To be or not to B2B

Marketing ‘is marketing, whether your audience is businesses or consumers. Correct? In many ways, perhaps, but there are distinct differences. As in B2C marketing, the first step in B2B marketing is understanding your customer. From understanding their success motivations and professional affiliations to their influence levels and web habits, a matrix of the various customer persona segments is key to developing a rounded marketing program.

Marketing by any other name still sells as sweetAfter this key step, the marketing program activities differ.

Business buyers are sophisticated. They buy products or services to help increase their company’s profitability, reduce costs, boost productivity and, ultimately, enhance business success.

Because B2B buyer purchases can be high in both quantity and cost, the sales cycle is longer and multi-layered. The buying decision is based on rationale and business value versus the short, emotional impulse buy.

The buyer’s professional reputation is at stake for every transaction, meaning choices tend to be driven by relationships instead of product exposure.

The targets are usually small and focused, unlike the vast consumer markets of B2C. They rely on education and awareness programs for product clarity, versus merchandising or point-of-sale promotion.

Put your marketing dollars into marketing programs and materials that offer your target audience what they need to make a rational buying decision. Help them determine the value of the product and service you offer through quality materials, testimonials and other activities that build credibility. As you create your marketing plan, remember what is important to your target audience, and create your marketing programs to speak to them.