Business-to-Business Marketing

Whether you’re a sole proprietor, a start-up or an established small business, marketing is a crucial component of your company’s success. Getting it right requires careful planning, execution and evaluation. A unified marketing plan maximizes the impact of each campaign toward a common goal: growing your customer base and fueling your company’s growth.

Often referred to as business-to-business (B2B) marketing, this form of marketing involves the sale of products and services to organizations that either use them for their own internal purposes or resell them to the end consumer. This market differs from the consumer market in several ways, including the size of the potential buyers, the type of product purchased, who is involved in the purchasing decision and the buying process itself.

The business-to-business market is a relatively mature industry with many companies competing for the attention of buyers. To compete effectively, marketers need to understand the buyer organization and identify their specific needs. They must also determine how their product or service will help the company achieve its goals. To facilitate this understanding, the marketer should establish a relationship with a key contact in the buyer organization and understand how decisions are made and by whom.

A number of different types of media are used in B2B marketing, including direct mail, email, webinars, trade shows and sales collateral. The business-to-business media landscape is evolving, with companies offering new, more effective ways to communicate with customers and prospects. For example, e-newsletters and e-promotional campaigns have become more sophisticated and targeted.

In addition to traditional media, some marketers now use metamediaries and infomediaries in their B2B marketing strategies. These companies act as brokers and offer a variety of products, services and information through the Web. They charge businesses fees for providing search, content and other services and receive a commission on sales that result from leads or click-throughs.

Business markets have a lot in common with consumer markets, but there are important differences. In general, there are fewer consumers in the business market, they buy in larger quantities (for example, tires by the thousands) and the prices of some single items can far exceed those of consumer goods. In addition, many business-to-business purchases are triggered by underlying demand in the consumer market. For example, a surge in demand for cars creates demands for casting sand, forging machines and plastic components and fuels the economy of a city or country.