SEO Glossary: B2B Marketing

 

 

In a nutshell: What is B2B marketing?

B2B (business-to-business) marketing is used to acquire and serve business customers. As part of B2B marketing, the company's own products and services are staged and marketed in such a way that they meet the specific requirements of corporate customers. B2B marketing thus differs in several respects from B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing, where private customers are the target group.

Business-to-business marketing: delimitation of B2B marketing

There are several ways of specifying the term online marketing. It is important to differentiate between business-to-business marketing (B2B marketing for short) and business-to-consumer marketing (B2C marketing for short).

 

In B2B marketing, business customers are the target group; for example, companies that buy raw materials from other companies in order to manufacture their own products and sell them to consumers. Consumers, aka private customers, are the target group of B2C marketing.

 

Depending on whether products or services are provided to B2B or B2C customers, various aspects of marketing vary.

 

  • Choice of marketing channels: B2B marketing usually uses fewer channels to acquire customers than B2C marketing.
  • Style and message of the advertising measures: B2B customers value a factual, expert and fact-oriented style of advertising measures.
  • Type of argumentation: Just like the style and the message, the argumentation in advertising and in customer discussions should be factual, expert and fact-oriented. The focus of marketing is on rational arguments; if anything, emotional arguments play only a subordinate role.
  • Relevance of after-sales support: Since companies constantly need supplies of materials, services and more for their work, they are usually long-term and recurring customers. For this reason, a lot of emphasis should be placed on thorough after-sales support for the absolute satisfaction of B2B customers.
  • Implementation of customer relationship management (CRM): Especially considering the fact that fewer marketing channels are usually suitable for B2B marketing, maintaining personal relationships is important. Many new customers are generated in B2B marketing through referrals.

 

 

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Specifics of target groups in business-to-business marketing

Just as is generally the case in online marketing, the precise definition of the target group is first and foremost decisive for the success of marketing in the B2B sector. Following the definition of the target group, a concrete marketing strategy is developed and implemented. The strategy is developed and implemented in accordance with the target group and its characteristics and requirements.

 

Complex target group analysis for B2B companies

In the B2C sector, target groups are defined by imagining a buyer persona; that is, a person who would buy the product or service. In the B2B area, however, a target group analysis cannot be carried out in this way. The reason for the complexity of target group analysis in B2B marketing is that the majority of companies employ numerous employees and usually have several "decision makers".

 

Even if the employees are not the decision-makers in the company, they are often taken into account by the board of directors and the management in the decisions. In addition, entrepreneurs must also include the needs of their end customers in decisions. So in B2B marketing there is not THE ONE buyer persona, but a more diversified target group.

 

Criteria of target group analysis for B2B companies

Thus, special sociodemographic characteristics must be included in the target group analysis for B2B companies. These include, for example, the industry and the legal form of the company as well as the size of the company.

 

Beyond socio-demographic characteristics, hard facts about the company are important:

 

  • What is its financial situation and what is the company's clientele?
  • Is the company looking for high-quality materials because it has affluent B2C customers as its target group?
  • What values does the company communicate? Does it manufacture its products exclusively with materials from sustainable cultivation?

 

Especially in today's times, when corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental protection are gradually gaining in importance among end customers, companies in B2B marketing also attach importance to these aspects. In order to convince end customers not only qualitatively but also morally of their own products, certain values are defined and adhered to in corporate activities.

 

Emotional buying arguments are not as important in B2B marketing as in B2C marketing, but they may also need to be taken into account: If a company has private end customers and they make their purchasing decisions emotionally, a B2B customer must also include these emotional criteria in his decision-making process.

 

Ultimately, B2B marketing thrives on defining the target group in such a way that both the demands of the B2B customer and the demands of that customer's target group are taken into account. This "double" definition of the target group, so to speak, demands a great deal from the companies developing their B2B marketing concept and the customer journey.

 

 

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Strategic orientation of B2B marketing and implementation of B2B marketing measures

Designing and following a strategy gives B2B marketing a clear direction. This means that all B2B marketing measures can be played out in a targeted manner via the appropriate channels. An important channel that forms the basis of the entire online presence is the website.

 

Companies can link the corporate website with all other channels in marketing. The other channels include, for example, social media. While B2C companies can use pretty much any social medium with the prospect of good conversion rates, in a B2B marketing strategy the focus should be specifically on the social media Xing and LinkedIn.

 

Xing and LinkedIn have made a name for themselves as business networks for the B2B sector and offer various useful functions that help with marketing. One of these functions is account-based marketing: this marketing is characterized by the design of a special marketing campaign for a single customer or a small group of customers. Designing special B2B marketing campaigns for individual customers results in a greater effort, but in the case of above-average profitable customers in the B2B sector, account-based marketing is potentially promising and can be worthwhile.

 

Because B2B companies are usually long-term customers and pay regularly, account-based marketing is used more often in B2B than in B2C business. It is marketing with an extremely high degree of personalization. In general, personalization is one of the most important principles in B2B marketing, which is why email marketing and a separate sales force should also be used in lead generation when acquiring new customers.

 

 

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Conclusion on B2B marketing

B2B marketing is the marketing of products and services to companies. In contrast to B2C business, where consumers or private customers are the target group, entrepreneurs make their purchasing decisions with a main focus on rational aspects, place a high value on personalized advertising and attach great importance to personal support. Good B2B marketing must be geared to these aspects and should take place using expert content marketing.

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