No matter your audience, identifying qualified leads and determining where they are in their journey is essential. However, your approach is also determined by whether you’re marketing to consumers or to other businesses.
Although they share some similarities, B2B customers have different pain points than the average consumer. Therefore, they require a different approach. What are these differences, and how do they influence your marketing strategy?
Let three basic principles of B2B marketing be your guide.
B2B vs B2C Marketing
You may think that the main difference between B2B and B2C customer is need. Consumers need to feel a connection, while businesses just want information. This is true, to some extent, but the differences are a little more nuanced than that. The approach, communications style, and messaging are different, even when selling the same products or services to both customer bases.
There is some overlap when it comes to certain aspects of marketing and the buyer’s journey, and that journey is rarely linear, but generally:
- Consumers are concerned with finding products that will improve some aspect of their life. B2B customers are concerned with finding solutions that further their business interests.
- B2C relationships are transactional. Business-to-business relationships are long-term.
- Marketing to consumers works best when there is an emotional connection. Business customers are more focused on results.
- Messaging is essential in B2C branding. Reliability is more important when interacting with businesses.
- Consumers are swayed by what aspects of a product benefit themselves. Businesses must evaluate decisions according to what’s best for the company.
- Buying decisions are usually made by the consumer. Business purchases often need several layers of approval.
The 3 B2B Principals That Everyone Should Know
3 Core Principles of B2B Marketing
1. Always Keep Things Simple and Transparent
Running a business is complex enough on its own. There are many moving parts, long- and short-term decisions to consider, and marketing strategies to plan. That’s why it’s essential to keep things simple when marketing to businesses. The less decisions they need to make regarding products and services, the better.
If you offer several products, package them in bundles. When flexibility is important, demonstrate a willingness to tailor services to meet their requirements. Display transparency and accountability when it comes to meeting commitments, deadlines, and delivery dates, and give them a heads up before a minor concern becomes a major problem.
Create landing pages and emails that are concise and to the point by clearly stating who you are, what value you offer in relation to competitors, and the specifics of what they need to do next. Save further elaboration for your website and blog. Be transparent about pricing, and let the customer know exactly what they’re getting for their investment.
2. Prioritize Relationship Building
Whether you’re supplying paper products or selling SaaS, your customers are looking for long-term relationships with partners they can count on to deliver. Once you’ve established a standard, work hard to keep that standard as a baseline for future interactions. When customers learn to see you as a brand they can trust to provide reliable results, consistent quality, and accessibility, they’ll stick with you through thick and thin.
Prioritize customer retention in all of your branding activities. That means providing quality products at competitive prices. It also involves excellent customer support that’s fast and responsive, regular interaction, and proactive relationship management. Tailor your approach and interactions to meet the needs of the customer, and try to anticipate their needs whenever possible. Listen to your customers so that you can let them know when you develop a new product or service that will benefit their business.
Follow up is also essential for building solid B2B relationships. It’s not enough to meet delivery deadlines. Check back to ensure that the quality is there. Provide several methods of communication, including SMS and online chat. Inform the customer as soon as a new product is in the works, and offer discounts or deals whenever possible. Let the customer know that their business is important to you.
3. Realize That Information is Currency
When searching for products or service providers, businesses want a decent ROI for their efforts. Most marketers focus on selling products or services. Smart, successful marketers focus on selling solutions. They also back their claims with a proven track record of results.
Business-to-business clients want to know what they’re getting before they invest in your brand. Rather than merely saying that product X does this or that, show them how your brand will positively impact their business. Focus an value rather than price through cost/benefit analysis. Demonstrate the effectiveness of your brand through customer testimonials and case studies.
Create content that’s educational and sprinkle it with facts and statistics that are relevant to the customer’s pain points and journey. Infographics are another great way to condense a lot of information into a form that’s easily digestible.
When it come to B2B marketing, establishing an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship is essential. By following the core principles of marketing to businesses, you’ll position your company as a source of solutions that prospects can depend on for reliable, consistent results.
Level343 works with clients from a range of industries to craft effective B2B marketing strategies. Get in touch with us to arrange a consultation about your next marketing campaign.