B-to-B (or B2B) spelled out

If you’re selling ice cream to consumers you need business-to-consumer (B-to-C) marketing. If you’re selling ice cream to grocery store chains or capital equipment to ice cream manufacturers (or associated logistics and transportation services) you need business-to-business marketing or B-to-B!

What makes B-to-B unique?

Marketing to businesses is quite different than to consumers, for example:

1. B-to-B audiences are much smaller than B-to-C (dozens vs. hundreds, hundreds vs. thousands, etc.). Your customer and prospect list should be scrutinized, segmented, appended on an ongoing basis. The more you put into it, the more strategic you can be.

2. B-to-B marketing gets less exposure or fewer impressions than consumer marketing. So, it’s important that your brand message be clear, concise, and absolutely consistent in every context.

3. B-to-B audiences include people who make purchasing decisions as a profession so, they will tend to be more pragmatic than emotional.

4. The B-to-B sales channel- (e.g., your salesforce, independent reps, dealers/distributors, etc.) will require a variety of training, incentives, and sales tools.

5. The B-to-B customer base is made up of influencers and decision-makers (e.g., specifiers, buyers, project managers, end-users, etc.) with various needs and concerns.

Because of the complexity of the channel and the customer, careful consideration should be given to your marketing communications. For example, the website must include content for the broader audience, while collateral should be broken down into concise pieces with relevant topics for each user and audience.

6. Purchasing decisions can take months. Relevant, ongoing nurturing and touchpoints keep your brand and offer in your prospect’s mind.

7. Focus on lead quality first, then quantity. B-to-B relationships are cultivated a few at a time. Adding a handful of new customers annually means success for B-to-B marketers.

Direct marketing 101

A good prospect list is at the core of a direct marketing program. The more accurate and detailed your database, the more you can tailor your offer to your audience’s interests and needs (Borns can help with database enhancement and/or development). Segment your prospects and communicate with them appropriately. With a little effort you can build brand awareness within your target audience, establish rapport, and open a direct line of communication.

The ABCs of B-to-B

  • Establish your brand identity
  • Train and support your sales channel
  • Develop/maintain a quality prospect list
  • Breakdown your market into segments
  • Capture target audiences’ attention
  • Communicate in various ways, but with absolute consistency
  • Track/measure prospects’ interest
  • Nurture and evolve relationships
  • Gain new customers one-by-one
  • Continually integrate and refine the sales and marketing processes

Borns gets an ‘A’ in B-to-B

We’ve done our homework for more than three decades. See our report card.

Pssst, want the answers?

If you want the right answers to the B-to-B test, contact Randy Borns at randy@borns.com.

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B-to-B spelled out
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B-to-B tactical vocabulary

Brand identity
  • What is your entity’s claim of distinction; is it unique; is it important and pertinent to your customers? Do your product/service brands tie in with your company brand?
Inward marketing
  • instill the brand concept with your associates and channel
Direct mail
  • creative, compelling direct mail receives attention, gets shared, and makes lasting impressions
  • follow up direct mail with HTML email messages to
    call attention to campaigns
  • allow prospects to qualify your company/offering
  • offer downloadable documents, selectors, etc.
  • improve search-ability and rankings with search engine optimization (SEO)
  • make your site mobile device- friendly with responsive web design (RWD)
  • create industry- and application-specific collateral to engage and prove expertise and experience
Trade show, conference
  • get on attendees’ agenda
    with pre-show campaigns
  • demonstrate products
  • follow up leads in 24 hours
Trade journal advertising
  • for brand visibility (don’t count on qualified leads)
  • impart credibility by publishing news releases and industry articles
Interactive sales tool
  • a branded presentation (vs. a typical PowerPoint) infuses your brand in your audience

*Tracked/analyzed by Borns