WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF BUSINESS TO BUSINESS MARKETING (B2B MARKETING)?
B2B Marketing is the situation whereby one venture makes a financial or commercial transaction with another enterprise with the sole aim of reaching an end product to market to the final consumers.
B2B marketing is said to occur when:
1. A business sources for materials for their production processes. E.g A clothe manufacturing company sourcing for cotton.
2. A business entity requires the services of another business for operational purposes, e.g. a Poultry farm employing the services of an auditing firm to audit their finances.
3. A business is directly or indirectly involved in the promotion, re-branding, repackaging or reselling of goods manufactured or service provided by another business, e.g. a retailing outfit buying the end products of the production from a wholesaling outfit.
THE CONCEPT OF B2B MARKETING
In the 1990s, when the concept of B2B marketing came to inception, it was quite a hard process to explain to customers/clients that the concept behind B2B is unique and very much different from the general consumer markets.
Though over the years, B2B marketing has emerged as a discipline in its own magnitude and diversity in the marketing practices has been accentuated. Businesses acquire products and services with the aim of adding value with the intention to move the products downwards the chain in order to reach the general public, which are the final consumers.
There are some key factors that make B2B Marketing special and quite different from consumer markets in general. Hence:
1. B2B Markets Comprise of a More Complex Decision-making Unit
Since B2B markets involve a large chain of processes, it is quite complex when it comes to final decision making in the course of production. Take for instance, in an organization, it will be the decision or the responsibility of the junior staff to make purchases for low value or low risk products, e.g. office printers and papers. However it will be the sole responsibility of the major partners in the organization to discuss of acquisition of new plants, merger and dissolvence.
This Decision Making Unit (DMU) has overall effects on business-to-business markets, being that different individuals are involved in the decision making process: people come in with their different opinions and contributions and with time, these people might leave the organization, thereby creating a vacuum of knowledge or information, which on the long run has an effect on the final process of B2B markets
2. B2B BUYERS ARE MORE RATIONAL
B2B buyers are quite rational in their transaction strategies. Unlike the general consumer who is only bent on getting his products served to him, irrespective of the cost or quality, a B2B marketer will want to get the best out of whatever they are getting and at the best prices and qualities as well. This actually makes the job of B2B marketers quite easier all because they understand what the buyer’s requirements are and they deliver accordingly on time and also at a good price.
3. B2B PRODUCTS ARE OFTEN MORE COMPLEX
In as much as the decision making process in B2B marketing is complex, so it is with the B2B products themselves. Since B2B involves a chain of products and end products, it is quite difficult sometimes to determine what how the final products will offer satisfaction to the consumers who are getting them.
The implication of this is that B2B marketers have get the full information relative to the products or services being rendered. The understanding must cover not only the technical details of what is being offered, but as well problem resolution, after-sales services, client management team etc. for this reason, salespersons in B2B markets have the sole responsibility of being highly experienced and should posses much technical knowledge of their products within their organization.
4. PERSONAL RELATIONS ARE MORE IMPORTANT IN B2B MARKETS
A very important feature of B2B markets is the importance of personal relationship. It is quite easier to have a personal talk with a small customer base that patronizes regularly from the B2B supplier. Frequent visits are expected of the Sales and technical people to the customers. It is not unusual to have customers that have been loyal and committed to a B2B supplier for years due to the ease of inter-personal communication.
BUSINESS TO BUSINESS SEO
It is so important to note that search is a very vital channel for B2B marketing. The B2B sales cycle is most of the time longer than the consumer-facing sales cycle, therefore B2B marketers should put long tail keywords and optimizing phrases into consideration.
It is also very much important to note that B2B marketers are to utilize brand names as keywords in the bid to catch clicks and leads from those further in the buying cycle seeking for specific business information. The usage of a brand name across a website increases the chances that an organization can rank on Google’s 1st page for search.
B2B CONTENT MARKETING
B2B marketing units have evolved to be more aggressive in their consideration of innovation forms of marketing. In the past few years, close to about 30% of B2Bs spend more than half of their total marketing budgets on content, and there is every possibility of having more increase their spend over the course of the coming years.
Content marketing talks so comprehensively about the fact that B2B marketers must be much concerned about the needs of the buyers, hence the need to be more involved in Business to Person (B2P) marketing.
Therefore B2B content is enough to entertain the important questions that spur consumers to buy, such as: Why does this organization need these products? Why has this business not being able to afford this products? How are these products, services, expertise meant to satisfy the needs of these organizations?
And it is also important to note that contents can as well be published on websites to trigger SEO and can also be shared through email subscriptions and social media campaigns to reach to a wide number of appropriate decision makers across the web.
B2B SOCIAL MARKETING
The trend of social media marketing cannot be under emphasized among B2B marketers who have the intention of reaching buyers on the internet. Facebook alone is known to have about 1.40 billion active users on a monthly basis. The social media is a great channel to engage prospects. Interestingly, Facebook is not the only valuable channel to utilize in the social media, or recent, close to 50% of B2B marketers say that Linkedin is their social media network of preference.
10 SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS FOR BUSINESS TO BUSINESS MARKETING
In as much as social media marketing is very easy to use and navigate, it is more efficient and more effective if the marketer has the right set of tools at his disposals. The internet is saturated with hundreds (if not thousands) of tools and services for the utilization of social media marketing personnel, most of the social media networks are still primarily targeted at either consumers or B2C marketers
From research, we have been able to come up with some of the best tools and services for B2B marketers that will want to get the best out of social media.
Salesforce.com has come up with a number of different solutions through its Service Cloud 2 platform to assist B2B marketers to integrate social media with the Salesforce.com ecosystem. Do you know that one of the best applications for B2B marketers who use Salesforce.com is Salesforce for Twitter? This should not be confused for Chatter, Salesforce.com's Facebook for Business, Salesforce for Twitter will give you access to pull in and monitor Twitter feeds and accounts within the Salesforce.com CRM.
Hootsuite is not only utilized to manage multiple twitter accounts, it can as well be used upon different social networks. Recently, Hootsuite introduced Support for Facebook and Linkedin. The tool now supports Wordpress blogs, which is highly effective when you have the intention to schedule your post updates and messages to the various networks you are subscribed to.
Cotweet is well utilized by a number of big brands to manage multiple accounts and also give access to multiple users to a single account. It can also be utilized to monitor keywords and trends and also be quite well engaging in assigning updates to colleagues for follow up, which can be so so much effective for lead-generation. The service is available for free, though users can choose from the enterprise option, which is more effective for big brands or organizations.
With Socialtalk, ornanizations can control their presence on different platforms and also monitor feedback. It can be well utilized by businesses to manage multiple social media accounts from a single dashboard. It gives access to creating and as well scheduling video and photo updates for Facebook, having multiple user-access levels and also allow a user to access /
multiple pages from the same dashboard, monitor incoming traffic with analytical information.
Radian6 is a comprehensive tool that can scan blogs, comments, facebook pages, twitter and other social media accounts that you process into it. With Radian6, you can get real-time updates infused into your dashboard so that you can make follow-ups or reach out to a potential customer.
Spredfast can be utilized to monitor, manage and also engaged in measuring multiple social media platforms. Scheduling of contents is very much possible with Sprefast and can also be used to monitor persistent keyword researches in search engines, twitter and faceboos k feeds as well as RSS feeds.
MARKETING PLAN FOR B2B MARKETS
There are so many way you can utilize to write a marketing plan. There are various templates all over the internet as well as in the library, but the problem with the general marketing plan template is that it is not specifically directed at the situation of a B2B marketing plan and may be devoid of the specific marketing tactics for your business.
A good B2B marketing plan needs to be so much dynamic. A static plan will definitely make the business fall along the line. Some plans might be effective in the first quarter but as the business environment changes, a more dynamic plan that will flow with the change will be required and this you will achieve through reference to your plan and making the necessary adjustments.
APPROACHING A B2B MARKETING PLAN TEMPLATE
You will first and foremost need to determine your audience, i.e the customers that you are targeting. You will need to define your ideal audience, which you can achieve by creating customer personas. Then the next thing to do is to define your brand – who you are, what you are into, and what you stand for.
When you have these in place, then you need to proceed to defining your marketing tactics, which are the methods that you utilize in achieving your marketing strategies that you have pre-planned. These tactics need to be well planned and focused upon because as a business manager, your focus should not be much on the long-term, but on what you can achieve in the nearest future.
Your business tactics should be void of the following basic principles
The reason is your purpose for including a tactic in your marketing strategy. You will need to identify these and set them clearly. The reasons set will have to align with your set goals, which might be:
1. To establish your brand as an industry leader
2. To generate new leads
3. To create brand awareness
4. To capture more customers
5. To retain customers
• AUDIENCE FIT
Your set tactics must be a perfect fit with your target customers. All your work activities must be streamlined towards meeting the needs of your customers. It will be so unwise of you to attend a trade fair that are not targeting your customers, you would not be spending much of your time on social media platforms that do not have your customers interests, either.
• TIME FRAME
You will need to set when the tactics will be used exactly. What time of the year will be the best time to use your particular tactics? For instance, your email campaign could be set for the Fall, leading up to meet the demands of your customers towards spring.
It is also important to note that you will also need to put into consideration how frequently you will be utilizing your tactics. Will you be more active on a particular social media network than the other? Will your blog posts be on a weekly or on a monthly basis? This, although is what you must have reached to through adequate research on the best time to deploy your tactics
It will be important to note that you need to be cost effective as well while deploying your marketing tactics. Your B2B marketing plan might not really last longer if you don’t have a tangible budget.
You will also need to have some expected goals. You will be responsible for setting some achievable goals for your marketing, evaluate your progress and also reset and fine-tune your goals and tactics along the way.
B2B MARKETING PLAN TACTICS THAT YOU CAN UTILISE
There are quite a few tactics that you can utilize, but you might want to consider these:
1. Google Adwords
2. Blogging/content marketing
3. Email marketing campaigns
4. Tradefair and shows
5. Search Engine Optimization Marketing
6. Social Media Marketing Platforms: Twitter, facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest