It’s easy to assume everyone understands the inherent difference between marketing to businesses (business to business, or B2B) and marketing to consumers (business to consumer, or B2C), especially if you’re on the inside of the marketing industry, neck deep in the process every day.
Here’s a brief rundown of the differences between B2B marketing – with a focus on industrial marketing– and B2C marketing, which caters primarily to retail.
B2C – Persuading Consumer to Purchase Something From A Business
A company marketing primarily to consumers – like Wal-Mart, Ford, or the local deli – have some basic marketing foundations they can rely on when building their campaigns:
- A large percentage of their sales need to be allocated to their marketing budget because they need to constantly bring in new customers. Customers are fickle.
- They can and should establish a target demographic based on age, gender, and other factors, then build messaging around that.
- They are going to be highly dependent on branding: keeping their name, logo, tagline, or jingle forefront in the minds of their prospective customers so the prospect thinks of them first when their need arises.
- To accomplish effective branding, a large portion of their budget is going to be allocated to mass media advertising such as TV, radio, billboard, and print ads.
- Social media has proven itself to be an effective marketing weapon when wielded skillfully, especially Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.
- Loyalty programs are also very effective as they generate repeat business that would otherwise go elsewhere.
- The most powerful marketing messages include something surprising and memorable combined with quick snippets of information supporting the emotional impact.
- It’s not possible or practical to support all marketing by personal follow-ups.
- Frequent use of sales or discounts as a marketing tactic.
B2B – Persuading a Business to Purchase Something From another Business
Unlike B2C companies, B2B companies – like Murata, IBM, and a freelance consultant – have to approach their marketing very differently:
- A small percentage of their sales can be allocated to the marketing budget, usually as little as .5 to 2% of gross sales.
- Their marketing needs to appeal to a broader demographic since they’re marketing to businesses and don’t often have as clear a picture of who the decision makers are, at least at first.
- They are far more dependent on direct contact: phone conversations, networking, power lunches, and LinkedIn.
- Social media has proven effective for introducing new products and educating the market, but not for direct marketing or sales the way it has for B2C. Social media is more of a branding exercise for B2B.
- Marketing messages often need to appeal to engineers and other technical personnel who will have a lot of detailed questions that need answers before a buying decision is made. These are facts stirring emotion, not emotion supported by lifestyle marketing (like in B2C).
- Marketing efforts are very dependent on personal follow-up with leads and current customers.
- Typically, trade shows are a significant aspect of the marketing budget.
Both B2B and B2C Marketing
There are some aspects of the marketing equation that remain constant across both disciplines:
- Both are constantly increasing their reliance on digital advertising and messaging channels.
- Both need to build marketing programs around their web presence.
- Both must focus on building and retaining a solid customer base.
- Both have to position themselves effectively in the marketplace to reach the right market.
- Both must maintain consistency in their brand messaging.
There’s certainly no “better or worse” kind of marketing. But they’re completely different animals. And trouble arises when a B2B company spends a ton of money trying to successfully apply B2C marketing tactics.
If you’re considering your marketing strategy for the upcoming quarter, be sure you’re able to identify the tactics that have proven themselves effective for the market you’re trying to reach, then start applying creativity and experience to the problem.
If your campaign is executed strategically, the end result is bound to be successful.
So many people, so much competition, and so little time to make an impression: this is the atmosphere of the trade show. It’s confusing, complex, and constraining. So why do so many businesses choose to participate in them? Because it’s the best chance to have face time with the greatest amount of potential customers in one place. It’s a great opportunity to meet the decision-makers. In fact, 87% of industrial trade show attendees are the purchasing decision-makers for their companies.
Your goal is to attract these decision-makers to your booth. And, in an age of 3-D graphic capabilities, advanced visual lighting effects, and digital technology, it’s not hard to bring the kind of bling to your booth that will draw conference visitors. Some show-stoppers for your industrial trade show booth design include:
- Large Custom Signage – Make it colorful, concise, and clear so everyone knows who you are and what you’re selling. A booth theme that can be seen from a distance will add to the glamour, intrigue and memorability of your booth.
- Lighting the Stage – Create a total environmental experience with visual lighting effects. This means overriding the glare of existing fluorescent venue lights by backlighting your display or intensely spotlighting your product.
- Make it Interactive – Engage visitors with digital interactivity installations, such as tablets or wall mounted and table-top touch screens. Interactive activities are useful for heavy machinery that isn’t appearing at the show.
- Backlit projection units are unique and can tell your story at the aisle and draw the audience inside the booth.
- Doing scheduled presentations with a speaker and projection screens allow you to take advantage of a captive audience.
- Movement, sound and pleasant aromas emanating from your booth serve to draw people to you.
Add to these a nice open space, with knowledgeable, friendly salespeople and your trade show booth will be the star of the show! Just don’t forget the post show follow up to “close the deal!”
This was written and produced within 30 days of 9/11/2001 by Gotham and used as a self-promotional mailer.
During hard times, smart businesses don’t hide. They THRIVE.
In a down economy, visible companies enjoy the advantage of being accessible to buying customers while their competition can’t be found. Less clutter in advertising means your message beckons customers louder than ever. Many companies experience substantial growth during recessions and emerge stronger than ever, simply because they have the wisdom to employ an innovative marketing plan and stay the course.
Savvy business people realize sales will happen in 2002 but only for those who are proactive and have a well-conceived strategy that will enable them to endure and profit in the swirling storm of economic times ahead. Strategies, guidance and innovative marketing concepts are what the experts of Gotham have been providing our international client base with for over twelve years. We take existing budgets and make them more efficient. We become the marketing resource your company needs to demonstrate new ideas that stimulate sales. Our team can conceive single projects or comprehensive marketing strategies.
Hiding is a strategy. If that’s the course your business has chosen, we wish you luck.
We are seeking companies that believe they will flourish and even thrive, despite the current state of turmoil in the world. We welcome your call for a free consultation at 828.327.8099. We look forward to moving your company ahead of the rest.
I can see you cringe already.
“Another website? It’s enough work taking care of the one we’ve got! And don’t get me started about Facebook and Twitter!”
It’s true that businesses today need to invest far more time in their digital face – company website, social media, and online content marketing – than we did even five years ago. And, no doubt, time is one of your most valuable commodities. So how could you possibly benefit from adding another site to that mix?
Well, here’s how: It’s not really in that mix. It’s above the mix.
A company intranet is basically an internal, secure website created to fill your internal administrative and communication needs. You control what is and isn’t included, and you control who has permission to see or engage with it.
Since it’s inward-facing, rather than outward-facing, the content and design of your intranet will be completely different from your standard company website. This opens up a universe of possibilities for internal communication among managers, employees, vendors and suppliers.
Here are some of the most universal reasons why your company needs (and probably wants) an intranet:
- Everyone in the organization needs access to various forms, documents, images and information, but making sure everyone has clean, updated copies is a pain. (With an intranet, a 30-second investment of time lets you scan and upload a new form, update the appropriate file on your intranet, or make multiple versions available, and everyone has a printable copy of the most up-to-date version.
- Your distributors, suppliers, vendors and other external connections want and need consistent access to necessary information or systems in order to work with you, but standard methods are falling short. (By creating customized sections of the company intranet designed specifically with those various users in mind, and giving them secure access to only those sections, your external connections can enjoy all the same intranet benefits your employees have.)
- You want the organizational benefits without all the hassle or added infrastructure. (You can outsource the updates to Gotham to keep your intranet current, and with password protection and offsite storage, it’s a hassle-free, worry-free win-win situation.)
Of course, with some brainstorming, you can probably come up with a hundred more benefits to be gained by having a state-of-the-art internal web-based solution at your fingertips. Here’s some food for thought: the “10 Best Intranets of 2012” and what makes them so awesome.
An easy-to-use, quality intranet system gives all users access to pertinent company information and frees up employees to do other things for the company. And there’s no arguing with that ROI.
Sales and marketing are joined at the hip. Think of marketing as the big umbrella under which sales, advertising and public relations all fall. Advertising and public relations can be organized and managed. It’s salespeople who typically are the wild cards in the marketing mix.
Salespeople are by nature extroverted and inclined to be persuasive and persistent in order to close the deal. Yet, some of my clients have spent tens of thousands of dollars on fancy Customer Relations Management (CRM) systems, only to have their salespeople enter inferior prospect data – or none at all. Sloppy data-collection is a waste of very expensive technology.
Here are some steps for managing leads:
- Educate your sales staff on the importance of accurate data-collection.
- Add website resources that will require prospect data to be entered as a condition of receiving free white papers or other useful information.
- Pre-qualify your current client and prospect lists every six months to ensure accuracy.
- Prioritize leads as Hot, Warm or Cold, and educate your sales force about the criteria that determine these descriptors.
- Collect business cards to ensure the accuracy of all prospect information, including email address and title.
- Assign an administrative person to download mail lists into Excel in order to discover missing data and fill in the blanks.
- Purchase new lists annually for your target SICs and have a mailing house run a “de-dupe” on the list to find duplicate entries. Once this is complete, pre-qualify the new list to ascertain decision-makers.
Data is a moving target, so it’s incredibly difficult – but critical – to keep prospect information complete and current. Only then can you market to your Hot, Warm and Cold prospects with unique messaging designed to appeal to each market.
Help your sales force understand that accurate data and efficient handling of leads will make a positive difference in your marketing program. And that will make a positive difference in everyone’s bottom line.
If “SEO” pops up in conversations regarding Internet marketing and you’re not clear on the meaning, you’re not alone. SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization” and it is a key element for the promotion of a website.
Search engines in general are the “Index of the Internet,” searching billions of pages for the key words you have selected and ranking the pages in order of relevance. Search engines “crawl” websites seeking keywords and Meta tags hidden within your website and categorizing each one. Every time someone does an online search, the search engine is able to refer back to its list and pull up the websites that are most relevant to the search.
Due to intense competition, having a website doesn’t mean that anyone and everyone can find you online. If your website isn’t optimized, it is not likely to be found during Web searches. Optimizing your website is a vital step in making sure that you aren’t losing customers or potential clients who are doing research or conducting business online. By selecting and using the right keywords and Meta tags to identify your website, you are increasing your visibility and ranking.
The end result of SEO is better prospects visiting your website resulting in higher margin product purchases.
By Mary Lou Yelton
There are two things you can do to vastly improve your marketing program. First, define what your company is great at. That will be your core competency. Then, delineate the factors that differentiate your product or service from the competition. By defining core competency and communicating the differences between your company and competitors, you are creating a “brand platform.” A brand is your promise to the prospect, so you need to live it and breath it internally, and you must back it by action.
Defining and claiming your brand is more vital today than ever, because virtually all prospects now soft-shop your services via your website prior to initiating contact. If your “brand promise” is homogeneous or unclear, you’ll lose the prospect early in the purchasing curve. The Internet age has removed all boundaries and barriers to purchase. In addition, the entry costs for beginning a business are as low as the cost of a good website.
The most successful businesses in this Internet age narrow their market and are highly specialized. Prospects seek these companies through searches in major search engines. Once a prospect finds a site, the home page must clearly communicate the brand promise, which integrates core competency and differentiation. Once engaged, the prospect may interact with your website by providing their contact information or by calling you.
Narrowing corporate focus will help prospects understand what you have to offer and foster trust that you specialize in an area of interest to them. As a bonus, this marketing approach also is less expensive to promote.
It is important to consistently promote your brand promise on your website and through any other methods of advertising your business.
By Woody Stoudemire
Gotham can now add “invention specialist” to its long and impressive resume. We have recently created an alien abduction preventative called the Foil-O-Matic, which is basically a tin foil hat. But as with anything that looks simple, it’s not. The Foil-O-Matic, when folded and manipulated properly, acts as an alien-thwarting device that keeps little green men from sucking you up into their saucers and probing you for vital company information.
We are always trying to add value for our clients. We’ve built a reputation for our creative and memorable marketing campaigns, but we are also concerned about our clients as people. And let’s face it, alien abductions are serious business–we thought it was high time Gotham got involved. We could have lent our brain power to any cause, but we think the concerned citizens looking for a good alien abduction preventative are an underserved population. And we want them to know we’re listening!
For maximum protection against the alien forces that may be hindering your business, create your alien abduction helmet today.
Social media is the new media marketing; in fact, the trend towards social media marketing, in many companies, has become a favorite tactic along with traditional print and broadcast advertising.
To maximize your social media marketing efforts, you can:
1. Take a class to learn which social media outlets exist and target the ones that are most likely to give you the best return on investment. There are thousands of social media blogs, forums and other community outlets. While Facebook and Twitter are the biggest, there are thousands of other niche blogs and social media outlets that may be perfect for marketing your products.
2. Don’t try to do all things-social media. There are a bevy of ways to market your business via social media. Unless you have a team dedicated to manning everything from Twitter to Facebook to all the industry blogs you submit to, you’ll overwhelm yourself just trying to keep up. Pick 3-5 social media outlets and put your all into marketing to those audiences.
3. DO put your all into marketing on the social media platforms you like best. Try to avoid gathering a slew of Facebook Fans only to disappear once you reach your quota. Offer special incentives, something extra to those people. Give them a reward for helping make your social media marketing a success. To be a successful social media marketer, you have to be authentic and experimenting with a variety of messaging to test what works best.
4. Audit your social media efforts. Track what people are saying about your brand with tools like Google alerts. These automated tracking tools can give you “live” marketing intelligence to improve your brand and product offerings.
There are more ways than ever to communicate with prospects. From traditional mass media to cutting edge digital technology, the ever- widening array of media vehicles assault the senses daily. This “fragmentation” makes the job of the marketer extremely difficult- there are plenty of communication vehicles, but which ones will the target market utilize? One old school of thought is that of “Branding”. Branding simplified involves finding a key differentiator within the company, owning it, wrapping consistent messaging around the core idea and spending enough money so that it will be seen and understood by the target market.
Branding, which once held court as the flavor of the day (now its social media!) is really a 50-year-old idea. A corporation could spend enough money to run their ACME Coffee ad on network TV and the chances were great that it would be viewed by many households given that there were only three channel choices. Branding is really about awareness. It can contain a call to action, but the chances are great that no action will be taken by the market based on a mass media delivery.
What most people are looking for in this recessionary period is not branding but lead generation. Branding can definitely support and assist lead generation, but quicker Return on Investment is accomplished through lead generation. Branding takes years of repetition to take hold. Lead generation, through the use of direct means such as personal contact and direct marketing though traditional and digital techniques can return immediate results. Lead generation involves a specific offer to a specific market that requires a response. It is an aggressive form of promotion, trackable and can have an immediate positive impact on the bottom line.
By Woody Stoudemire