The B2B market consists of companies that sell to not directly to the end consumer, but other companies that continue the production process. The largest sales volume among existing markets belongs to B2B markets. In this market, even a single customer can make a very large purchase.
Businesses included in the B2B market are not just private or commercial businesses. Many different businesses and organizations are included in this market, such as public institutions, government organizations, associations and foundations, even sports clubs and special events.
B2B markets, with their activities that do not involve the end consumer, have different workflows and customer management than other markets. Therefore, there are specific marketing activities that cover these businesses.
B2B marketing is a broad field with larger sales targets and focusing marketing activities on authorized individuals such as buyers and senior management. Therefore, activities such as advertisements and campaigns are shaped according to the priorities of the target audience.
B2B marketing includes a process that prioritizes the corporateness and prestige of companies. The impression that companies leave on their customers, the image they draw according to the end user and the thought they create in the internal staff are very important. While creating a B2B marketing strategy, a plan is made considering all these.
There are basic rules that a corporate organization must follow while marketing. These include; increasing sales, reducing costs and managing reputation. B2B companies that do not apply these three basic rules correctly cannot be successful.
B2B Market or Commercial Market
B2B market or commercial market is a term that refers to business transactions between companies.
Intercompany transactions has a long history as end-consumer purchase. However, it did not have a specific classification or definition in the past.
With the emergence of the concept of digital marketing, the B2B market began to take shape and separated from the B2C market. The size of the product or service and the diversity of the target audience enabled B2B markets to create their own marketing strategies.
Although it differs in terms of marketing activities, end-user needs are also the trigger on the basis of the B2B market. The demands or needs of the companies serving the end user determine the direction of the B2B market. Therefore, the B2B market is not completely independent of the end-user or consumer market.
The increase in digital marketing activities and the diversity of digital marketing channels has expanded the scope of B2B marketing. The resulting diversity of processes has made B2B marketing known as a marketing field in its own right.
Many researchers and marketing agencies working in the field of marketing have started to focus on B2B marketing. Thus, the B2B market or commercial market has a much larger audience in the industry than the consumer market.
The primary goal of the buyer in the B2C market is to increase profits. In B2B, it is very important to reduce costs as well as increase profits. Both low cost and efficiency per purchased product or service are the basic principles of sellers and buyers in the B2B market.
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing, defined as Business to Business or intercompany marketing, is the marketing activities of businesses that make large-scale sales to other companies. B2B marketing processes are mostly carried out by digital agencies known as B2B Marketing Agency.
The most primary goal in B2B marketing is to meet customer needs. However, it has a different focusing process than B2C. Buyers in the B2B market are made up of officials who buy large quantities of products and have as much knowledge of the product features as the seller. Therefore, the focus of sellers is individual customers. A special marketing strategy should be created for which official of the company is targeted.
The steps to take when creating a B2B marketing strategy are generally positioning, pricing and promotion. However, the operation processes of these steps are more comprehensive and complex than B2C. For this reason, the starting point of the activities of B2B marketing agencies is target audience analysis. The needs, priorities and character of the targeted audience form the main lines of the marketing strategy.
For many corporate companies, the concept of B2B marketing is still not clear enough. For this reason, many of the well-established companies run unsuccessful strategies under the name of marketing. The older the company, the more biased it is towards digital marketing activities. B2B marketing agencies both battle these prejudices and try to break a technology-free habit that has been established over the years. Therefore, the first step of the B2B marketing process is to explain to companies what digital marketing is.
B2B Marketing Strategies
B2B marketing strategies are designed to take maximum advantage of companies’ strengths. In order to get ahead in sectoral competition, it is necessary to set out with successful strategies. It is very important to use the marketing element correctly in order to create a successful strategy.
Creating a strategy can be defined as a course of action for future planning. For companies operating in markets that have specific conflicts and rules, such as B2B, strategizing is crucial.
The competitive advantage factor is the key point when creating a strategy. Therefore, adopting a holistic approach by focusing on realistic benefits increases strategic efficiency.
The first step of B2B marketing strategies is to provide the corporate image of companies. Corporate image encompasses every aspect of the company, from its identity to its culture. The process that we call company identity or corporate identity and begin with logo design is the starting point of the image. Corporate identity design both defines the corporate structure of companies and forms the basis of the brand awareness process.
After the design elements, comes the communication of the company with its employees, business partners, stakeholders and customers. The characteristic of this communication shapes the corporate culture. Company culture will be one of the determinants in the strategic planning process.
Companies serving in the B2B market are customer-oriented, not product-oriented. For this reason, customer-reflective features such as company culture or image are very important. Looking at the created strategy from the perspective of the customer and noticing possible market trends in advance are the features that distinguish B2B companies from others.
Corporate strategy is created to ensure that a company is accepted as an institution and evaluated as a whole. Key elements of strategy formulation are also present in the corporate strategy process. In addition to these elements, an effective holistic approach is determined on the whole institution and its external image.
Some questions need to be answered when creating a corporate strategy:
- What are the core competencies of the company?
- Which are the business partners? Which companies are targeted?
- What is the distribution of the service-resource balance?
Thanks to these questions, current situation analysis and strategy planning can be done within the institutional framework.
Corporate marketing strategy begins with the determination of corporate goals without ignoring market variables. The created strategy is updated in connection with the momentum it has achieved during implementation. Thus, a dynamic planning as well as institutional is implemented.
Communication in B2B Marketing
The rules of communication in B2B marketing are more complex and powerful than in other areas of marketing. In a standard setting, customer relationship management is measured by the skill of the direct sales professional. However, in B2B marketing, the impact of companies as institutions on each other is very important. Building strong relationship bonds creates interactions that will provide a lifetime customer experience. That’s why one of the most important aspects of B2B marketing is personal experiences with customers.
The main object of customer relations established in B2B marketing is to build customer loyalty. They implement a successful communication strategy that is trusted by the customer and has impressive power over the customer.
Apart from customer loyalty, close relationships with customers are important in determining other needs and obtaining more data. As in all marketing areas, information is a very important resource in B2B marketing. Customer relationships from which this resource can be obtained ensure a strong bond.
The strong influence created by the customer has an impressive role in determining the customer’s needs and purchasing decisions. Regular customer relations and lead generation activities are managed with CRM systems. Many B2B companies have powerful CRM integrations like HubSpot or Salesforce. In this way, they can easily manage activities related to new customers and sales while establishing strong relationships with their existing customers.
B2B Marketing Channels
B2B marketing channels contain many different methods used to reach potential customers. The methods that can be used organically or inorganically focus on playing an impressive role in the customer’s decision-making process by creating an interaction between the brand and the customer.
Inbound marketing, which is the most important component of digital marketing, also has a critical place for B2B marketing strategies. All activities to attract the attention of targeted customers in order to creating potential customers, that is, lead generation, are included in inbound marketing. It is aimed to influence the decision-making processes of the customer by ensuring that the brand is presented correctly in front of the targeted customers.
Outbound marketing activities consist of traditional advertising processes. All marketing activities with a one-sided communication process, such as television and radio advertisements, billboard works, are considered outbound. It is very important for customer groups that adopt the traditional approach.
B2B Email Marketing
The most important tool with low cost and high efficiency transformation for B2B marketing is e-mail marketing activities. It is aimed to increase customer loyalty with monthly or weekly mailing strategies. Continuous customer interaction is increased and lifelong interaction is aimed by nurturing important elements such as after-sales customer experience.
B2B Content Marketing
Content creation is a type of marketing that looks easy, but is quite comprehensive. Beyond just explaining the features of the product or service, it also represents the corporate voice and communication power. Content marketing also tends to have a strong impact regardless of the size of the organization. It is very important to reach the right target audience from the right platform and to use the right form of address. In addition, content marketing is directly nurturing and decisive for digital marketing channels such as SEO and Google Analytics.
Account Based Marketing
ABM (Account Based Marketing), which is a very important channel for B2B marketing, offers a definite success opportunity for accurate customer targeting. A high-performance return on investment (ROI) can be achieved with direct-to-customer ABM. The customer with the high transaction volume targeted by the institution is kept in the focus and the customer is reached through various channels. Thus, a focused and high success rate strategy is implemented, not a scattered marketing strategy.
B2B SEO Marketing
Search Engine Marketing is one of the most important components of digital marketing. Therefore, its impact in B2B marketing is also quite large. With SEO studies, it is ensured that the institution is visible to larger audiences with the right keywords on every platform. Successful Google Adwords studies are carried out with SEO marketing, which increases the effect of brand awareness and brand positioning strategies.
The corporate image of B2B companies is very important. All marketing activities take place within the same institutional framework. For this reason, the display advertising work should be in accordance with this institutional integrity. With banner advertisement designs designed in accordance with the brand identity and marketing strategy, a sense of integrity is achieved and brand awareness is increased.
B2B Marketing Goals
Creating demand is briefly explained as attracting the attention of the target audience. The main purpose of all marketing activities is to create demand. The need for the product produced or the service provided is a result of the demand created. The first step in creating demand is to identify a need, and the second step is to meet that need. Thanks to the tools used in B2B marketing, the right need and the right demand creation processes are created with measurable strategies and analysis.
Creating potential customers, that is, lead generation. It is one of the main purposes of marketing activities. In addition to ensuring the satisfaction of existing customers, increasing the sales power of the brand with new customers is also a marketing goal. Creating quality leads is achieved by performing the target audience analysis correctly and constantly setting up-to-date targets. Quality lead generation processes increase the conversion rates of potential customers to actual customers.
It is very important to use the power of marketing in the conversion process of potential customers to actual customers. New customers are created with strategies aimed at influencing the decision-making process of customers who already know the brand and can make a purchase. It is ensured that potential customers trust the brand and that the first communication is strong. Thus, a successful marketing plan is created by shortening the decision times of the customers.
Innovation in B2B marketing
- Adopting new technologies: B2B marketers are increasingly using new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and augmented reality (AR), to improve their marketing efforts. For example, AI can be used to personalize customer experiences, while ML can be used to identify and target high-value prospects.
- Creating new content formats: B2B marketers are also experimenting with new content formats, such as videos, infographics, and interactive tools, to engage their audience. These formats can be more effective than traditional content formats, such as white papers and case studies, in reaching and engaging B2B buyers.
- Using new marketing channels: B2B marketers are expanding their reach by using new marketing channels, such as social media, influencer marketing, and account-based marketing (ABM). These channels can be used to reach a wider audience of potential customers and build relationships with them.
- Personalizing customer experiences: B2B buyers are increasingly expecting personalized experiences from businesses. B2B marketers can personalize the customer experience by using data to understand individual customer needs and preferences. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as customer segmentation, behavioral targeting, and predictive analytics.
- Creating customer communities: B2B marketers are also creating customer communities to provide customers with a place to connect with each other and share information. These communities can be a valuable source of feedback and can help to build customer loyalty.
Here are some additional examples of innovation in B2B marketing:
- Using data to drive decision-making: B2B marketers are increasingly using data to make informed decisions about their marketing campaigns. This data can be used to identify which campaigns are most effective, target marketing efforts to the right audience, and measure the results of marketing campaigns.
- Experimenting with new marketing tactics: B2B marketers are not afraid to experiment with new marketing tactics. This can help them to discover new and more effective ways to reach their target audience.
- Embracing change: The B2B marketing landscape is constantly changing. B2B marketers need to be willing to embrace change and adapt their strategies to stay ahead of the curve.
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Heidi Taylor, “B2B Marketing Strategy”, 2018
Kim Ann King, “The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing”, 2015