Every company needs marketing to succeed. It makes no difference whether your potential customers are private citizens or other businesses. “B2B Marketing“.
But the biggest names in business-to-business, including Salesforce, Microsoft, and Oracle, are aware that marketing to other businesses is a challenging task. There might be several decision-makers and levels of approval.
However, B2B marketers still deal with real people, not abstract companies; therefore, the fundamentals of marketing still apply.
What is B2B marketing?
Business-to-business marketing, or B2B marketing, is the practice of marketing products and services to other businesses as opposed to individual consumers.
B2C marketing, or marketing to the consumer, refers to business-to-consumer brands like Walmart, Starbucks, or Apple. Every component of a B2B company's marketing strategy—from the original brand concept to the protracted sales cycle—is impacted by this specific target market.
Lead-based marketing and account-based marketing are two strategies that fall under the general umbrella of B2B marketing.
Lead-based marketing is a comprehensive approach to gaining new customers where a message is tailored to a large audience. Whether they fall inside a B2B company's target market is irrelevant.
The extremely broad top of the lead-based marketing funnel indicates that this approach attempts to gather as many leads as possible, regardless of how qualified they are to become customers. Only a tiny portion of these many leads may make it to the bottom and turn into paying clients as they go down the funnel.
Account-based marketing is a targeted approach for high-value B2B customers, where each client is handled as a separate market. An account-based B2B marketing strategy is relationship-based, as opposed to lead-based marketing, which takes a one-size-fits-all approach.
Every account and customer journey is different. When using account-based marketing, a B2B company targets certain businesses that it wants to convert into customers and pursues them using specialized strategies.
As a result, the top of its funnel is smaller than that of a lead-based approach since potential customers are, in theory, already closer to conversion.
B2B vs. B2C marketing: What’s the difference?
The audience is the main distinction between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing: B2B sells to businesses, while B2C sells to individual consumers.
Both B2B and B2C marketers use the same basic marketing principles, but due to the differences in their target audiences, the precise strategies and methods used vary.
- Decision-makers. Typically, in B2C, a single person makes purchases. Decision-making in the B2B sector often involves a large number of people. Purchase choices may need team input and must be passed up the management chain for approval. The work required to decide whether to acquire new software for your sales team is often greater than the effort required to get new eyeglasses.
- Sales cycle. The B2C sales cycle may be quite quick since there is just one decision-maker involved. There is, of course, some length point, which is often related to the advertised item's price. The B2B sales cycle is long since there are often more levels of input and approval needed.
- Brand strategy. B2C branding often appeals to consumer emotions. In contrast, B2B branding appeals to the intellect of the buyer by demonstrating via statistics and formal case studies how the product or service is the dependable remedy to a real or perceived pain point.
Creating a B2B marketing plan
No one marketing company works for all B2B companies. Still, the fundamentals of developing a marketing strategy are generally relevant to the majority of B2B businesses.
1. Determine brand positioning
Your product and brand will stand out from the competition with the aid of brand positioning. Consider the problem that your product or service is resolving and what makes it special. In other words, consider the problems that it resolves and what makes it different from competing products.
This might include emphasizing your high quality, first-rate customer service, simplicity of use, or affordable price. If your product has a wide variety of use cases, you could create many different positioning statements.
2. Define target audience
Your ideal client is your target audience. They might be described by a variety of factors, including their industry, company size, locations where they operate, yearly revenue, and the number of years in business. Your product or service will probably address a need or a problem that your target audience has.
3. Develop channel strategies
After identifying your target audience, you must decide how and where to reach them. Channels for marketing come into play here.
Marketing channels are ways of distributing content, and they include:
Given that it's a social network with a strong emphasis on business, LinkedIn is often the social media channel that B2B marketers use the most. To reach their consumers, B2B marketers may also use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
Social media is a medium that is both organic (you don't have to pay to use it) and paid (meaning you can distribute relevant content beyond your follower base).
Email may be used by B2B marketers to communicate content and messages to people whose email addresses have been given to the business. You may start by sending new subscribers a welcome email, then invite them to webinars or provide links to new blog entries.
B2B marketers may purchase advertising space on search engines or place banners on websites that cater to their target markets. For instance, a digital ad firm in New York City may pay to have its website appear as the top result when someone searches for “digital ad agencies NYC.”
A blog is a platform that may not always be used for content distribution, but it serves as a central location for content that a marketer may direct potential customers to. You may post anything, from SEO-driven content to extend the top of your funnel to product comparisons (between you and your competitors) to complete a purchase.
4. Create content pieces and assets
42 percent of B2B buyers say they typically read three to five pieces of content before speaking with sales. These resources represent many prospective customers' first substantive contact with your brand. Making sure your product is actually beneficial is the best way to stand out.
Common content formats include the following:
- Blog posts are articles you publish. These may cover a variety of business-related themes and range in length. Executives may author thought leadership blogs to discuss important concepts or the future vision of their company. The product marketing team may author blog entries regarding freshly released features.
- Gated content requires potential buyers to fill out a form before accessing it. The content that customers unlock should be really valuable to them since they are giving you something valuable—their contact information, industry, or job title—so it should be something that goes above and beyond what is on your blogs, like a white paper or ebook. Using marketing automation, you may send someone a series of emails to nurture a connection with them once they give you their contact information.
- Video and podcasts can help you reach people who might prefer to watch or listen to content rather than read it. These multimedia forms may nurture the development of connections with potential customers and advance them in the buying process.
- Webinars—Live video events—which often require attendees to provide their email addresses—can behave as gated content.
5. Execute campaign
A marketing endeavor centered on a major theme is called a “campaign.” A typical campaign would start with the release of some marquee content, such as a white paper, which you promote on your social media networks, via automated email marketing, and through sponsored ads.
A campaign of this kind may last six to nine weeks to account for the longer selling cycle of B2B transactions, and you would give priority to the social media outlets that your target audience research revealed were most significant to your prospective buyer.
For something more involved, like a webinar, you might promote it on social media, via email, and through paid search ads for two weeks before the event. On the day of the event, you might increase email and social media activity, and you might continue to periodically send attendee-specific email content for the following days or weeks.
6. Measure and improve
After your content is online, you'll keep an eye on its performance data and choose how to extend its reach. Is your LinkedIn ad creative not generating the volume of visits you anticipated? Consider adjusting the creative to see if performance improves.
B2B digital marketing tactics
A digital marketing strategy known as “content marketing” involves producing and disseminating instructional content that is relevant to and valuable to your target audience. Approximately 73% of companies that boosted their expenditure on B2B content marketing from 10% to 70% of their overall marketing budget saw great results.
There are many different types of content, including product tutorials, in-depth instructions, infographics, and checklists. It tries to attract customers to your website or online business who will then become paying customers.
For instance, SparkToro has a fantastic blog where its team discusses marketing, business, and audience research.
Search engine optimization
The goal of SEO, a digital marketing strategy, is to improve the visibility of your website and online content on search engine results pages (SERPs). Within the next 12 months, 46 percent of B2B companies want to increase their spending on content marketing.
The business of SEO is to increase the amount of traffic that comes from SERPs to your website, which should eventually increase the number of buyers and income. similar to how, when looking for “wholesale clothing suppliers,” CLOS clothing supplier appears in the number 2 spot on Google.
Social media marketing
SMM is a digital marketing strategy that uses social media sites to promote your products or services. Social media influences 84% of C-level and VP-level purchasers' purchases.
SMM seeks to increase exposure to potential clients and followers while establishing authority in a certain market. Today, B2B brands promote their brands online using social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and even TikTok.
For instance, Mailchimp often shares engaging content for followers on Instagram. Everything from book suggestions to amusing videos and news videos may be found online.
Testimonials and case studies
Case studies and testimonials are effective tools B2B marketers may use to build connections with their target markets.
B2B marketers may demonstrate the value of their products or services to potential customers by sharing customer success stories, which can help build credibility and trust. They may provide potential customers with a clearer idea of how their products or services might be used to address certain issues.
By using case studies and testimonials, B2B marketers can establish themselves as recognized authorities in their sector and generate leads.
Lead creation offers various advantages to B2B marketers. It may help in developing a list of potential customers, identifying potential customers, and maintaining a complete sales funnel. Additionally, lead generation may help B2B marketers build their brands and raise brand recognition.
Referral marketing is exploiting your pleased customers to generate new B2B business leads for your company. A referral program may assist B2B marketers in reaching new clients they otherwise wouldn't be able to. In addition, referral marketing may help a brand's efforts to build credibility and trust.
B2B marketers may use email marketing to target buyers with tailored communications. B2B marketers may send targeted emails to buyers who are most likely to purchase by segmenting their email list.
For instance, Typeform provides free users with access to platform templates and product upgrades. This boosts product uptake and encourages consumers to use Typeform.
With the help of paid advertising, a business may reach potential customers and generate leads. Reaching a larger audience and promoting brand recognition are both possible with targeted messaging. Paid advertisements may be used to promote exclusive deals and retarget current customers.
The top advertising channels for B2B marketers are Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Facebook Ads. Paid advertising works best when it's combined with other marketing initiatives like SEO, email marketing, and content marketing.
One of the best methods for B2B marketers to engage with their audience and promote their products or expert services is via video marketing. Videos may be used to increase leads and sales, build credibility and trust, and help with important messages.
To offer their products or services to potential customers, marketers use product demonstrations and explainer films. To demonstrate how their products or services have benefited other businesses, they also employ video testimonials and client case studies.
Higher conversion rates, engagement, and brand recognition are seen by B2B marketers that use video marketing. Additionally, along the sales funnel, video marketing may generate and nurture leads.
Podcasts are a fantastic way to reach a new audience. You may access a new group of potential customers and supporters by starting a podcast.
Your audience will start to trust and appreciate your brand when you provide top-notch, educational, and engaging content. You'll be able to generate more leads as you build greater trust.
Your brand's exposure may greatly benefit from a well-run podcast marketing campaign. More people will hear about your brand as your podcast grows in popularity, which will lead to an increase in leads and customers.
B2B marketing best practices
Although B2B customers are companies rather than individuals, it’s important to remember:
- B2B purchase choices may be anticipated, measured, and improved upon with the help of analytics and skillful marketing.
- Your audience should be your priority. Gain a thorough understanding of their motives, difficulties, and top priorities. Create buyer personas from your research so that other departments may learn more about your target buyers.
- The decision to purchase is a journey. Design each stage of your marketing funnel carefully to keep potential customers interested. Give them the tools they need so they can convince stakeholders to buy your product or service.
- Track performance and make adjustments until you discover what works. Spend more money on the kind of marketing that yields the highest returns.
- To assist salespeople in closing transactions, spend money on B2B marketing tools. To simplify the marketing process and close more transactions, you'll need at the very least a CRM (customer relationship management) system, team communication tools, lead-generating tools, and market intelligence tools.
Ultimately, decision-makers are still humans. Speak to them as such.
B2B marketing trends
Keeping up with the most recent trends might be challenging since the B2B marketing environment is always evolving. To remain ahead of the competition, it's crucial to keep up with the most recent trends.
Here are five B2B marketing trends that will dominate in 2022:
1. The rise of account-based marketing
A strategic approach to B2B marketing called account-based marketing focuses on significant accounts rather than wide market groups. ABM has become increasingly popular lately as more businesses use it as their primary digital marketing strategy.
Improved ROI, greater integration between sales and marketing, and more focused campaigns are just a few benefits of using ABM. The necessity for more personalized content and the difficulty of assessing performance are two challenges to implementing ABM.
Despite these challenges, ABM is still a highly successful marketing strategy that is only going to grow in acceptance over the next several years. It's time to start organizing and putting your ABM strategy into action if you're thinking about doing so for your business.
2. The continued growth of content marketing
The content marketing sector will be worth $487 billion by 2026. The ongoing expansion of digital marketing and the expanding usage of content marketing by businesses of all kinds are the main drivers of this growth.
Blog-using B2B marketers generate 67% more leads than those who don't. One of the many benefits of blogging is this. Blogging also has other benefits, such as better SEO, more website traffic, and greater conversion rates.
The most successful B2B content marketers have a written strategy for content marketing. Your objectives, target audience, content themes, and distribution methods should be described in this document. It will be difficult to evaluate your content marketing activities' progress and make improvements without a strategy.
3. The rise of video marketing
The format of the video is becoming more common for marketing content. Recent research found that 82% of all internet traffic is video.
To engage potential customers and reach new audiences, many businesses are turning to video. An excellent way to personalize your brand and build the audience's trust is via video.
Video may be used in your marketing efforts in a variety of ways, from product demos to client testimonials. When used properly, video can be a potent tool for generating leads and closing sales.
Here are some tips for creating effective video content:
- Keep it short and sweet. Make sure your videos are no longer than two minutes since people have short attention spans.
- Make it pleasing to the eye. Use eye-catching images and visuals to keep viewers interested.
- Make a compelling call to action. Describe the action you want viewers to take after watching your video.
- Try out various video genres. Test out several video formats to find which ones are most effective for your brand.
If you haven't started using video in your marketing yet, now is the time. Video can be a potent tool for generating leads and sales with the appropriate strategy.
4. The power of personalization
It's important to recognize the power of personalization. Marketers that want to thrive with personalization must focus on producing relevant, focused content that appeals to their audience.
Personalization may be used to forge closer ties with customers and prospects, which can lead to interactions and increase conversion rates.
Personalization, a powerful tool for marketing marketers, can assist. When implemented properly, personalization may lead to more website visitors, engagement, conversions, and satisfied customers. Focus on personalization if you want to improve the results of your marketing in 2023.
5. The rise in AI
As 2023 approaches, AI will certainly play a significant role in the world of marketing, particularly when it comes to B2B marketing.
Here are some ways AI will excel in the coming year:
- Targeting ideal customers precisely. By leveraging data and using AI-powered tools, they can identify the specific characteristics of their ideal customer and target them with laser-like precision.
- Automating repetitive tasks. B2B marketers are using AI to automate repetitive tasks, like email marketing and lead generation. Doing so can free up their time to focus on more strategic tasks.
- Personalizing marketing messages and content. By understanding each customer's specific needs and interests, AI can help marketers create highly relevant and personalized content.
- Generating insights from data. By analyzing large data sets, AI can help marketers identify patterns and trends they can use to make better decisions.
- Optimizing B2B marketing campaigns in real-time. By constantly monitoring data and making adjustments, AI can help marketers ensure that their campaigns are as effective as possible.
These are just a few of the ways that AI is being used in the world of B2B marketing. As AI continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative and effective uses for it in the coming years.
B2B Marketing FAQ
Marketing products or services to other businesses or organizations are known as business-to-business marketing or B2B marketing.
Businesses that market their B2B products or services to other businesses are said to be engaged in B2B marketing. For example, an office that sells office supplies may target businesses that need to market supplies for their staff.
The four types of B2B are product, service, technology, and information.
When a business offers its products or services directly to customers, this is known as B2C marketing. When a business sells its products in a retail space, this is a typical example of B2C marketing.