B2B marketing refers to the techniques and best practices used by companies with products and services sold to other businesses. Unlike many B2C marketing efforts, B2B initiatives must consider that a number of executives likely weigh in on a single purchase decision, so campaigns must address multiple audiences within the same enterprise. Additionally, B2B marketing must cater to (generally) long transaction periods.
When businesses are in the market for new solutions or methods aimed at improving their operations, the demonstration of value of is vitally important as research from Alinean shows that economic justifications are now required for 90 percent of B2B purchases. Moreover, promoting product usability and easy integration options are key components of B2B marketing campaigns. Still, B2B marketing requires flexibility aimed at customizing product and service pitches to the purchasing company.
While trade events are often cited as a top avenue for B2B marketing, internet marketing is also becoming vital as recent figures show that 93 percent of business buyers start their product research on search engines.
Reaching Business Buyers Online
Target markets must be carefully selected in the earliest stages of marketing a product or service to an enterprise. B2B marketers must consider the sizes, industries, budgets, revenues, etc, of the enterprises they target.
Of course, targeting business buyers also demands marketers know where to find them in an increasingly digital world – and studies suggest that decision makers are increasingly accessible via search, social, email and other channels.
Search is a prominent channel for B2B marketing. Because the B2B sales cycle is often longer than consumer-facing sales cycles, B2B marketers might accommodate prospects with longtail keywords and optimizing for phrases (and with content) that include “[product name] case studies,” “[service name] solution comparisons,” etc.
It is also advisable for B2B companies to use brand names as keywords in an effort to catch clicks from those further in the buying cycle looking for business-specific information. Using a brand name across a site also increases the likelihood that a company can own the first Google results page for a search for their business.
B2B Content Marketing
B2B marketing departments are often aggressive in their consideration of innovative forms of marketing. Content marketing has become more popular as a result of this. With more than 80 percent of B2B marketers planning to implement content marketing campaigns in the next 12 months, it’s clear that B2B vendors are altering their strategies. Content marketing addresses the trend of “B2P marketing,” which recognizes that B2B marketers must address the needs of buyers, thereby practicing “business-to-person” marketing.
As such, B2B content can address key questions that trigger people to purchase, such as: Why does your company need this? Why can’t an enterprise afford not to make this purchase? How will products, services, expertise, etc, make professionals lives easier?
Additionally, content can be published on websites to fuel SEO and shared through email newsletters and social campaigns to reach decision makers across the web.
Rise of B2B Social Marketing
Social media marketing is gaining traction among B2B companes looking to reach buyers online. With more than 800 million people actively using Facebook alone, businesses find social is an easy way to engage prospects. And Facebook is not the only valuable platform: Sixty-one percent of business-to-business firms say they’ve gained new customers via LinkedIn.
According to Inside the Mind of the New B2B buyer, 37 percent of business decision makers look for product information on social media, and 48 percent follow industry conversations on social networks. Business-to-business social budgets are rising, but social content best practices are often centered less on conversations and more on informational updates, customer support and/or promotions. Additionally, LinkedIn has been cited the top social platform for B2B lead generation (while many B2C companies opt to forgo a LinkedIn presence).