B2B Marketing Guide: Definition, Steps to Create a Plan, and More (2023)

Almost every business needs to invest in some form of business marketing. Depending on the stage/scale at which the business has already reached, the objective of marketing may differ. It can either be about building awareness about the brand, attracting new customers, or retaining existing ones. That is the reason most marketers seem to juggle between various constraints related to budget, channel selection, or creative demands.

But the biggest determinant of marketing efficiency is the target audience. If you are not properly targeting the right audience, your marketing campaigns will be like music to the deaf – something they cannot relate to. While marketing is essential for every company, the target audience determines the tone or subject of the campaigns. This is where a thin line separates the two major categories of audiences – consumers and businesses.

In this blog, we will cover Business-to-Business marketing, also known as B2B marketing in detail.

What is B2B marketing?

B2B marketing, as the name suggests, refers to any marketing strategy that is directed toward other businesses and not individual consumers. Companies that sell services or products to other companies (vs. consumers) typically benefit from this type of marketing effort.

The purpose of B2B marketing is to make other organizations familiar with your B2B brand, and the value of the products or services you offer, and convert them into your clients. You should also know that:

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  • B2B marketing content or other information formats tend to be more straightforward and informational. It is because business decisions for purchases are made based on the bottom-line revenue impact.
  • B2B marketing campaigns are aimed at individuals who have control or influence over business purchase decisions.

More about B2B marketing approaches

Under the umbrella of B2B marketing, businesses follow two different kinds of approaches:

  • Lead-based marketing

This messaging in this marketing approach is geared toward a broad audience to attract more customers, irrespective of whether they fall into the segmented target audience. In marketing terms, the funnel of lead-based marketing has a wide top meant to capture as many leads as possible no matter how qualified they are. When this large number of prospects move down into the funnel, a very small percentage of them reach the bottom and get converted into paying customers.

  • Account-based marketing

This is a highly tailored marketing approach followed toward high-value customers where every customer is treated differently. Unlike lead-based marketing which is targeted toward a broad audience, account-based B2B marketing is focused on building and maintaining relationships with customers.

The higher efficiency of this marketing approach can be attributed to the consideration that every business has unique needs. Under this marketing tactic, specific businesses are targeted with tailored marketing strategies to convert them into customers. In reference to the marketing funnel, the funnel in this B2B marketing approach has a narrow top. It is because potential clients are already closer to conversion than those qualifying through lead-based marketing.

B2C vs. B2B marketing: differences

The fundamental difference between Business to Consumer (B2C) and B2B marketing is the audience. B2C companies sell to consumers, while those falling into the B2B category sell to businesses. While the core basics of marketing remain the same in both cases, specific strategies may differ because of the difference in the target audience.

You also need to consider:

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  • Marketing efforts involved as per decision-makers

In B2C, an individual is responsible for making the buying decision. But in B2B, a chain of decision-makers is generally involved. Purchase decisions are to be carried forward from one chain of approval to another, which is why it requires more effort to be invested by the marketing & sales team.

  • The duration of sales cycle

The B2C sales cycle is quite short as there is mostly one decision maker. On the other hand, the B2B sales cycle is comparatively longer because of the layers of team inputs and management approval involved.

  • The intent behind marketing strategy

While B2C marketing efforts target consumer emotions, B2B marketing is targeted toward the customer’s intellect and showcases how the product/service is the best solution for a particular pain point.

How to create a B2B marketing strategy?

The five steps given below form the basics of a B2B marketing plan:
  1. Decide on brand positioning
  2. Specify target audience
  3. Identify B2B marketing channels
  4. Create assets and marketing campaigns
  5. Measure the marketing efforts and improve
  • Decide on brand positioning

Before you start creating ad campaigns, it is important to define how you want to position your brand in terms of specific measurable objectives and an overarching vision. Brand positioning is something that helps your business and product range stand out against the competition. This is where you need to think about the problems or pain points that your product/service will solve for the targeted businesses. It should be a mix of:

  • Superior product/service quality
  • Best-in-class customer service
  • Ease of use and implementation
  • Competitive pricing

If your product has multiple use cases, you can position your brand in multiple versions of the brand positioning.

(Video) B2B Marketing Plan

  • Specify target audience

This is a crucial step to creating a B2B marketing plan as it brings forward the persona of an ideal buyer who would like to pay for your product/service. The more narrow your buyer persona is, the better you can set the messaging to highlight their pain points. This is where creating a dossier of the ideal client persona is required.

For this, you need to research different demographics, ask for customer feedback in your industry, analyze customer’s preferences, and more to compile a set of attributes you can later match with prospects to send them down into the B2B marketing funnel.

  • Identify B2B marketing channels

Once you have gained a good understanding of the target audience, you need to determine how and where you can reach them. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where do the target stakeholders spend most of their time?
  • What kind of search queries are they looking for with the help of search engines?
  • Which social media platforms do they prefer to use?
  • What kind of industry events do they attend?
  • How can you serve them better than your competitors?

The answers to these questions will help you identify the right channels you should focus on under your B2B marketing plan.

Pro Tip: You can benefit from using LinkedIn for initial outreach, email marketing to connect with those who have shared their email, or creating valuable content to generate organic leads.

  • Create assets and marketing campaigns

More than one-third of B2B buyers typically consume 3-5 pieces of content before interacting with sales. For many prospects, these assets make the first impression. You can create content in the form of:

(Video) B2B Marketing Plan - Advanced [Top 1%]

  • Blog posts
  • E-books
  • Video and podcasts
  • Webinars

The way to stand out here is to offer genuinely valuable content at first and then proceed to createdifferent types of paid B2B marketing campaigns focused on different ideas. For instance, if you sell to businesses whose product sale usually rises around Valentine’s day, you can create a long-term campaign around this to attract more clients to your offerings.

You can also benefit from using Paytm Ads to market your business to more than 150 million active users.

Recommended Read: How Paytm Ads Can Help Grow Your Business in Smaller Cities

  • Measure the marketing efforts and improve

B2B marketing, like any other form of marketing, is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process to keep your brand growing in the right direction. This is why it is important to track the B2B marketing results to keep an eye on what’s working and what is not. The more vigilant you are about tracking different KPIs and implementing the learnings, the more likely you will improve and surpass your goals.

B2B marketing trends you should know about

  1. Rise of account-based B2B marketing approach for improved ROI and better alignment between marketing and sales
  2. Growth of content marketing (expected rise of content marketing industry to around $487 billion by 2026)
  3. Rise of video marketing based on the stats that say videos account for 82% of all Internet traffic
  4. Increased involvement of AI in B2B marketing to automate redundant tasks and personalize marketing messaging

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