What is B2B Marketing?
B2B, or business to business; is the general term for describing inter-corporate sales and marketing activities, in contrast to b2c, which are activities towards consumers. Whether your brand is B2B or B2C, you need a marketing strategy that is well thought out and clearly defined according to your goals. Spreading your message consistently, generating leads, maximizing ROI and ultimately increasing sales, is possible only with a strong strategy like this. Even though B2B and B2C has some common parts, there are also great differences between the two. Philip Kotler, one of the most prominent names in of marketing, explains these differences in his book “Marketing Insights from A to Z” as: “Marketing towards consumer is more popular but, marketing towards businesses involves bigger endorsements. In business to business marketing, the effective force is sales.”
In the B2B buying process, there are usually groups of professionals from various departments (avg. 5.4 people), but in B2C, consumers act on their own or with recommendations from their close social circle. In B2C buying, people don’t directly get in touch with a sales team, they generally buy from indirect channels; but in B2B, the buyer group deal with another group of professionals, mostly sales professionals, from the other firm. Therefore the buying process in B2B, occurs in a more formal and more professional atmosphere. So, we talk about two different strategies and different tone of voices accordingly in communications.
While talking to end consumers, it is better to keep your language as simple as possible and stay away from industry-specific terms. On the contrary, in B2B marketing, professionalism is the forefront, so using jargon makes it easier for you to impress and display your expertise to your clients.. Also in B2C marketing, funny and shareable content can be at the forefront; while in B2B requires a more formal language and you’re expected to give information and to create value.
B2B marketing can be optimised with a series of strategic activities which should be put into practice in a long period. There are some key points that depend on industry, company, geography, occasion etc., and others that can be implemented at a universal scale and can promise good returns. Unfortunately, we cannot talk about any miraculous formula or one shot quick result tips here. But it not too hard to make your business more successful with right strategy and right targeting. Consistency in all marketing activities and actions that aim to respond all the needs and demands of your customers in every point you get in touch with them, are very important.
After a brief introduction to B2B, we can take a look at a few important B2B activities, some of which are new to our lives and others that have been in practice for many years in marketing.
1. Content Marketing
According to Content Marketing Institute’s definition in annual content marketing report, content marketing is; “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
With digital marketing, it's harder than ever for marketers to capture the attention of consumers, because of the sheer amount of ads people are show each day. Since the brands get the attention of their target audience by creating value in content marketing, they reach a much more solid and advanced point in comparison to they achieve with expensive outbound marketing methods. “Rather than doing outbound marketing to the masses of people who are trying to block you out, I advocate doing inbound marketing where you help yourself "get found" by people already learning about and shopping in your industry.” says Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot. For that, you can position your website as a hub made of content, for your industry and reach out to anyone who might be interested in you through search engines, blogs and social media.
Here are some tips by Gareth Moon you can follow so that your business can benefit more effectively from content marketing:
- Listen to what your customers ask you
- Know that Google search is local
- Use Email because it converts better
- People convert best, have a face in addition to a logo
- Don’t copy other brands, especially bigger ones
- Develop an editorial calendar
- Google+ might matter to you
- Longer content is good
- Write every day
- Write for your audience
- Tell your story
- Use keywords
Content marketing, visual or written, long or short; brings you to the foreground wherever the content is, and it's interwoven with the other ways we'll talk about below.
2. Email Marketing
Everyday we hear new methods and new channels but email stands the same since its beginning, without losing much efficiency. According the data provided by the leading e-mail marketing application, which you can also use as an integration with Pisano and send billions of emails to more than 15 million users every month, MailChimp, the average email campaign opening rate is %20. It is quite possible to reach higher ROIs, if this high rate of campaign opening is supported by solid content.
The important thing here is to draw attention to the email first, then let the user read and interact without losing their attention. That’s why, it is very important how you look in your customer’s inbox. Consider the name of the sender and your title as the first important step to take, and so decide. Most companies send out branded emails instead of emails sent from individuals, but this approach might not be correct for you because professional expertise in B2B marketing is important, you can talk about your company in the subject section.
While fancy cues and impressive slogans may seem interesting, but generally it is enough to use a few simple words to summarize the content clearly when choosing the title of your mail. The more compatible the title and email are, the better it is because, usually, ambitious slogans tend to be followed by disappointing content.
Everything went smoothly this far and you managed to make your customers get into the email newsletter. Personalised and professional content that fits your audience’s interests and provides them useful infos can differentiate your position in inbox, so in your customers’ perception.
Finally, the frequency… “Often enough so you're not forgotten, but not enough to be perceived as spam” is a good frequency :) Of course, this is a rough definition, frequency is a stage that should be considered quite a lot. With the marketing automation applications we will discuss below, you can make determining your frequency much easier.
3. Search Marketing
Let's assume, in a regular day, you turn on your computer and get information about a sector or a company that you think you can do business with. What do you do first?You have opened your browser, wrote Google on the address bar, and explained the topic you are curious about with a few words and clicked on the top results. This process, which we all do at least once a day, has become one of the keys to lead generation.
Being one of those few top results; the one first seen and first clicked is what your competitors want, as much as you do. Search marketing exists to turn this desire into reality and is split into two popular concepts. The concepts we often hear about are SEO, means seach engine optimization, and SEM means search engine marketing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is a set of processes that enable your website to be better crawled by search engines and be recognized accordingly. Because it is shaped by many different criteria, solving the subtleties of SEO is a long and difficult process but very important.
Search engine optimization is divided into two: on-site optimization and off-site optimization.
The edits you make on your site for better recognition of your website by search engines are called on-site SEO. You can do on-site SEO by editing your headlines, a series of explanations under these headings, phrases you use often in content, lengths of content, and so on.
Search engines also try to measure your reputation on the web to test your credibility. Linking your site to other sites, people talking about your site and being popular will help you move to the top.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Planning and implementing the ads based on searches and results, for your brand to reach your target audience in search engines and increase the traffic to your website, is the subject of search engine marketing. Unlike optimization, it is a kind of advertising so, you need to spend money for search engine marketing.
4. Social Media
Social media does not need even a definition anymore because of its rapid development and suddenly it is in the center of our lives. Companies that do not have the intention of reaching the final consumer and who are doing B2B marketing are somewhat hesitant about using social media, but when the right channels are selected, you can get a lot of social media feedback. Yes, for B2B, Instagram and Facebook is not as important as it is for B2C. Instead, LinkedIn and Twitter are booming as social networks that are most popular in the business world and are effective in B2B marketing.
You can communicate effectively by linking the content you share on your blog and website, and by making sectoral shares in your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. In addition, you can make your YouTube account more dynamic, and catch up with the rise of video content.
When sharing on social media, remember that users can get back to you very easily, and you should think deeply about each and every step. It is very important to have a proactive strategy against crises and plan what you can do in unexpected and unlikely situations. Moderation would be much lighter than B2C because you are not talking to the final consumer, but you still need to periodically deal with comments and messages on your social media pages.
Social media is also used as a way of getting feedback from customers by many brands. Unfortunately, it is not possible to determine the nature of this kind of feedback, because there is no way to crawl the content of comments at this moment. For that, you need to review the comments and classify them by transferring them to a single table, which can be incredibly compelling if you have a high volume social media account. With Pisano's features, you can have a clearer understanding of the content of your social networks' feedback, and you'll have access to useful reports that Pisano generates for you.
5. Marketing Automation
Many marketers use marketing automation practices to make the channels we talked about above more efficient and effective. In today's multi-channel marketing world, there are many different variables, lots of data to process, and a lot of content that needs to be scheduled. Unfortunately, it's not so easy to use each of them simultaneously, to play with variables to get more efficient results while doing so, and to consistently achieve high performance. That's why many marketing professionals use marketing automation tools for repetitive tasks such as email, social media sharing, and website actions.
Marketing automation applications are very popular among B2B marketers, but these tools are also being used by B2C marketers too. Marketing automation systems, which can be used for different types of data such as page visits, downloaded items, filled forms and so on, sort all the results in different types of documents and make complicated operations easier. For example; with these apps,you can show a subscription form to people according to the time they spent on your blog, or you can show products and content to someone who has already reviewed a similar product or content on your website. These applications are very useful for B2B marketing professionals because they not only automate a tough processes but at the same time, can give your potential customers personalized and thought-out messages at independent of their stage in your marketing funnel.
Sure, the marketing automation is powerful technology; but its impact will be limited as long as it is not supported by quality content. So when you automate your marketing activities, it is very important that you present quality content that your customers will appreciate and provide value for them.
It is possible to take your marketing automation system one step further! You can include Pisano in your automation process, and learn what your customers want and need in every step. Evolve your content in the direction of your users’ needs and get more sophisticated flows, with the power of feedback! It is possible to integrate your Pisano account with many other automation tools. The feedback you receive when you reach your potential customers through B2B marketing channels, will help you constantly improve yourself.
Pisano have many wonderful features that make corporate customers’ job easier! Take a look at our enterprise page for more detailed information!