The usual marketing relationship that most people have in mind is that of business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, and most people are quite familiar with B2C marketing. Yet, there is another marketing relationship, aside from B2C, and it is called business-to-business (B2B) marketing. This kind of marketing is surely different from B2C, and people who want to master the art of marketing should definitely have a keen understanding of what B2B marketing is.
The Shades of Difference between B2C and B2B Marketing
The difference between B2C and B2C are quite obvious. On the one hand, in B2C marketing, a business primarily deals with the multitude of individual consumers or end-users of its products. Moreover, B2C marketing is product-driven, and the more products are sold by the business, the better it will be for the business. On the other hand, business-to-business marketing refers to a business supplying another business with what it needs, and this type of marketing is a relationship-driven type of marketing in contradistinction to that of B2C marketing. B2B marketing also caters to a highly specific and a highly-targeted market segment.
Understanding Online Marketing with B2B Clients
With the onset of the World Wide Web, most businesses started to do most of their business transactions online. Moreover, most businesses nowadays have an online representation of their businesses in the form of a website. Marketing has indeed already gone virtual and digital. As marketing have gone digital, some marketing pundits readily coined the acronyms “B2B” and “B2C” to distinguish between these two types of marketing, although both these types of marketing were already practiced prior to the onset of the World Wide Web.
B2B marketing is basically the same whether it is done digitally or not. This means a business still chooses to transact with another business based on certain criteria such as cost reduction, profitability, and productivity. It is critical, therefore, for a business to deliver on these important B2B aspects to be successful in B2B marketing; and to further understand B2B marketing, here are five of the basic characteristics and aspects of B2B marketing.
- 1. B2B clients are very critical when it comes to the goods and services that they avail of.
In B2C marketing, many consumers buy impulsively. On the other hand, B2B clients tend to be critical and rational in their buying decision. Although not all B2B clients are rational; most of them, however, tend to be rational in their purchasing decisions or in their choosing of the services that they avail of. The reason for this is that the buying decision of B2B clients are mostly done collectively by a deciding body within the company, i.e., by the purchasing department; hence, most of B2B decisions are products of deliberate considerations and brainstorming process.
- 2. B2B is not only product-driven, but it is also a relationship-driven marketing.
Quality products are essential to B2B clients. They would surely go for a company that can provide them top-of-the-line products and services. However, it is not only the quality of products that B2B clients generally consider. They also strongly consider if the aspect of whether they could build a good working relationship with company or not. If a big bank in the United States, for example, decides to outsource its customer service to Asia, it will certainly not only choose a BPO company based alone on the quality of agents it has; it will also base its decision on a number of factors, and one of the primary factors it would consider would be whether it could build a good and lasting relationship with the prospective BPO company.
- 3. B2B marketing can become highly targeted and limited.
There is usually a limited pool of companies that are incessantly vying for contracts with B2B clients. But once you are able to develop a good B2B marketing relationship with a B2B client, you simply have to nurture that marketing relationship to maintain that client in your fold. If you keep that B2B client satisfied, you can get huge ROI from that client. A friend of mine, for example, won a bid to supply a huge computer manufacturing company with millions of stickers. There was only one competing bid during the bidding process, because there were very few companies that supply that type of stickers. My friend keeps that B2B client satisfied with the prompt delivery of high quality stickers, and he certainly rakes in millions of dollars in ROI from his deals with that B2B client, which proves the fact that even if B2B marketing has highly-targeted and limited clients, the ROI for such market however is great.
- 4. B2B marketing is a need-based marketing.
This means that B2B clients usually choose to transact with another business because it needs something from that company. If your business, therefore, supplies medical laser equipment, then your B2B clients will surely be those of the hospitals and clinics that need laser equipment, because hospitals and cosmetic clinics generally need laser equipment for surgery. As long as a business knows what its B2B client wants and can deliver on what its client wants, that business will surely be in a good position to prosper in B2B marketing.
- 5. Digital B2B marketers rely heavily on SEO to reach their B2B online targets.
A B2B company should aim to be highly visible online, by using SEO strategies and tactics that have been proven to be very effective. Although SEO strategies and tactics have been constantly changing in the past, the gist, however, of what search engine optimization is, still remains almost the same. Google’s algorithms, for example, in ranking websites remain fairly the same throughout the years. Hence, you simply have to understand these algorithms to figure out how to rank high in the search engine page results (SERP) of Google. As an owner of a business, therefore, that engages in online B2B marketing, you definitely need to rely heavily on proven SEO strategies and tactics to reach your highly-targeted B2B market, for indeed, SEO of your business website is critical to your success in online B2B marketing.
by Aia Laser, CEO, Inter-Dev Web Marketing Ltd