At its core, B2B—business-to-business—marketing is the art of promoting one company’s services and products to another. If a company doesn’t sell their products to the average consumer, then they need to target other businesses whose need profile pairs with their offering.
But what exactly does B2B mean in marketing and how does it shape your B2B marketing plan approach?
Keep reading to build your knowledge and bolster your tool belt with marketing tactics for B2B marketing success. Here’s a quick look at what’s ahead:
B2B Marketing Defined
How is B2B Marketing Different from B2C Marketing?
Building Your B2B Marketing Objectives
B2B Marketing: Finding the Right Strategies for Your Brand
B2B Content Marketing Ideas
B2B Marketing, Defined
Several manufacturing, software, and marketing companies operate exclusively on B2B market models. This means that the company’s revenue is generated entirely from other business entities and organizations.
Typically, their entire platform was built to service the needs of other businesses—solving pain points, creating efficiencies, and bolstering their operations.
Here are a few B2B companies you might be familiar with:
If these are ringing a bell, it’s likely because you’ve used their product or service at your place of work, not because you’ve made a purchase from them directly.
How is B2B Marketing Different from B2C Marketing?
The primary difference between B2B marketing and B2C marketing is the target audience of each. While B2B focuses its promotional efforts toward other businesses, B2C marketing targets the consumer, as suggested by the unabbreviated form of the term: business-to-consumer.
Another notable difference between the two is the length of the sales cycle. As a consumer shopping on Amazon Prime, where most of your shipping and billing information is already saved, purchases may be processed in a matter of seconds. A B2B sale, on the other hand, is often a much lengthier, trust-building process.
Here’s a quick overview of how the two match up in other areas.
Small, niche-based target audience
Few clients, high volume of purchases
Buyer purchases fueled by demand and return on investment (ROI)
Fosters long-term relationships between businesses
Large, widespread target audience
Many clients, low volume of purchases
Buyer purchases fueled by wants
Often short-term relationships between buyer and seller (Note: Some brands may focus more on client retention than others.)
Knowing how these two models differ is key when it comes to setting up marketing efforts including your objectives and strategies.
B2B Marketing Objectives
On any marketing team, having a clear set of objectives and a mechanism in place for keeping track of performance is essential. Your goals will likely variate depending on what stage in the marketing campaign you’re in.
To that end, in which direction should you focus your B2B marketing approach? Consider a few common objectives:
Brand awareness – Defining your brand and painting a clear picture of your target audience are the primary items on the to-do list in this phase of B2B marketing. The more specific you can be as a marketer about who you’re trying to reach, the better.
Generate leads – When developing strategies centered around this objective, remember that B2B marketing tends to have fewer leads but higher purchasing volumes. Go after the right audience and target their primary pain points. From there, you can build the foundation you’ll use to persuade them that your service is an effective solution that will contribute to their efficiencies, growth, and ROI.
Client retention – If customer loyalty is your main objective, be sure to gather feedback, keep the lines of communication open, and consider treating faithful customers to a surprise (e.g. free upgrade, small gift) to encourage a long-lasting relationship.
B2B Marketing Strategies: Finding the Right Fit for Your Brand
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for B2B marketing—nor should there be—so it’s important to assess your objectives and find a combination of strategies that will help your business cut through the noise.
Target audience – Defining your target audience is a marketing must for all companies, but it is particularly important for B2B models. Given the niche-based nature of the goods and services offered by many B2B companies, a clearly defined client base will go a long way in generating quality leads.
SEO – When done right, SEO is one of the most powerful tools for galvanizing organic growth in B2B marketing. Doing thorough keyword research and implementing it into your blog content, web copy, or image alt text connects you with users searching Google for a solution that your company can provide.
Google Ads – While polishing up your SEO may be a long-term approach to building awareness or driving conversion rates, Google Ads are instantaneous. Set your bid and maximize your reach by targeting the right audience for your brand.
Facebook Ads – The businesses you’re trying to reach are likely on Facebook, and so are the people who own them. With more than 2.7 billion monthly users, Facebook remains one of the biggest social networks across the globe.1 Facebook Ads allows you to build effective B2B campaigns by targeting users based on interests, location, age, and more.
Email newsletters – The number of email users around the world is about four billion,2 so it’s safe to say that email marketing is here to stay. Disperse your marketing touchpoints across a series of weekly or monthly newsletters. Keep your marketing leads in the loop about product updates, sales, or new blog content, and track performance using campaign insights provided by platforms like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
Retargeting – Because B2B sales cycles are much longer than B2C sales cycles, there are many opportunities for retargeting over the course of months-long conversions. Consider what stage of the funnel you’ll need to focus on (lead generation, lead nurturing, proposal) and give your potential the nudge they might need to keep moving forward.
B2B Marketing Content Ideas
B2B Content marketing can be a highly effective way of elevating your B2B marketing strategy. When producing content, the value it provides to your target audience should be the driving force behind everything you create. Learn more about best practices for B2B content marketing.
Not sure what kind of content is right for your brand?
Take a few ideas from the list below and integrate them into your long-term strategy to boost brand awareness and drive sales. The key is to produce authentic, engaging, and dynamic content that portrays your brand’s ethos and connects to your audience simultaneously.
Blogs – These are like the very ones you are reading now. Consider sharing weekly or monthly posts covering topics sure to benefit and interest your buyer persona. Company updates, technical how-tos, and user trends are just a few ways to bring in readers and generate leads.
Podcasts – According to Semrush, people have spent a record-breaking 15 billion hours listening to podcasts so far in 2021.3 Whether it’s on the drive to work or while cooking at home, listeners often tune in to learn something new. Consider using this platform as a way to educate your target audience about the good or service you provide.
Video Tutorials– Show, don’t tell. Instead of telling a potential customer about how effective your product is, put together engaging video content highlighting what sets your brand apart from the rest on the market. Step-by-step video tutorials are an effective way of anticipating client questions and improving the overall user experience.
Product Comparisons – Video, audio, or text. Pick your preferred format and stack your service up against the competition to highlight the advantages of what your business has to offer. This way, you’ve already done the work that your target audience would have needed to do on its own. With all the facts laid out in front of them, your potential buyers will spend less time researching and more time considering the purchase.
Build Your B2B Marketing Strategy with Marketing-Ideas Marketing
Now that you’re well-versed in the ins and outs of the B2B marketing model, it’s time to start shaping your strategies and putting them into action. Your time and marketing dollars are precious, so you’ll want to be sure you’re investing them efficiently and in a way that matches up with your business goals.
Just like with B2B marketing, Marketing-Ideas Marketing is focused on building trust-based, long-term business relationships. And with a 96% client retention rate, we’ve got the numbers to back it up. Whether you’re developing a B2B marketing strategy from scratch or looking to breathe new life into your current approach, we’d love to lend a hand.
Let’s generate growth opportunities together and expand your businesses marketing through platforms like LinkedIn b2b marketing.
Statista. Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 4th quarter 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/
Statista. Number of e-mail users worldwide from 2017 to 2025. https://www.statista.com/statistics/255080/number-of-e-mail-users-worldwide/
Semrush. 69 Podcast Statistics to Boost Your Podcast Strategy In 2021. https://www.semrush.com/blog/podcast-stats/
Forbes. Becoming A Better B2B Marketer In A Digitally Driven World. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2020/12/16/becoming-a-better-b2b-marketer-in-a-digitally-driven-world