Knowing your target audience is crucial these days and brands that haven’t defined their buyer personas correctly are wasting marketing resources to reach people that aren’t interested in their products or services in the first place.
There’re two main ways how brands can market themselves. First, businesses that target individuals are usually operating in the B2C market while brands targeting organizations are in B2B market. As a result targeting B2B market is different from B2C, from the way we market products, to the media types we use to reach desired customers.
Today we’re keen to share more about B2B marketing and how brands can successfully market their products in these markets?
Next to that, we’ll discuss the main differences between B2B and B2C marketing. How to create B2B marketing strategy, and what are the most popular B2B marketing tactics?
Lastly, in our Bonus part, we’ll share a few examples of brands that are successful at B2B marketing and what we can learn from them.
What’s a B2B Marketing?
B2B or (business-to-business) marketing refers to marketing strategies businesses use to reach other businesses or organizations. Typically brands that sell products or services to other businesses or organizations use B2B marketing strategies.
What’s the difference between B2B and B2C marketing?
B2C marketing is different from B2B and it’s the process of selling products or services to individuals rather than organizations.
Despite this, some brands are involved both in B2B and B2C marketing efforts. Think of a construction company that sells wooden fences both to individuals and building contractors. As the result, these brands will have to use different tactics to target different sectors.
In short, B2B businesses target other organizations’ needs, interests, and challenges. B2B marketing purchasing process is much more complicated and involves various other gatekeepers before coming to the final decision. On the other hand, B2C sector usually markets directly to the final buyer.
Here are some B2B marketing orientated brands:
- Intel – is an American-based tech giant, world’s largest semiconductor chip maker that supplies other tech brands with semiconductors that manufacture final products, from PCs to printers and microwaves.
- UPS – is another American-based company that takes care of shipping, receiving, and supply management services around the globe. Their main focus is B2B market and cooperating with other e-commerce brands on product delivery. Next to that, they serve a small portion of their market in B2C sector too.
Differently, B2C marketing targets needs, interests, and challenges of individual customers that are purchasing for themselves, thus becoming final decision-makers. Differently from B2B market sector, individuals don’t expect a long-term partnership with brands and usually look for quick solutions to solve their existing problems.
Here are a few brands from B2C market:
- Spotify – a Swedish audio streaming giant that is one of the largest music streaming providers on the globe with over 422 million monthly active users and serves individuals around the globe the latest music tracks right to their smartphones
- Airbnb – is an American company that serves as an online marketplace for lodging, primarily homestays for vacation rentals, and tourism activities. The platform is accessible via the website and mobile app and targets individuals around the globe interested in a short stay abroad.
(B2B marketing vs B2C marketing comparison table)
What’re the main benefits of B2B marketing strategies?
One of the biggest reasons to invest in B2B marketing is that these strategies drive more qualified leads to your company.
In addition, investing in B2B marketing techniques gives your brand exposure online. And when you advertise your business on different mediums, it becomes easier to find about it online.
With B2B marketing strategies such as SEO optimization, you optimize your site for relevant keywords and improve your user experience to increase traffic. As the result, this new traffic has the potential to become leads and become your customers.
Furthermore, selling process isn’t as short as in B2C markets and takes more touchpoints with the customers before their convert. And even if they don’t convert there’s always a possibility that when they’ll need your services later in the future your brand will be on top of their minds.
Lastly, B2B marketing methods drive customers to your business instead of you reaching out to them. Think of email marketing and customers signing up for your newsletter. Here you’re sure that they’re interested in hearing from you, and this way more likely to convert and buy from you.
B2B marketing process
After we learned more about B2B marketing basics let’s go through the steps of how you can craft your B2B marketing strategy.
Identify your target audience
To begin with, start with identifying your target audience and the potential buyers. For this, perform an internal CRM audit and skim through your current customer list.
Study your latest accounts and see what similarities you notice repeating among each other. Write them down, because this information later will be helpful to define your buyer personas.
Who’s the decision-making?
Another important step consists of defining the ultimate person or group of people that are responsible for making the final purchase decision. Knowing this will help you to focus your resources on reaching the decision-makers.
How you’ll reach them?
Then, think of how you’ll reach your target audience. If they’re heavy social media users, think of the ways you can reach them through Facebook or LinkedIn. On the other hand, if they’re face-to-face networking people, think about visiting local networking and trade show events and meet your customers there.
Design the campaigns
The last step in designing a successful B2B marketing strategy is to craft effective campaigns. Once, you’ve defined similarities of your current customers, created buyer personas, and learned where they spent most of their time, craft a custom marketing campaign designed to reach them.
Think of this as organizing webinars, inviting them to your events, or making special product offers.
5 B2B Marketing Tactics
B2B marketing is all about reaching your target audience, and how you do that or how long it takes is only up to you and what tactics you use.
When choosing B2B marketing tactics there’s no single answer which is the best, because some of them will be more effective for one type of business. Contrastly, other tactics will be better for different types of businesses.
However, let’s discuss at least the most popular 5 B2B marketing tactics.
1. Content marketing
This one is one of the most popular marketing tactics in the B2B sector. It’s simply creating content online around topics your target audience is searching for.
Let’s assume that after performing keyword research you’ve found out that your customers are constantly looking for answers about copywriting techniques.
Next, define the main keywords your customers use to find answers to these questions. And then start creating content designed to rank for all of those keywords online.
Here, creativity is the only limit to different content types. Think of writing blog posts, creating video content, social media marketing, or even recording a podcast. It’s only up to you and your audience, which content type they prefer to consume, and how you’re planning to reach them.
2. Email marketing
With more than 306 billion emails sent and received each day, email marketing remains on the top of marketers’ tools to reach desired customers.
The process of email marketing is simple:
- Begin with collecting the email list via subscribe forms on your website, sing-ups to your events, or use other email list growing techniques. It can be something as simple as a small box inviting them to subscribe or offering for free in return to their contacts. Typically B2B brands like to offer in return a free eBook, white paper, or even free a course.
- Next, continue your promise and sent them weekly or monthly updates with your subject of expertise. If you’re a digital marketing agency, send them the latest blog posts you’ve published or what news happened within the industry. Try to keep it short and right to the point. Think about educating your readers first and only then send them emails with special offers or tailored discounts.
- Lastly, think about segmenting your audience, this way sending only relevant information to your customers. And if they opted out from your promotional content make sure that respect their privacy and don’t spam their inboxes.
3. Public relations (PR)
Showing up in national and authoritative publications can boost your brand awareness, build your industry credibility, increase traffic and earn valuable backlinks.
Thus think about including PR tactics in your B2B marketing strategy and one of the easiest ways to get started is through the free service HARO which connects reporters around the globe with industry experts and helps them to cover stories by becoming the source. Subscribe to the HARO service and you’ll get weekly emails with inquiries from journalists and bloggers on various topics or the ones you’ve selected.
And keep in mind to respond quickly to inquiries, because there’re many other people following the same topics. Be picky to the topics and only respond to those you’re truly authoritative and can provide a valuable opinion.
4. Events and trade shows
In addition, there’re some more conservative B2B industries that prefer to do their marketing face to face. Mostly on trade shows and other industry events.
Think about an industrial company renting scaffolding equipment to building contractors. As their B2B marketing strategy each year they buy a spot at national builders’ event. There they promote their latest products and meet new clients.
This way industry events and trade shows can give your brand massive awareness. And sometimes even your employees could appear as expert speakers on the panel, representing your brand.
5. B2B social media marketing
Lastly, you might think that social media marketing is out of place for B2B marketing. However, don’t forget that even operating in B2B markets you’re dealing with people that use social media.
And no, don’t rush to the first hottest social media platform right now, and think about where your target audience spends the most time. If you’re targeting company CEOs and other C-suite executives, increase your brand presence on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Brands that Excell in B2B Marketing
To spark new creativity for your next B2B marketing campaign let’s take a look at the brands that excel at it and do it well.
1. Shopify and its content marketing strategy
Ecommerce giant Shopify creates various types of content in their content marketing strategy. From blog posts, business courses, community events, or video content on YouTube.
But what truly stands out is its podcast titled “Shopify Masters: The e-commerce business and marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs.”
The podcast highlights the success stories of entrepreneurs and offers practical tips on starting an online business on Shopify. This way offering free and fantastic content is an effective B2B marketing tactic that drives lots of value.
2. Adobe and it’s excellent in social media marketing
At first, TikTok might seem like a difficult platform to succeed for a B2B brand, but not as you’re Adobe.
After joining TikTok, media giant Adobe in their first video asked the community “Who is a creative TikToker we show know about?” and got over 2 million views.
Now brand has over 298,9K followers and 2.9 million likes on its account. They share fresh, high-quality user-generated content that teaches about their products in a fun way. This way entertaining their audience and at the same time teaching Gen Z how to use their products.
To summarize, B2B marketing differs from B2C in many ways, from the purchasing process to the people involved in the buying process. However, there’s one thing in common, both marketing ways you’re dealing with people.
Thus if you’re in the B2B market focus on selling to businesses and organizations. Whereas if you’re in B2C focus on selling to individuals and try to match their needs, interests and solve their challenges.
And there are many benefits of B2B marketing, from increased brand awareness online to building closer relationships with your customers.
In addition, B2B marketing process could be defined in 4 simple steps:
- Identify your target audience
- Define who’s the decision-maker
- Which media type you’ll use to reach them?
- And lastly, craft the campaigns.
Where in B2B marketing there are no limits to which marketing tactics you can use to reach your target audience and the only limit is your creativity. These are the most popular B2B marketing tactics:
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Public relations (PR)
- Events and trade shows
- B2B social media marketing
Lastly, if you ever run out of creative ideas for your next B2B marketing campaign, think about brands that excel at it, Shopify and Adobe are just a few of them.