
Maybe this doesn’t sound like it does have nothing to do with marketing, but more with sales. But even to actually spend time on your website, click on your add and read your copies, which takes time as well.
So you need to think about how you can actually create the trust between you and your prospect so that they will give you their time.
For example, show them how many customers you have served, how long you are in business and your customer testimonials, what they are saying about you.
All this can establish a trust that you are worth listening to.
Being an expert in what you do should be a sure thing but not always for everybody is. So, let me explain to you why product knowledge is so important that you should definitely work on it.
Because if you are one of those who doesn’t know what they promoting. Trust me there are a bunch of them, then people will recognize it in your marketing and won’t trust you.
It has been proven that decision-makers doing a lot of research before they actually jump into buying. Just think about it. If you are buying something expensive for your company, then you need to provide information on why you need it, and how it will help the company.
So before you buy, you will conduct high intensive research about the product you want to buy. You read a lot of articles, watch a video and even buy books to make sure, you really understand your problem and how people solving it noways.
Decision-makers do really educate themselves before they actually approach you, and once they do, they will come up with pretty tough on-point questions. And in this stage, you can’t bullshit them because they have enough knowledge to recognize it.
That is why, if you have deep insights about your product, you will talk like that and promote it. They will recognize that this is your industry and you can answers every their question like an expert.
Therefore learn what you promote so you can speak like the experts and get prospects to trust that you know what you doing.
Targeting your audience is different in every type of industry, if you are selling gardening services, then you would rather focus on people with the garden than people with just a balcony.
The same in b2b marketing. Your target audience is a company that is having pains and needs for your product and services.
Usually, you need to find your niche and focus only on that. Because if you are focusing on so many things then most likely companies/prospects would not trust you, that you are an expert in your industry and you can provide quality products and services.
So, when you are promoting for b2b company, get your data to find how your prospects interact, with you, who are they, what triggers them to start searching for your solutions.
These data give you a pretty accurate picture for you to know how to effectively attract your prospects and get the most out of your advertising budget.
Remember, a shotgun approach is not effective in b2b and you need to know who are the people that would buy from you.
Also, make sure that you know what makes your prospects qualify, is it a budget, location, type of business?
All this information you should intercorporate into your marketing once you are creating your strategy so that once your prospect will see it, they will know whether you can really solve their problems with your solution.
Do not try to waste their time and give them fake hope that you are the right one if you know that actually, you are not.
5. The Decision Makers and Influencers
As I already explained, you need to know, who is your target the audience, so you can effectively attract them, but lets a bit more dive in about decision-makers.
The decision-makers are usually the c-levels or higher management who are making the final purchasing decision whether you will buy your product and service or your competitors.
This varies from your product and service but tries to focus, who are the people who would be using your product and service.
Let’s, for example, say, that you are selling financial software for accountants. That means mostly accountants will be using your product and CIO will be the one who is controlling and making sure the work is done properly.
CIO is the decision-maker, your targeted audience. But that doesn’t mean you will leave behind the accountants as they are the ones who will be using your product and also influence the decision-maker, or accountant manager would be influencing.
So focus on how you can create comprehensive marketing where you find a natural fit between decision-makers and influencers so both will find your product interesting and helpful for their needs and pains.
Remember, promoting to businesses involves many people and you need to explain each of them why and how your product and services will solve the problem for them.
The Decision-Making Process
Business to the business decision-making process is very different than in business to customer industry. Therefore you should know how the decision-making process looks so you know how to engage with your prospects on each of the stages.
IDC research discovered that there are 3 stages between when prospects become your customer. Each of the stages is vital for you as you should create pleasant interaction and experience for your prospect in each of the touchpoints/interactions with your company when you are attracting your prospect.
That being said, you should create different marketing materials for each of the stages as they are moving forward they need always something new to become closer to buying decisions.
That is when you can influence your prospects to actually buy from you and present them that your solution is the best. So read my
a comprehensive guide on how to create content for each of the stages that actually converts.
Remember, the buying process in business to business is much longer than in business to the consumer industry and the amount of information that is required is also much more as the stakes are higher and they need to make sure the decision is the best possible. Otherwise, they can lose their job.
Business to business takes much longer to convenience a prospect to buy your product and services. But if you focus on this key priority you will create an honest and trustworthy company. The company that prospects are happy to make a business for the long term.
Remember, build relationships takes time but it can be broken very fasts. Make sure you are treating your customers right and you are always there for them whenever they need you. In the end, they put the trust in you, so make sure you don’t lose it.