What makes B2B marketing different

With the increasingly integrated role of social media in business and society, the structure of B2B is steadily changing.

How is it Different from Standard Marketing Practices?

Selling to businesses versus consumers has several huge differences. For starters, studies show that consumers purchase with different emotional prompts than businesses do. Common motivators for consumers can include personalized factors such as impulse or status, whereas with businesses, different individual emotional motivators apply. Researchers buying for businesses tend to hold the fear of making the wrong decision, uncertainty of the level of confidence in the forecasted ROI, and look for a level of trust that can be established in the seller’s people. Businesses look at the reputation placed on the corporate brand and this drives the actual purchase decision. Companies want to be assured of more than just the calibre of the product, they look to answer “Can I believe in this company? Can I trust them? How will the reputation of this company affect my business?”

Marketing Practices for B2B Companies

Marketing to another business is far different than the selling practices used on the average consumer. For one thing, the B2B purchase cycle is an extended process, often lasting several months or longer. This means that fostering a long term relationship is vital to ensuring business another company, even more so than a consumer. Additionally, the products and services are typically more complex and sophisticated, with many of the benefits or detriments not readily apparent. This means that not only does a marketer need to cultivate an association with the buyer, they also need to provide an adequate product education to the buyer and its employees.

Reaching Buyers

There are far fewer potential buyers of B2B products—and they’re harder to find. Marketers can find several types of businesses that may need their products, but with an increasingly competitive global market, it may take up to several years to get the right people within a company to take a look at their product. This is greatly affected by companies preference for corporate brands that have the resources and backing to supply a company with a name and reputation that people trust. That said, B2B marketing is an evolving field, with new practices in play.

As time moves along, millennials are starting to become the majority within the workforce. For a generation that has only lived within the age of computers and cell phones, this results in a huge shift in the way that companies do research and make purchases. Buyers conduct online searches and surf corporate websites and social media pages. If a company doesn’t have a reputable online presence, they’re less likely to be engaged by a company. Researchers are looking at all aspects of a company, their social media presence, their website, basically anything that’s available within a .02 second Google search.

Surveys show that with a progressively digital marketplace, both consumers and businesses alike simply do not put any stock into a company that doesn’t have a social media presence. Digital agencies have caught on to this, and this is why most B2B companies at this stage have, or are improving their digital marketing teams, including social media sectors.

Business to business marketing is highly specialized and includes so many factors that are necessary to a favourable outcome. That said, the market is ever changing, and integrating the technique used for B2B sales with consumer sales can be a successful venture, as long as the knowledge specific to both is present.

Marleen Anderson works at Saxons IT Solutions, a company providing IT management services and training facilities. She is a self-admitted technology addict, with a huge interest in digital media and marketing.