What is B2B Marketing?

Jill Conway

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February 24, 2020 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

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B2B marketing is just what it sounds like: businesses and organizations that market to other businesses and organizations. And if you’re just getting started in this fast-paced arena, it’s critical to level up your knowledge of the practices, principles, and approaches to creating a successful B2B marketing strategy. But where do you start? In this guide, we’re covering everything you need to know about B2B marketing, with topics like:

What Is B2B Marketing?

If you’re in B2B (business-to-business), you’re not marketing to consumers directly. Instead, B2B marketing focuses on creating, promoting, and distributing materials that speak to a business or organizational entity. And the B2B marketing sphere includes several different methods of promoting products and services geared toward other companies, including content marketing. So, if a business or organization is considering purchasing your company’s products or services, the approaches to your B2B marketing strategy can ultimately influence this decision.

B2B Marketing vs B2C Marketing

Since each marketing method caters its strategy toward a specific audience, it may be easy to confuse the two. The main audience of B2B marketing is other businesses, and B2C marketing gears its messaging directly toward individual customers. In B2B marketing, your audience makes up the people who work in a management or leadership role and have the authority to make company decisions. This means the marketing messages your team creates should focus on how these organizations can benefit, rather than an individual consumer.

B2C marketing, on the other hand, targets the individual person. The messaging is often more conversational and informal to be more relatable. And while a B2B customer makes decisions that support their company, a B2C customer likely makes purchasing decisions based on their own needs and emotions.

What Audiences Do B2B Strategies Market To?

Even though B2B marketing speaks to businesses and organizations overall, it’s still important to know exactly who the people are making up your target audience. These segments are ultimately the decision-makers of their organizations. Depending on the products or services your company offers, your target audiences might change based on the stages in your marketing funnels.

For example, you might create and distribute content on your company’s website that informs potential leads about your offerings. This B2B audience is likely still in the consideration stage of the marketing funnel and may include managers, directors, or other company decision-makers. Here are several examples of the types of audiences that B2B marketing can target:

  • Companies and businesses that purchase products and services for staff and teams
  • Nonprofit organizations that purchase products and services for budget management
  • Medical and health organizations, like hospitals that purchase medical tools or software
  • Schools, colleges, universities, and educational institutions looking for instructional materials
  • Wholesale companies that purchase bulk products for resale to consumers
  • Government agencies that buy products for government use, like building supplies for roads and bridges

Related reading: Your Guide To Creating an Audience Profile for B2B Ads

Types of B2B Marketing Strategies

To reach a wide audience of B2B buyers, it’s a best practice to use several marketing tactics. By using and testing multiple approaches to your marketing strategy, you can ensure your brand’s messages reach the right decision-makers in your target audience. Here are some of the most common B2B strategies:

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most effective approaches to add to a B2B strategy. By creating content like blog posts, eBooks, and even case studies, you’re providing valuable resources for audiences to learn more about what your company offers. And providing useful information to your customers like this can help your company establish itself as an industry leader.

High-quality, authoritative content proves that your company knows its industry and what’s going on with current trends in the field. As B2B customers continue consuming your content to learn more, they’ll eventually build trust in your brand and products or services, resulting in higher lead conversions.

Related reading: The History of Content Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is another valuable strategy that can help your company reach more potential buyers. In this day and age, social media makes it easy to research companies, brands, and organizations. For this reason, it’s crucial to build a social media presence for your brand, build authority, and offer value to B2B customers who research your company online. Plus, the content your team creates for social can have a huge impact on engaging the right decision-makers and providing solutions to their companies’ challenges.

Email Marketing

Email is definitely not dead—plenty of businesses and organizations still rely on this method of communication. Because of this, email marketing is extremely successful in marketing to B2B audiences. Email marketing can deliver multiple content offers to engage different segments of your audience. For instance, your company’s email list may consist of customers who’ve already made purchases and customers who have expressed interest but haven’t made the decision yet. Using email marketing in this way, your team can provide value that addresses each audience’s specific needs.

Take email newsletters, for example. A B2B audience might receive newsletters each month with insights and updates about your company. And your team might use email marketing to keep audiences updated on new products, services, or special offers. The point is, a successful B2B strategy often includes email campaigns to generate marketing leads.

Paid Search Campaigns

As you build your digital marketing material for audiences, you’ll want to ensure you’re reaching your target B2B audience. You can do this by creating paid search campaigns. These are advertisements that appear on prospects’ computer screens and in search results if you use Google Ads. You can pay for these ads to target any buyers that may find your marketing and advertising material valuable. With paid search, you’re ensuring your company’s content appears in top search results, making it more likely that audiences discover your products or services.

Video Marketing

Video marketing can be beneficial for a B2B audience of people who may only have enough time in their day to view videos rather than read longer forms of content. Your team can also include videos alongside longer content, like in a blog post or on a service page to showcase your offerings. For example, you might create a short video that highlights the top features and benefits of your products and services. Then, your team can distribute the media across product or service pages, on your company’s homepage, or even in social media posts. The benefit of using video marketing in your strategy is the engagement factor—audiences are more likely to stop scrolling to watch, leading to more potential leads for your brand.

Read more about it: 22 Types of Marketing Strategies for B2B Companies

How To Build a B2B Marketing Strategy

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Image via Pixabay by StartUpStockPhotos

When marketing to your target audience, it’s best to develop a strategy that allows them to understand the benefits your product will bring their company. You can build an effective marketing strategy by following these steps:

1. Identify Your Target Audience

Before you begin marketing to an audience, you should define who it is you’re marketing to. Create a B2B audience profile to better identify who your ideal customers are. For example, if you sell security software, you can create a buyer persona for the typical person who would purchase your product. This can be someone in leadership who regularly checks their email and social media pages.

You can also determine what type of information they look for, what they value, and what challenges they’re trying to solve. These details ensure a well-rounded buyer persona that helps accurately target your company’s ideal customers with the messages you create.

2. Evaluate Product and Service Value

Once you develop a few different buyer personas and decide what your audience looks for in a product, you can determine what benefits your product can provide. Do this by analyzing the value of your company’s products or services and finding ways this value solves customer pain points. When audiences consider a purchase, they’re not looking just for features or uses; they’re looking for the benefit they’ll get from their decisions. With this in mind, position the value your company’s offerings provide in your marketing messages so customers can see exactly how your brand can help theirs.

3. Choose Your Marketing Channels

After creating buyer personas and value propositions, you can use these insights to find out where your target audience most likely views your brand’s content. Aside from your company website, these channels might include social platforms, search engines, partner pages, and even syndicated content on other sites. While a similar B2B company might use one channel, that same channel might not be the best fit for your business. That said, there are several things you can look for that can help your team select the best marketing channels for your company:

  • What social media platforms customers use
  • What types of online journals and publications they read
  • What industry events your customers attend
  • What they’re searching for online
  • The types of digital media audiences prefer

You can search various locations and platforms to see where your audience members spend their time. Once you know where your audience spends time online, create marketing materials to publish across these channels. For example, if you learn your audience mostly uses social media, it’s likely going to be the winning channel to focus on in your marketing plan.

4. Publish and Promote Your Brand Messages

As you build out the specifics of your B2B strategy, review how your team will publish and promote your company’s messages. Your team might look at a combination of approaches, such as content and email marketing, social media, and paid search. Include each of these strategies within the overall B2B marketing plan and outline the metrics your team plans to track to measure campaign performance. Once you’ve established what you’d like to communicate to your prospects, schedule and launch your campaigns.

5. Analyze Your Campaign Results

Monitor your marketing analytics to track the results. Once the campaign is finished, gather all the results to determine what parts of your campaign were successful—or weren’t. Make plans for improving different aspects of your company’s marketing messages where it’s needed, and take note of which approaches were most effective. For example, let’s say you learn your company generated a significant amount of conversions from white paper downloads, but rarely captured leads with Facebook posts. Understanding this, future strategies can focus more on this content marketing approach.

Related reading: How To Plan a B2B Content Marketing Distribution Strategy

B2B Marketing Best Practices and Tips

When marketing to a specific audience, you should ensure you’re speaking to them effectively. B2B customers are searching for valuable and beneficial solutions to their problems. This is why you should create marketing campaigns that are educational and relevant. Below are tips for providing valuable marketing material to B2B audiences.

Develop Relevant Messages

The approaches you use in your B2B marketing plan need to be consistent and relevant to the target audience. Whichever platform you distribute your materials to, it’s important to tailor each campaign to the audience. By maintaining consistency across your brand materials and including only the information that’s most relevant to your audience, you’ll stand a better chance of engaging and converting leads.

Create Calls To Action

Calls to action (CTAs) motivate users to do something—like click on a link or button—and are a staple of sales and marketing messages. Ensure your strategies include relevant CTAs that encourage leads to interact with your brand. For instance, email messages that contain CTA links or buttons with appealing anchor text can mean the difference between leads moving through your marketing funnel and bouncing out of the email altogether.

Position Your Company as a Thought Leader

In the B2B sphere, it’s critical to position your company as an industry expert. In each of your strategies, determine how the marketing messages will do this. With content marketing, you can create and promote articles, eBooks, and white papers to share your brand’s expertise on industry topics. The advantage here is that you’re positioning your company as the thought leader that B2B decision-makers should turn to when looking for solutions to their organizations’ challenges.

If you’re wondering where to start with your B2B content marketing strategy, contact the team at CopyPress. We’ll work with your team to analyze your current approaches, identify the weak spots, and help you develop a plan that supports your goals.

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Jill Conway

CopyPress writer

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