Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is the marketing of products or services to other businesses and organisations.
In 2020, the global B2B ecommerce market was estimated at $6.64 trillion and the size continues to grow at an annual growth rate of 18.7%. It’s a hugely important sector that marketing agencies have to understand, which is why, as part of Passion Academy, we had an exciting guest speaker explain why B2B marketing is so important and how we can excel in the field.
Kathryn Giblin is an industry leader with a track record of innovation and double-digit growth strategies across global markets. She is known for her work in building, transforming and leading Marketing and Technical teams across some of the biggest Fortune 500 companies and scale-ups, and achieving outstanding performance.
Kathryn ventured into Passion HQ to talk to us about why B2B is fun and we, luckily, walked away with creative ways to implement her vast knowledge.
What Did We Learn?
Trust is key in B2B
This is one of the key takeaways we took from Kathyrn’s talk — establishing trust and having a positive reputation are essential. Business owners are more cautious, particularly since the threat of data breaches and contract scams, falling for these scams is a huge worry for B2B marketers, so much so that trust in products and services aimed at the B2B audience is waning. Establishing trust is a difficult thing to achieve, and the key to demonstrating trustworthiness is building an authentic relationship. Knowing who your customers are, making sure the communication is clear and demonstrating social proof by showcasing case studies and success stories, for them would be a quick indicator of trustworthiness. After all, 84% of B2B decision makers incorporate referrals as part of their buying process.
Building trust means clear communication. Even a few minutes of time speaking to prospects and clients can build a level of mutual respect, gratitude and commitment. After all, it’s much harder to ignore someone who has spoken to you over the phone versus a faceless email.
“Trust is key in B2B, you need to build trust with the consumer and make it emotionally connecting.”Kathryn Giblin
Personal value in B2B
When you’re speaking to B2B stakeholders, they all have a personal vestment in the activity you want to run for them. For example, CMOs want their marketing activity to exceed targets so they look good in board meetings and to their stakeholders.
With this in mind, we need to communicate what our service or product will do for them personally, understand their goals and objectives and, at the end of the day, communicate person to person.
Circular not serial journey
The buying process has changed. Long ago were the days when you could simply push prospects down a linear funnel from awareness to consideration to conversion. Now, prospects are hopping to and fro across the funnel. They tend to research a lot more before making that final decision, so will go from researching a brand to then hopping back to more of an awareness phase of researching the category, then back to investigating the brand further, until, many months later, they decide to make that purchase they’ve been sitting on for a long time. This is due to buyers being able to gather quality information independently through different digital channels. This means the consumer journey is now circular, not linear.
It’s important to understand the buying process of your customers: who are the end decision makers, how long will it take from exposure to purchase and what information do they need at each stage of the buying journey?
As the B2B buying journey has become more extended, we need to stick in the prospect’s mind for a longer period of time. This means being present on multiple channels and building trust and authority over a long period.
What are the differences between B2B and B2C Marketing?
On the surface level, B2B and B2C marketing campaigns share the same technical and behavioural best practices. However, there are several strategic differences that separate them. B2C marketers market directly to the consumer whilst B2B marketers goes after key decision makers within an organisation. They don’t have to bother about everyone in the company or even the end user.
However, the targets in B2B marketing are, in turn, targeting consumers, so it’s important for B2B marketers to understand the pain points of that end consumer as that is what their prospects are trying to solve. In this way, B2B marketing is much more complex than its B2C counterpart, presenting a host of challenges and segmentation which is ultimately what makes it fun.
B2B marketing has changed and will continue to evolve. Here at Passion, we are passionate about B2B marketing and are always happy to learn from industry experts.
Get in touch if your brand could benefit from our B2B approach. Our team of specialists are always happy to help.