Some ideas for B2B Marketing
When markets become competitive marketing is the ultimate tool to highlight your company and build a name among its competitors. If your company operates in the B2B segment it’s important to understand the differences between traditional marketing techniques and strategies for effective a specific niche.
One of the most common mistakes made by some new B2B companies is not investing heavily in marketing or doing it the wrong way. This frustrating situation happened to a manager of a technology importing company whose biggest clients were major end-users (corporations) and distributors (other companies); he hired a marketing expert in graphic design, POP, advertising among other things. At the end, there were no results: the expert never understood the market and the manager felt that the brand lost relevance in its niche.
After a short period of time, Signalis Group acquired the account for the previously mentioned company. The first measure taken for the B2B marketing strategy was to gather some information on the market, try to identify potential customers, analyze what type of media these channels were consuming and then implement a two-way communication program and multiple channels with this market. Although B2B marketing shares some strategies with B2C marketing, the approach to clients is different as well as the motivations for business.
The concept of two-way communication is essential to build trust, which in turn is crucial for B2B sales and marketing. For example: ask yourself how many times in your industry have you decided to distribute a solution based on a television commercial. When was the last time you bought a new security camera based on the latest mass consumer trend? Surely never did. It is almost certain that the times you’ve bought a new solution to distribute it the decision was made based on analysis, study of profit margins, overall market share of the manufacturing company and competitor analysis.
This is what B2B Marketing is about, not only presenting the latest products that have not hit the major media yet, but also seeking for the most effective purchases to make your business grow. This type of Marketing also wants to help you close deals, establishing relationships with existing and potential customers (B2B marketing) allows you to gather their information, meet market trends, understand their needs and prepare to deliver what you need in the future.
Main difference between B2B and B2C strategies
B2B marketing strategies were inspired by the promotional techniques used in conventional mass sectors. However, there are notable differences between the two markets, between the profile of people who make purchasing decisions, budgets, and possibilities after completion of the negotiations and the consequences of making a bad decision.
Perhaps nobody has been fired from home for buying milk of poor quality in the supermarket, but a sales manager could lose his job if his company loses market share because of an unpopular product line.
To speak about the differences between these two marketing strategies we would need a whole article. There are many resources online, but there is one that reinforces the thesis presented in this article and which would be quite interesting for those who want to better understand the different faces of each type of promotion. The article is called How B2B Marketing Differs from B2C Marketing Online by Michael Miller, who in turn is the author of The Ultimate Web Marketing Guide, a book that has enjoyed good reputation.
One of the most interesting features that Miller’s article proposes is the comparison between B2B and mass marketing from several variables: target market, market size, sales triggers, length of sales cycle, buying process, factors that create brand identity, factors that create brand awareness, and what triggers the buying decision.
For a B2B marketing executive it’s sometimes more important to develop leads that can become sales than to generate a sale itself, because B2B business is a multistep process.
Table 1 – B2B versus B2C
|Target Market||Consumers||Businesses or|
|Size||Big||Small and focused|
|Reason behind marketing||Product||Relations|
|Buying process||Simple||Multiple steps|
|Identity of product||Created by repetition of message||Created by relations|
|Knowledge of brand||Merchandising, promotion||Education and personal relations|
|Decision making process||Emotional: Price, status, desire||Rational: Value for business|
Common mistakes when implementing a B2B Marketing strategy
Perhaps the most common, and we have already mentioned in this note is to try to see the B2B marketing from the lumen of B2C. While the former should be more proactive (because the market is more difficult to identify the client and such client is oftentimes more reluctant to purchase), the second tends to be more reactive (the market is just there and the customer wants to buy), using various methods simultaneously.
One of our first clients wanted to promote a new product line based on a marketing campaign for a new brand of cookies that had entered the market in those days. While the cookies had a number of potential consumers within the family (mother, father and children, asking them to buy a certain product), the technology distributed by our client had to develop its own market with the efforts of the sales force besides the marketing campaigns.
A golden rule for B2B marketplaces such as electronic security and video technology is that nobody will be desperate to buy any product. Nobody will stand long lines as when a new video game or device comes to consumers. Consequently, understanding the role of B2B marketing and understanding that marketing alone will not generate sales because as we have pointed out earlier, this is a long term relationship between you and your clients and it is with customer service and great sales people that you will keep this client after B2B marketing has caught their attention.
Content Marketing is the production of instructional materials and teaching for your potential customer. If you are in electronic security, try to educate and inform your client with content (articles, reference books, videos, podcast, etc.). In B2B marketing, given the nature of business, always looking for experts to provide information on the best products. When a potential client feels that the content you are generating is making their life easier, they will think of you first when making the purchase.
Another big mistake made by the B2B marketing executives is to ignore trends. Marketing of content and social networks are key elements in attracting new customers today. Social networks are critical for B2B marketing. It is currently the most effective way to reach a market. Many companies are not selling their security cameras or sound consoles through Facebook. However, this network is no longer a space for meeting with your friends only. Purchasing managers are on this site for personal reasons but at one point or another they will see that your company is there and that is providing interesting information and useful material. After this, they will hit the famous Like button and you will be on their feed. From there, they will know who you are. We still remember when we started several years ago to advise our customers to explore the social networking platform. Some told us they did not see his client going on Facebook, or that Twitter was just for artists. Today, history is proving us right.