Welcome to this week’s no blogging clue post. We will be discussing the process of business-to-business (AKA B2B) marketing compared with business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing and the most effective strategy of B2B marketing. B2B marketing is also referred to as industrial marketing.
What is B2B marketing?
Business-to-business (B2B) describes commerce transactions between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer. Every product and service that we purchase is is passed through a supply chain where it gains additional value at each stage, usually through means of modifications and additions of product functions. In order to create a supply chain that is efficient, synchronised and as cost-effective as possible, businesses must market their products and services to each other. B2B marketing is therefore, ultimately about meeting the needs of other businesses so that products can be finished to a high standard and in the most cost-effective manner. The demand for the good or service, however, is not driven by the business customer, but is determined by the consumers’ demand for the finished product.
B2B marketing vs. consumer marketing
Apart from the obvious difference of who the buyer of the product is, B2B markets involve more complex decisions when compared with consumer markets, where decisions are usually made on an individual basis, or as a family. The decision making unit (DMU) in B2B markets, however, can range from a single office worker purchasing stationary equipment, to a large and experienced team agreeing/ disagreeing on the decision to purchase a new plant. The complexity of the DMU will most likely depend on the risk and value of the product that the decision concerns (demonstrated in the diagram below).
Businesses usually buy specialised products or in large quantities, therefore, the cost of each B2B purchase is high. Thus, they will most probably want to meet with suppliers and test samples or prototypes before finalising a purchase. Therefore, transaction costs for B2B sales are much higher than those of B2C and since there are a number of people involved in the decision-making process, the length of B2B transactions is usually much longer too.
Since businesses often buy in bulk, source supplies regularly and are long-term buyers, it is important for them to develop good personal relationships with suppliers and/ or customers in order to ensure that business customers receive the most cost-effective deals and quality customer service from their suppliers, and that suppliers maintain a steady flow of on-time orders from loyal and reliable customers.
Another difference between B2B and B2C buying is that businesses tend to make more rational decisions than individual consumers. We usually leave most of our emotions at home when we go to work and make decisions based primarily on the needs of the company rather than our personal thoughts. Therefore, businesses buy what they need as opposed to what they want. They are less susceptible to marketing that aims to provoke emotional desires and instead make well-informed purchasing decisions.
B2B marketing strategies
In general, B2C marketing is aimed at the mass market, or groups of many customers, whereas B2B marketing targets business customers more specifically and must meet their more specialised needs exactly. Because business purchasing decisions are generally made by a committee, they will analyse the market in order to find the most suitable products at the lowest cost. Due to their knowledge of the market, suppliers to businesses must market their products in such a way that their brands are clearly defined and they target the appropriate segment. The most effective way in which brands are established is by differentiating one’s products and services. Therefore, businesses should ultimately adopt a strategy of differentiation in order to create a strong brand, resulting in loyal business customers.
Thank you for reading this week’s blog and we hope you understand the term B2B marketing a little better now. Make sure you tune in next week if you haven’t got a blogging clue about guerrilla marketing.