B2B marketing is marketing aimed at corporate clients. This dramatically changes the approach versus B2C marketing and introduces many new concepts and strategies. This article will discuss the differences.
B2B marketing is any form of marketing that is used by a B2B organization. B2B simply means Business to Business which in turn means that your company sells services or products to other companies. This is in contrast to B2C which means business to customer and describes the kind of business that sells something to the general public.
An example of a B2B company could be:
- A web design company
- A consulting company
- A marketing company
- A supplies company
- A wholesaler
- A business lawyer
- A business loans provider
For instance: while you can use television advertising, it is not generally as effective seeing as most people do not watch television during work hours. That in turn means that you will be advertising to someone who is not currently working, which means they may well not be thinking about your product.
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If you are a sole trader, own a business, are high up in someone else's business, or perform a service or sell a product on the side of your main job, then getting your own business cards could be one of the best and most efficient ways to market yourself and get more custom and service. Even if you just happen to own a website, then printing matte laminated business cards can be a great way to increase you visitors.
While many businesses and individuals will pour a lot of money and time into various types of marketing such as advertising and mailing lists, they often forget the more direct and simple forms of marketing and spreading the word about a business. Often it is not seeing an advert on television that attracts us to use a service, or seeing it in a magazine, but instead simply hearing about it word of mouth or getting a noticing a building or work site that inadvertently brings the business to their attention.
This means doing the little bits yourself and spreading the word to people you meet and asking them to pass that good word on further will help almost as much as paying for expensive advertising or using other more in-depth methods – and something that can help greatly in this way is a card which can actually be physically handed on.
Business cards give you a piece of promotional material that you can carry with you at all times that will thus be constantly to hand when attending networking events or conferences. This means that if someone should speak to you about what you do for a living or about needing a service that you can provide, you can then give them a business card which will give them all the information they need in order to get in touch and start using your company. Of course, it's easily possible to simply tell someone about your business and this would save money on business cards printing. However, the difference between giving someone a beautiful business card and just telling them about your company is large – not only is it more impressive and likely to lead more of a memorable impact, but it can also be handed on and retrieved later. It also allows people to see your details.
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Fliers are close behind business cards as an excellent option for improving awareness of your brand. These can be posted through letterboxes and left in reception, or they can be included in packages when someone orders something from you.
A trade show is a show that is designed for a specific industry or trade. This is where companies can look for specific services or partners that they need in order to operate and it is a great way for a business to find corporate clients as well as to gain more coverage.
When you create trade show exhibits you do so in order to attract positive attention to your company, to get people interested in your business and talking about your products or services. You want people to come over to your trade show exhibits then and ask questions and think about signing up to your company and you need them to choose your exhibits to look at over all the others there.
However, you don't just need people to come over to your trade show exhibits, you also need to make sure they remember them when they leave and this is their real aim and the real way in which you can make a big impact on the industry.
First of all, you want to differentiate your business for every other one there. When you walk past a bunch of white sheep and there is one black one among them the one that you will notice and then talk about is the black one. To differentiate your trade show exhibits then try to go for a different color scheme and different imagery. Your banners then should be different colors from everyone else's and should use memorable images – perhaps a mascot or perhaps an image of something more unusual. At the same time, you can use gimmicks to make your trade show displays different – such as by having a water feature, by having music, by having a film or by having anything interactive. You want people to be able to describe your trade show displays without referring to the name and so this means if they can say 'the one with the video' you've succeeded.
Where you place your trade show exhibits is crucial to your success. Ideally you will go somewhere where you can be seen first or last out of all the trade show exhibits at the event. This is because of the 'primacy and recency' effect which dictates that we remember things that we see first and last out of a selection.
Press Release/Industry Papers
An industry mag or paper is a publication that is aimed specifically at industry professionals. For instance, there are many magazines aimed at lawyers and law firms and there are many websites that serve a similar role. You can also find papers that are aimed at property developers, at events organizers etc.
By getting coverage in these papers then, you can get word out to organizations and individuals that work in that industry. One way to ensure this happens might be to release a press release with relevant information that magazines and media sites may wish to cover.
Corporate gifts are of course gifts that you give in a corporate setting – this means that you might give them to a client or customer visiting your offices to discuss business, that you might give them away at trade shows or launch parties, or you might give them to your business partners or even staff after business meetings.
There are many benefits of corporate gifts, and they are a highly professional and effective form of marketing and improving relations. Here we will look at a simple list of the things that promotional products and corporate gifts can benefit you with.
They Increase Brand Awareness: The most common corporate gifts are also promotional items. This means things like pens, mugs, mouse mats and USB sticks that have your company name printed on them, and this is a highly effective form of marketing and strengthening your brand. Here you are using this space as a canvas, and then by placing your logo, company name, or message on the item, you are able to show that image to countless people. This will mean first and foremost that the recipient will see your logo and will be reminded of your business highly often as a result. At the same time though when they use that item, they will be accidentally showing your logo to whoever is in the room or in the area they are in. Finally, if they end up in any photographs or other media using your apparel you may even be able to immortalize your logo and spread it internationally.
Improving Relationships: Giving corporate gifts is a gesture of goodwill and it shows generosity. Thus if you want to impress a client or a business partner, then giving them some form of promotional gifts will help to ingratiate them to you.
Like any other business, corporate businesses can benefit from SEO or Search Engine Optimization. This is a method for getting to the top of Google so that when a company searches for your services, you will be among the top results. This can work particularly well for local businesses that target local keywords. Other forms of digital marketing also apply here, such as email marketing and social media marketing. Content marketing is also highly important.
Launching conferences gives companies the opportunity to invite both members of the press and potential clients. This could be a launch event, news of a new product, service or branding, or potentially just an event intended to celebrate the business. Make this memorable and inviting and it can lead to new connections and coverage.
Different Approaches to Marketing Your Business
As you can see then, there are many approaches to B2B marketing and this is still only addressing a few options.
What is key to notice is simply that this takes a different approach to B2C. This is less about volume and more about building relations and going after specific clients. Typically, a B2B client will be worth more than a B2C customer and that means you can invest more time and effort into securing their business.
This is one reason that in the corporate world, the line between marketing and sales tends to be a little more blurred. Companies will often invest lots of time and energy into using CRM tools (contact management) and making calls to try and impress clients. They might also try to impress clients by taking them on days out etc. B2B companies might also benefit more from other alternative forms of marketing, whether that’s affinity marketing for instance, or affiliate marketing.