Want to learn more about B2B marketing? This article will explain all you need to know—including the definition, benefits, common marketing channels, and current trends.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
- What is B2B Marketing?
- Who is B2B Marketing For?
- Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing
- Benefits of B2B Marketing
- Common B2B Marketing Channels
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing is the act of promoting and selling a product or service to another business.
Here’s the thing: Marketing to another business doesn’t mean marketing to the whole business as a single entity. Instead, different marketing strategies must be employed to reach each important decision-maker and influencer involved in making a purchasing decision.
This is why B2B marketing often contains many different marketing channels and content types. (We’ll take a look at some of the most common channels below.)
Who is B2B Marketing For?
Any business that sells products and services to another business or individuals within a business can benefit from B2B marketing.
The target of B2B marketing is each specific decision-maker or influential individual within the organization.
Individuals at any level of an organization—from people like the CEO and marketing manager to on-the-ground developers and sales reps—can be influenced by marketing campaigns. When they become interested in a product or service, they can influence their organization to purchase it.
Difference between B2B and B2C Marketing
B2B differs from B2C marketing (or consumer-focused marketing) in a few key ways:
Marketing to multiple influential individuals within an organization
Marketing to an individual consumer
Takes time to come to a decision
Decision-making can be very quick
Does a lot of research and comparison to decide
May do research, but it isn’t necessary to purchase
Decision-making based mainly on logic and calculation
Decision-making often based on emotion
Customer is looking for a good ROI (long-term value)
Customer is looking for a good deal (immediate value)
Marketing content uses industry-specific language and terminology
Marketing content uses everyday language to appeal to the general reader
Customer often wants to talk to a sales team to learn more
Customer usually doesn’t want to deal with salespeople
Benefits of B2B Marketing
Investing in a B2B marketing strategy for your business can lead to a number of benefits:
- Increased Brand Awareness. Not only does brand awareness naturally lead to more sales, it can also lead to funding opportunities, media coverage, and overall greater trust in your brand.
- Generating More Leads More Quickly. The main goal of B2B marketing is to help your business increase revenue by generating leads. Effective B2B marketing brings in more inquiries and booked demos from potential customers that you can convert into sales.
- Build Thought Leadership. Creating content and building an audience around your brand can turn your business into an industry thought leader. When you’re a thought leader, you have the power to help people think differently and create change inside your industry or niche.
Common B2B Marketing Channels
A marketing channel is a type of media that can be used to deliver marketing messages to a specific audience. Marketing channels include everything from digital ads and blog posts to billboards, TV, and plain-old word-of-mouth marketing.
These days, digital marketing channels are growing faster than any other medium. Here are some popular B2B marketing channels right now:
- Digital Ads
- Blog Posts
- Social Media
- White Papers and Reports
- Print and Offline Marketing
Digital ads are growing at an extremely fast pace right now. In 2020, B2B businesses spent an estimated 8.68 billion dollars on digital advertising. And it’s expected to balloon to over 14 billion dollars by the end of 2023 (source).
Ads are powerful because they allow your content to be seen by anyone, anywhere, at any time—whether they’ve heard of your brand or not.
You can place digital ads on Google search results and popular social media platforms, among other channels, to reach your ideal customer.
What do most people do when they have a problem? We pull out our phones and search for an answer on Google.
And B2B buyers are no different. When they encounter a snag in their business operations or get an idea to improve their performance in a certain area, many people will go to Google to search for a solution.
Businesses can capture that traffic by creating strategic blog content for each keyword you expect potential customers to search for. An SEO specialist can make sure your blog posts are written strategically, so they have a better chance of showing up on the first page of Google results.
By answering your potential customer’s questions, you have a chance to share your solution with them and potentially get them interested in your business.
Think that corporate decision-makers aren’t on social media? Well, think again. Research from Gartner shows that at least 46% of decision-makers use social media to research a B2B product or service before buying (source).
Businesses can utilize social media channels by posting regular content designed to educate B2B buyers about their solutions. It’s also a great place to interact with decision-makers on the platform. Besides posting content to your social media accounts, you can also place ads to increase your reach.
White Papers and Reports
When B2B decision-makers are looking for information, they usually want to get answers quickly without having to read long, drawn-out blog posts.
That’s where white papers and reports come in.
These are well-organized PDF documents that give your potential customers a quick overview or collection of statistics in an area they’re intesreted in.
This could look like:
- A State of the Industry Report
- Explanation of a new kind of technology
- Report on trends in marketing in the business’ industry
It’s a win-win for you and the reader—they get the information they’re looking for, and you get to show off your expertise in your industry and share your solution with them.
In the B2B Content Marketing report from the Content Marketing Institute, white papers and reports were rated the most effective B2B marketing tools for marketing professionals after in-person and virtual events (source).
Email is still king when it comes to marketing. While social media posts can get lost in overcrowded feeds, email gets delivered directly into your potential customer’s inbox.
Businesses can reach B2B buyers with email marketing by collecting email addresses in exchange for free resources like white papers and reports. As you send strategic marketing messages through email, your readers start to understand the value of your product or service and potentially become interested in purchasing.
Print and Offline Marketing
Digital content isn’t the only way to market a business. Offline methods such as printed materials, billboards, and TV are still just as important.
B2B advertisers still spend more on traditional versus digital ads, though that level is likely to flip in the next year or so. Traditional ad spending by B2B businesses was estimated to hit almost $15 billion in 2021 (source), compared to just $8 billion on digital ads in 2020 (source).
In this article, we’ve explained the difference between B2B and B2C marketing and some common marketing channels businesses use to promote their products and services.
Having a B2B marketing strategy in place is crucial in growing your B2B business. If you don’t have one yet, it’s time to consider how you’ll create a strategy for your business to stay competitive in 2023.
ReelAxis is a global B2B marketing agency powered by tech industry insiders. We help you generate more leads through SEO, email, social media, digital ads, print and offline media, video, and more. Book a demo to learn how we can partner with you to make your B2B marketing strategy a success.