Although Business to Business (or B2B) marketing is such an integral part of many company’s success, it often gets overshadowed and overlooked by Business to Consumer marketing which could be seen as more appealing or exciting. This is probably because most people who are learning about this topic are consumers themselves, not businesses. Nevertheless, it is something that everyone should be aware of, especially if you currently are, or are thinking of becoming, a business owner.
So what is Business to Business marketing? It is when products or services of one business are sold to another business and not to the ordinary public consumer. This market is actually larger than the Business to Consumer market and contains players such as manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, farms, construction firms, service industries, the government, or even non-profits (https://www.marketingcareeredu.org/business-to-business/). It is also worth mentioning that B2B marketers spend about $85 billion a year in promoting their goods and services to other businesses all around the world.
What makes B2B marketing very interesting is that there is a lot at stake with marketing and selling these products and services. For example, a clothing company that is domestically or internationally selling their apparel to consumers has to worry about fewer things when trying to get the consumer to purchase than does a B2B company who is selling a software program to another company that is crucial for its existence. There is often a lot more capital that is tied up in these transactions, and they usually take longer to close because the company is going to want to make sure that the company they are purchasing from is going to provide the ROI they need, vetted for expertise and experience, and worth their investment. These calls are also made by many people and executives and not always by just one person.
With this in mind, it is necessary to understand that different marketing techniques may be needed in order to obtain the best results. For example, a B2B company marketing their products or services on social media may not see as good of results as compared to say sending representatives from the firm to speak with the target company’s management team in person. Social media marketing can be great for companies looking to appeal to consumer emotions which stimulates them to make an impulse decision to buy their products or services, but with B2B companies, their customers are not typically making these impulse decisions. That is not to say that social media marketing cannot be utilized by B2B companies to build brand awareness and their reputation, but it is worth noting that their conversion rates for those ads will most likely be lower than that of a Business to Consumer company. On top of this, a B2B company must also keep in mind the exchange rate of currencies and how this could potentially affect the transaction.
Overall, it is important for B2B companies to really understand their customer and product/service, as well as how it is best marketed to their target customer as well. A company or management team that is used to selling goods or services to consumers has to be willing to adapt to the changing landscape of selling to businesses in order to become successful.