Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing in very simple terms, is the practice of marketing products and services to enterprises in order to keep them operating. This is in contrast to Business-to-Consumer (B2C) marketing which focuses on the consumer. Popular business-to-business markets include manufacturers, government, resellers as well as non-profit organizations. They focus on selling their services and products to other enterprises. One major way of distinguishing between business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing is the kind of products and services being sold and the type of enterprises that are targeted in the marketing efforts. While the former promotes products and services that are mean to help other enterprises operate such as equipment, spare parts and components, raw materials for production as well as supplies and services for processing.
In business-to-business marketing, the process of the purchase process is also a marked difference from B2C marketing. This is because, in B2B marketing, the sale is based more on logical considerations than emotion which is what obtains in B2C marketing. However, the cost associated in marketing in B2B is quite higher than what obtains in B2C. In marketing to other businesses, it is important to place emphasis on the logic of buying the product or service to the organization. The features and usefulness of the product or service in the achievement of organizational goals is what will drive the organization to make the purchase. This is because the key issues in the B2B market are information and knowledge.
Business-to-business marketing also involves a lot of research although the research is more complex than consumer marketing research. There are four issues that differentiate the research in business markets to consumer markets:
i. The comparative complexities in the decision making unit in B2B markets
ii. The comparative complexities in the product/services and applications for B2B markets
iii. The small size of customers in B2B markets that however have a bigger consumption of products and services than the B2C markets.
iv. The crucial nature of personal relationships in B2B markets.
B2B marketing also has also found an outlet on the internet as many enterprises have established their operations online. Enterprises like those that are involved in import and export have found the internet very useful in conducting their businesses. This is because of some comparative advantages that the internet offers them. These include:
i. The enhancement of the supply chain management system’s operations
ii. Enhances the product content and internal messaging system
iii. Enhances the Return on Investment (ROI)
In the course of conducting business online, B2B companies need to bear some facts or statistics in mind in order to succeed:
i. B2B companies need to be listed on search engines: According to statistics, over 70% of B2B buyers begin their purchase by searching on search engines
ii. B2B websites must be optimized for the right keywords: Bear in mind that 77% of B2B prospects prefer to use Google than other search engines and they also usually click on organic results.
iii. Invest in Pay per Click: Inasmuch as the organic results get the most returns, it is important to cover all bases by also investing in PPC programs.