Introduction to B2B Marketing
B2B Marketing is the marketing strategy of products and services to other businesses or organizations to meet their needs.
According to HubSpot, “any company that sells products or services to other businesses or organizations (vs. consumers) typically uses B2B marketing strategies.
Still confused? Let me paint you a picture.
Think of businesses that produce office supplies or provide ingredients to restaurants. One could not function well without the other; hence, they work together to help the other survive.
That’s about it.
B2B stands for “business to business,” B2C is “business to consumer.” But, it is more complex than just “who the customers are.”
Let us delve deeper into the key differences between B2B and B2C marketings.
1. Intended audience
The intended audience, or decision-makers, differs for B2B and B2C.
To succeed in B2B marketing, you need to attract individuals who make decisions in an organization. It is not about impressing every single employee of the targeted organization.
That said, it is your utmost priority to ensure your marketing strategies are customized towards the organization’s group of decision-makers.
Meanwhile, B2C’s intended audience is clear: The potential customers who might be interested in the brand’s products or services.
The process of painting your brand in consumers’ minds has different priorities for both B2B and B2C marketings.
In B2B branding, building and nurturing customer relationships are vital because you will work with the customers long-term.
As B2B marketing is more towards logic, it is crucial to prove your commitment constantly. It begins with the deliveries of your products or services, then their quality consistency.
B2C marketing focuses on temporary emotions – only during the decision-making time frame.
Due to the purchase being short-term, B2C branding is more transactional as the goal is to sell a product.
3. Decision-making process
B2B and B2C marketings’ consumers go through separate decision-making processes.
While content marketing is important for B2B, leads’ underlying motivation is key for a B2C business’s success.
The decision-making process involved in B2B is more elaborate as the customers need to research the product or service thoroughly; needless to say, your content marketing game must be concrete.
In contrast, B2C customers make their purchase as soon as they spot what they want.
4. Purchase cycle
As mentioned, B2B involves the organization’s decision-makers; thus, employees of several departments are responsible for making the final purchase.
The purchase cycle becomes more complex as they need to consider every aspect that would impact their company.
B2C purchase cycle is direct. Consumers either see your ads online or from peers’ recommendations.
Since only one person is usually involved in buying, the purchase cycle is short and compact.
A B2B marketing funnel portrays the buyer’s journey through the sales process. The B2B marketing funnel helps you understand your buyer’s thought processes, from initially finding your brand to obtaining your products or services.
The first stage of the B2B marketing funnel is Awareness.
At this stage, you attract your potential customers by building awareness about your brand, products, or services.
Your marketing strategy must be appealing enough to intrigue your leads.
You’ve already gotten their attention, now is the time to nurture their interest.
Give your prospects more information on what you’re offering by redirecting them to your other websites or social media pages.
At the Evaluation stage, the organization does further research or takes additional steps to verify your brand’s credibility.
For example, if your service has a demo, the decision-makers will carefully assess its performance.
If your potential customer is satisfied with what you have shown them, they would most likely make their purchase.
Before that happens, you should nudge them to take that action. Insert call-to-actions (CTAs) to persuade them for email newsletter subscription; this way, they will continuously get your updates.
Keeping your prospects engaged and pleased is essential.
Although B2B marketing is strictly business, the decision-makers are humans – and we are simple creatures who need validations before landing on a decision.
Drive their motivation by providing case studies, related blog posts, or previous and current customers’ feedback and testimonials.
At the final stage of the B2B funnel, the lead successfully converts into a customer when they agree to a business engagement with you.
You might think that the B2B market is a niche one.
On the contrary, B2B businesses have a large market because the purchases made were not for indulgence, but instead, to create a value-added product that will ultimately be sold for profit.
This reasoning precisely illustrates the significant difference in the mindsets of an average consumer and a business buyer.
B2B marketing as a whole has very distinct key elements that distinguish it from B2C marketing.
If you still find it hard to grasp the concept of B2B marketing, don’t worry.
The following section delves into the fundamentals of B2B businesses to help you better understand the inner workings of B2B marketing.
B2B businesses can be divided into several types involving anything from physical products to digital goods.
This is important to note because what you sell and how you sell it will have a direct impact on how your business operates.
To help you understand better the potential of the B2B market, we’ve taken into account the numerous B2B businesses in the market and outlined them into three major types:
- Product-Based B2B Businesses
- Service-Based B2B Businesses
- Software-Based B2B Businesses
Let’s dissect these three types of businesses and weigh on their advantages and disadvantages.
There are plenty of B2B businesses that revolve around selling physical products you can hold in your hands.
These product-based businesses can be exclusively online, have a physical store, or both. The most common examples of such businesses are office supply store and business card manufacturers.
Nonetheless, keep in mind that they are not necessarily restricted to selling to corporations or the typical 9-5 office job businesses.
This category also includes businesses such as hotel supply companies and restaurant vendors.
The overhead costs of product-based B2B businesses are typically higher than the other businesses.
You’ll need to consider a lot of things, such as manufacturing, product storage, shipping and damaged products.
Even so, the business has a lot of room for profit margin, but you’ll have to work hard to acquire those sales.
Service-Based B2B Businesses
Among the three types of B2B businesses, service-based businesses are the most common ones in the B2B market.
After all, the services that businesses require can be numerous as well.
Similar to physical goods, service-based businesses can also be entirely online or have a brick-and-mortar store.
This, however, should largely be determined by the kind of services you’re offering.
Of course, services like on-site security will need an established location. Meanwhile, marketers and designers can theoretically serve businesses anywhere.
Plus, services are often required more than once, allowing you to develop a closer relationship with the client.
Even if your services are only required on certain occasions, like once or twice a year, clients will likely return to you as the business relationship would’ve been built on trust.
Typically, service-type B2B businesses have lower overhead than product-based businesses, but they may necessitate specialised software, which can be costly.
For example, social media marketers require a slew of tools such as social media management software and content curation tools for their work.
These may add up to a hefty amount, but it depends heavily on the industry.
When it comes to software-based B2B businesses, software subscriptions are always involved to fill a business need.
Technically, these can be classified as “products” or “services,” but we’re categorising them separately because they often replace the conventional human-provided services.
Examples of such businesses are customer relationship management (CRM) software, invoicing software and social media management software.
You can find customers almost anywhere, so software-based businesses allow you to scale quickly.
Nevertheless, the cost of server and hosting can get exceptionally high as you scale.
If you’re planning on tackling a software business, your customer support must have a quick response or your clients will quickly become frustrated.
You will also need to be extremely technologically advanced to work with software.
When it comes to business software development, there is no such thing as “set it and forget it.”
Your website, tools, and mobile application must all be at their top performance, which means you’ll have to keep up with security and technological advancements.
Engage a B2B Marketing Agency in Malaysia
Walk Production provide B2B marketing and branding services such as corporate branding, website design, business copywriting, social media marketing and SEO services are essential in a marketing strategy.