What is B2B marketing and how does it differ from B2C?
Let’s begin with a somewhat different interpretation that we give to the concept of B2B – B2B is: Businesspeople to Businesspeople.
Why? Because, after all, what is a business relationship but a long-term relationship between specific people that happen to be engaged in professional business?
It is from this perspective that we define B2B to understand that, in fact, the real difference between B2B and B2C marketing lies in the nature of the relationship we want to build with business people, compared with the relationship we have with our customers or consumers.
But what does this mean? You ask…
In B2C we want to sell a product. To differentiate that product from the competition’s, we create an emotional connection between the product and the consumer. With B2B, on the other hand, we are selling not only a product but usually an entire gamut of services and implementations, and so we aspire to create a long term relationship with the business customers that will enable us to continue providing them with our products and services for a long time. This is where we attempt to link the buyer not only to the product but also to the people behind it.
To do so, to convert customers into long-term loyal customers, we have to create a name for ourselves, build our reputation, convey expertise and become their trusted advisors in our field.
If you understood the principle, you can now build a B2B marketing plan and use the right platforms to create the right message that will convert you into everything you want to be.
How do you do it? You ask again. How do you become an authority in your area of business? How do you turn your product into a category of its own, a generic name, a synonym of equivalent products on the market?
By using the same marketing channels and tools that you already know but in a different way.
Doing it right
You have to create a great deal of content, good, professional content. You have to create content for the website, for articles, for professional blogs, and also for conferences and exhibitions. Remember that B2B has to do with business customers. They are professionals, know the market and understand the lingo. The more innovative, interesting and appealing the information you give them, the more professional and worthy you will look in their eyes.
Let’s take as an example digital media. Digital platforms enable you to create content and establish a dialog and interaction. That’s where you want to go because in B2B, content carries a great deal of weight.
The digital campaigns that you create must be very focused in terms of message and location. Banners must be placed in relevant professional websites or used as remarketing campaigns that follow your website’s visitors everywhere they go. You should also be using specific social-media channels. Invest less in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and more in LinkedIn, which is considered more professional and allows discussion groups, articles and advertising.
Generate a significant viral effect. Work according to the inbound-marketing approach, which maintains that there must be mutual relationship between all Internet platforms, giving potential customers a feeling of strong presence, leadership, and control. The sensation that you’re everywhere and a strong web presence will convert you and your business into a professional and current force that has to be reckoned with.
At conferences and exhibitions, take advantage of informal encounters to establish a true relationship with potential customers that is based on their appreciation. Give expert lectures, participate in panels, hold seminars on professional topics which you master – all these will demonstrate your professional expertise and innovative approach to this thing we call marketing.
When you embark on advertising campaigns, they must be very focused and bring you tangible and measurable leads. Use up-to-date distribution lists, with specific contact persons. Run personalized campaigns targeted specifically for those that should be aware of your message. You must pique their curiosity about your product. These campaigns must be accompanied by a structured telemarketing that will lead to many meetings.
Reinforcing the difference between B2B and B2C
In B2B, you meet your customers directly, not through the TV screen or billboard sign. In B2B you establish a real relationship with them, one on one. Even though we are talking about business, personal touch and rapport are very important ingredients. Interesting…
Even this blog is part of our ongoing B2B efforts. Here we share with you, the business reader, our professional insights. We try to make your reading interesting (and if you read this far, we have probably succeeded), and hope that these ‘words of wisdom’ will lead you to a relationship and cooperation with us in the future.