What Is Business-to-Business or B2B?
B2B marketing means to market products or services to other companies. B2B stands for Business to Business. It is a marketing strategy based on companies doing business with each other. B2B can be contrasted with B2C, Business to Consumer, where companies target consumers.
What does B2B mean?
B2B means Business-to-Business, this term describes how companies market services or goods to other companies.
But what is B2B in practice? B2B sales can take place in several ways:
- Goods: A refinery sells raw materials to a tire manufacturer.
- Services: An accounting firm helps other companies with accounting.
- Goods and services: A credit card company sells financial services, concierge services and manufactures credit and debit cards for a bank.
Sometimes they even talk about B2D, which stands for Business-to-Dealer. It refers to the relationship between B2B companies and retailers. It can be said that B2D is an aspect of B2B.
How to do B2B marketing?
B2B marketing is about motivating other companies to buy a certain service or product. Several arguments can be used in marketing.
For example, a B2B strategy may use the following sales pitches:
- Time savings: By purchasing a particular service or product, the company can save valuable time that can be devoted to more profitable business. An accounting consultant can, for example, justify his hourly cost by allowing companies he helps to spend time on something more profitable than administration.
- Finances: Companies can save money by purchasing services or products from other companies. A logistics expert can, for example, give advice on how a transport company can optimize its workflow.
- Better offer: A company can improve its offer to customers or other companies by purchasing certain services or products. An example here could be a financial institution that makes it possible for an electronics retailer to offer its customers purchases in installments.
B2B: Several types of customers
A B2B marketing strategy targets other companies.
You can divide the customers into several different categories:
- Companies that use the products or services. This may, for example, be about construction companies that buy building materials.
- Companies that market the products to the consumer market. There are resellers and distributors (also called B2D).
- Government agencies and companies that buy products or services from companies.
- Non-profit institutions, e.g. schools and healthcare that buy products or services from companies.
That’s why, companies buy from other companies
Companies buy goods and services from other companies when it can benefit their own business in some way. Sometimes there is a lack of competence or resources to manufacture the product yourself or carry out the work.
An example is a car manufacturer that buys stereo equipment or GPS technology from a specialized subcontractor for their cars.
It is often cheaper to let other companies deliver certain services and products than to do everything yourself in the company.
For example, it is cheaper to let a cleaning company clean the office than to let office workers spend part of their precious time cleaning.
Who does B2B marketing?
Who does B2B marketing depends a lot on the type of company, its size and industry.
In a small company, it is natural that the CEO and company management handle much of the company’s B2B marketing.
In larger companies, the division of roles is often clearer.
The following people are often responsible for B2B marketing:
- Marketing Manager: A marketing manager has the strategic responsibility for the company’s B2B marketing. The marketing manager assesses what needs exist in the industry and draws up guidelines for how marketing should be conducted.
- B2B salesman: Responsible for implementing the company’s B2B marketing strategy. A B2B salesperson develops and maintains contact with the company’s customers and potential future customers.
- Marketing coordinator: A marketing coordinator acts as a link between the sales department and the marketing department. The job is about coordinating tasks, including B2B marketing.
B2B vs B2C
B2B is about when companies turn to other companies. B2C, Business-to-Consumer, instead describes a business relationship between company and consumer.
The big difference between B2B and B2C is which the target group is: companies and consumers respectively. This characterizes in several ways how marketing is designed.
Communication in B2B is often more direct and personal than in B2C.
In B2C, the company addresses a large audience, for example through advertising on television, in newspapers, radio and through resellers.
In B2B, a personal contact is required instead. A B2B salesperson can, for example, establish a contact with the purchaser or with the company management.
Relationships within B2B are therefore characterized by informal contacts, complexity and continuity. The amount of potential customers in B2B is much smaller than in B2C.
Therefore, a B2B salesperson must formulate his strategy and offers carefully so as not to burn any bridges through misdirected marketing.
Direct marketing in B2B is often more effective than in B2C.
Common to marketing in B2B and B2C is that it should inform about the product or service’s potential to meet a certain need that exists in the market.
Less and less difference between B2B and B2C
Recently, the difference between B2B and B2C has diminished. Much of today’s B2B communication also includes the consumer market.
Social media and the almost endless flow of information have contributed to greater collaboration between end consumers and companies.
New trends arise through the interaction between consumers and companies. Today’s consumers are more educated than ever.
Their influence has increased. Today’s companies are also more dynamic and less hierarchical than before. All this makes it easier for B2B companies to take advantage of the consumer market in their marketing.
Thanks to the proximity to the market, a B2B company can, for example, increase demand among customers’ customers and thereby increase its own sales.
Here the web and SEO along with social media are useful tools.
In the long run, it can make your business perceived as invaluable among your corporate customers. Therefore, it can be said that the boundary between B2B and B2C is to some extent being blurred.
B2B and SEO
To do good B2B marketing, the company needs to be visible. Here we can reconnect to the difference between B2B and B2C.
In B2B, longer time is often required from established need to completed purchase compared with in B2C.
Decision making often takes time. In addition, companies often need time to gather relevant information before making decisions.
To succeed with B2B marketing, you may therefore need the help of several “touchpoints” for your offer to lead to a purchase decision in your prospectus.
Therefore, it is important to be visible online and do b2b SEO. It is not enough to have a website, the company must be able to be found in Google as well.
This is where search engine optimization comes into play. With SEO, you can increase the likelihood that potential customers will contact the company.
If the company is not included in the search results and on lists of suppliers, it must never be included in the buying process.
Potential customers will most likely do research in Google before making a decision.
Can they find good information about your company there increases the chances of a positive decision. Well-executed SEO also means that the company needs to spend less money on ads.
Examples of good B2B marketing
Good B2B marketing is not about trumpeting a message to the broad masses as in B2C. Instead, it is about making a name for yourself as a reliable partner in the industry.
This can be achieved by, among other things:
- Social media: Reach both companies and consumers through Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media.
- Seminars: Organize seminars and presentations with information that other companies can benefit from.
- Webinars: The Internet equivalent of a seminar. Share interesting information via a webinar. One advantage is that it almost does not have to cost anything at all and that you can reach customers all over the world.
- Blog: Reach potential business customers through a well-written blog. By publishing a blog, the company gets increased exposure online. This can also be part of the company’s SEO strategy to support B2B marketing. A good example is our own blog about SEO and digital marketing.
- Glossary: Build the company’s position as an authority in its industry by publishing a glossary. Here you present relevant terms that have to do with the business. With this strategy, the company can get leads in the form of companies that use Google to find information.
- Newsletter: Keep in touch with existing, new and potential customers through a newsletter. Feel free to entice subscribers to read more on the company’s blog.
- Take advantage of website visitors: By taking good advantage of the traffic that comes to the website via SEO and ads, you get value for money. This can be done, for example, through buttons (Call to Action – CTA) or forms to sign up for the newsletter.
- Personal offers: Successful B2B marketing is based on the realization that each customer is unique. Think about the customer’s needs and create an offer that you think best meets this need.
- Fairs: Perhaps the most traditional way to outreach B2B. Sometimes it is invaluable to have a direct and “real” contact between buyers and sellers.