What is a B2B Marketing Strategy

What actually is B2B marketing?

Many providers address their products and services exclusively to companies. For this they need different marketing strategies than manufacturers and service providers who (also) serve consumers with their offerings. The technical term that comes up again and again in this context is: B2B marketing. But what is it actually - and what kind of disciplines are there? We are going to get to the bottom of these questions at this point.

Business-to-business - a definition

There are already some uncertainties about the exact meaning of the term B2B. Therefore a brief clarification: B2B (Business-to-Business) describes purchasing relationships between companies, regardless of whether they are about goods or services.

In the case of B2C (Business to Consumer), on the other hand, there are consumers (private individuals) on the one hand and companies on the other. A company is never the “end customer” and therefore never the “C” in a B2C relationship.

Wikipedia has a reasonable definition to offer:

“Business-to-business generally stands for relationships between (at least two) companies, in contrast to relationships between companies and other groups (e.g. business-to-consumer), i.e. private individuals as customers, employees or public administration ). Business-to-business is abbreviated to B2B or B-to-B. "

B2B and Marketing

What does this definition mean in concrete terms for marketing? How does marketing take place in the B2B area? Let's quote a textbook:

“Business-to-business marketing should therefore be understood to mean all areas of marketing that do not belong to consumer goods marketing or that do not address private end users directly. A very simple demarcation is that on both sides of market transactions there are only organizations, in no case private consumers "

(from: Peter Godefroid, Business-to-Business-Marketing, 3rd edition, 1995).

B2B marketing is subject to similar mechanisms as marketing aimed at end customers. Here, too, the optimization of search engine positions, public relations and marketing communication via brochures or at the exhibition stand play a major role. But there are also some differences:

Special features in B2B marketing

  • The sums and margins generated are partly different than in B2C marketing. Finally, in the rarest of cases, private individuals need z. B. a software for industrial machine control or accounting for several hundred employees.
  • Especially those Lead generation and thus customer acquisition have become enormously important in B2B marketing in recent years. Marketing is increasingly taking on sales-related tasks for complex services and products. Because the potential customers are looked after by the marketing department until they are really ready for the business.

A high level of success can be achieved with the tools and techniques of inbound marketing in particular. As early as 2014, major companies agreed that they would get 54 percent more leads with inbound marketing than with traditional outbound marketing. That means: 54 percent more potential customers.

  • From the point of view of B2B marketing, you address yourself to Buyer personas. These are representatives of typical decision-makers in a company. They represent their expectations and needs with regard to a product or service and provide deep insights into purchase decision processes.

B2B is also about people. When they talk to each other, they do not do so as private individuals, but as functionaries in a company. They then represent the controlling view, the purchasing view or the production manager view. But it is precisely from this that a profitable buyer persona can be created.

What are the most important methods in B2B online marketing?

Those who deal with B2B marketing quickly come across a lot of new terms: inbound marketing, content marketing, lead generation & management or marketing automation, to name just a few. Don't get confused: online lead generation is the strategic umbrella term. The conceptual bracket for a large number of existing sub-disciplines when it comes to complex decisions for products and services in B2B that require explanation.

The three most important disciplines in B2B online marketing are:

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is one of the most popular and successful B2B marketing approaches for online lead generation. Essentially, it is about drawing potential customers' attention to your own company with high-quality, useful information and thus supporting them during their purchase decision-making process. Basically, we want to make the customer experience as attractive as possible from start to finish.

Inbound marketing helps B2B companies build trust with potential customers. This works by positioning themselves in a discreet way as competent decision-makers for a complex customer problem. So the aim is not to aggressively address potential customers and provide them with advertising. Rather, it is about using clever marketing to get them to seek contact with a provider of their own accord.

Outbound marketing

In contrast to the inbound approach, B2B companies do not rely on a pull, but rather a push logic in outbound marketing. So users don't wait for potential customers to approach their own company - e. B. because they have received several useful information offers from this provider and value their expertise. Instead, they want to aggressively process their customers with outbound measures. Preferably as many as possible.

Strictly speaking, outbound marketing is a collective term for a large number of sub-disciplines that users usually combine with one another. These include, for example, advertising e-mails, banner advertising, advertisements, direct mail, posters and cold calling by telephone. What they have in common is that users can use it to reach a large number of recipients. However, very few recipients are likely to make a purchase decision at this point in time.

Account-based Marketing (ABM)

This comparatively young form of marketing is not aimed at a large target group, but rather at singular accounts or small account groups. This means: in extreme cases, each target account - either a potential or an actual customer company - is addressed individually in an ABM campaign.

In contrast to inbound marketing, ABM is not based on the use of cookies, but on IP addresses. With account-based marketing, users can therefore address a group of people - the decision-making body of an account - individually without having to have been in contact beforehand. Typical tools are, for example, dynamic websites, highly individual content and nurturing workflows that are precisely tailored to one (or a small number of) account. The prerequisite for this is that the IP address of the relevant account is known through the use of dedicated software solutions.

These are the three most important methods that B2B companies use in marketing. Each of these methods uses tools that In some cases it can be described as an independent B2B marketing approach. For example content marketing, marketing automation, search engine optimization or native advertising. From our point of view, however, these are rather sub-disciplines, T. in all three methods listed here are used.

Summary

So let's hold on:

  • B2B describes relationships between companies.
  • Marketing is also of great importance in the B2B area.
  • Most companies rely on inbound marketing, outbound marketing and account-based marketing in B2B online marketing.
  • Buyer personas can be used profitably in B2B marketing.