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B2B Marketing

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What’s the Difference?
Is business-to-business (B2B) marketing really any different from business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing? After all, B2B marketers have many of the same concerns as their B2C counterparts. Both groups must deal with product development, distribution, branding, and promotion. And the line between B2C and B2B often blurs – for example, Dell Computers markets successfully to both audiences.
B2B Marketing Up Close
But there are real differences, especially when the product or service being promoted has a high price tag. It’s a considered purchase with a longer sales process. Instead of promoting a bar of soap that consumers buy in a supermarket, B2B marketers can find themselves selling industrial machinery that costs $100,000 or a service contract worth $1,000,000. Before a buyer will make that kind of investment, they need to be sure that the product will actually help their business increase revenue or reduce costs. 
  • B2B products and services may require a more significant investment.
  • B2B products and services are often complex with a steep learning curve.
  • The B2B evaluation process can be extensive and perhaps include a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotation (RFQ).
  • The purchasing decision often involves multiple individuals from different departments and levels in the organization.
  • Each industry has unique jargon, thought leaders, and cultural conventions that B2B marketers must take into account.
The Evolution of B2B Marketing
Before the rise of the internet and social media, the B2B marketer’s job was simpler. Marketing was often charged with merely providing branding and sales collateral, PR, advertising, and trade events. For the most part, the sales team found and developed their own marketing leads – through connections, on the golf course, or by cold calling into target accounts. For high-ticket items, a well-compensated local salesperson would spend months educating the buyer and developing the case for the purchase. They understood that they had to develop a relationship of trust and provide the right information at the right time within the buying process. That’s a lot of golf!
With the advent of the internet, the behavior of buyers – how they identify, understand, evaluate, and buy products – has fundamentally changed. This change has led to a revolution in B2B marketing tactics, actually making the B2B marketing function much more important to the B2B sales process. In fact, digital marketers have taken responsibility for much of the relationship building that salespeople used to do face-to-face. They’re tracking Digital Body Language and using data-driven methods like to identify qualified leads, provide information they need, then determine the exact moment to pass each lead over to sales. Only then will a salesperson meet the prospect and close the sale.
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