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A Guide to B2B Marketing

B2B describes transactions between one business and another. A transaction between a wholesaler and a retailer could be described as B2B. A commercial transaction between a manufacturer and a wholesaler could also be described as B2B. When a company or business sells directly to a customer or a consumer then this is known as B2C.

In one supply chain from creation to customer, there are typically a few different B2B transactions along the way, with just one transaction involving the customer. For example a washing machine manufacturer will make a few different B2B transactions where they purchase the parts of the machinery. There will be just one final commercial B2C transaction of the washing machine to the customer.

B2B is also being used in other contexts. For example when employees from different businesses connect with each other through social media, this is known as B2B communication. B2B marketing is a widely used term too to describe the marketing of goods, products and services to other companies and businesses who can then go on to either use the product, resell it or use it as a component of their own service or product offering (as in the case of the washing machine above).

As well as commercial enterprises being involved in B2B transaction, so too can Governments, third sector businesses and educational institutions. Other terms can often be used to describe B2B marketing, most notably business marketing and industrial marketing.

It wasn’t until around the 1970′s that B2B marketing really began to draw attention. Until this time, selling products and services was mostly done directly to consumers via the various media outlets. Today it is possible to attend courses on the subject of B2B marketing and there are a variety of trade publications too on the subject.

Consumer marketing involves aiming a product or service at very large groups of people. Usually this involves media channels and selling through retailers. Business marketing on the other hand is much more personal and involves a very different approach. Advertising through the media or other traditional channels is not effective when selling to other businesses, so only a small amount of the overall marketing budget will likely be spent on this.

The personal nature of negotiations involved means that sales phone calls and meetings are often a better route to take. Direct mail shots can also work effectively in business marketing, as can editorials and adverts in trade publications related to the industry.

There are fundamental differences between marketing to consumers and marketing to businesses primarily because when selling to an organisation there is more than one person likely to influence the decision whether to buy. This can be quite difficult for anyone who is not experienced in the field of B2B marketing. If you have a business and are keen for some B2B marketing, then for a better chance of success you should seek help from specialists in this area.

Marketing companies can be of great assistance in successful B2B marketing. Not only do they have the knowledge and experience but they also have the contacts. It can be daunting setting out to negotiate with other businesses alone, so having a team of experts on your side is most certainly worthwhile. There are many ways a marketing company can help – from seeking out suitable businesses to potentially work with, to setting up meetings and ensuring the negotiations are successful and importantly fruitful deals are agreed.

B2B marketing is a very important part of business today. If you don’t have a lot of experience in this field you may do better seeking help from those who do. As well as assistance with B2B marketing, they can also act as your digital communications agency and help you achieve other marketing goals. To help you choose the best, make sure you view some previous marketing case studies so you can see the types of experience they have.

Kathryn Dawson writes articles for Connection2, a digital communications agency providing real solutions, marketing case studies as well as end-to-end B2B marketing for both direct and indirect Channels with 12 years of success in the technology sector.

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