What is b2b marketing?

This is the first of a series of guest blog posts from Simon Lawrence, ceo of marketing agency Information Arts, on business-to-business marketing.
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If I said to you I’d worked in B2B …

By
1st April 2008 at 12:12 pm

This is the first of a series of guest blog posts from Simon Lawrence, ceo of marketing agency Information Arts, on business-to-business marketing.

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If I said to you I’d worked in B2B marketing for the past 17 years, would you understand what I do? And what does B2B marketing mean anyway? Back to basics? Blue to Black? Beggar to Billionaire? No, it actually means business-to-business. In other words you’re a business selling your products or services to other businesses in order to grow (and who knows, hopefully go from beggar to billionaire).

Yes, it may not be the sexy side of marketing especially when you look at the big consumer advertising campaigns – we couldn’t justify making an advert on an idyllic Caribbean beach like a certain personal finance company. But it is never-the-less an essential part of the business planning and growth process and an important and fast growing sector in its own right.

When I’m asked what I think the main difference is between marketing to a business and a consumer my reply is simply “businesses don’t do retail therapy!” It’s not all about how pretty your imagery is or that you’ve paid thousands of pounds for an advert in the break of Coronation Street. At the end of the day it comes down to the fact that you need to know your audience; why they spend money, how they spend money, when they spend and who ultimately makes the decision.

To put it another way business to business marketing is all about the intelligent application of strategic insight and creative thinking to generate business growth. Your customers and prospects are your company’s lifeblood so it makes sense to invest in the information that will help you develop and manage these relationships for commercial gain.

Broadly speaking, in my opinion, there are five main elements to consider when creating your marketing campaign:

– creating a single view of the customer;
– building a prospect database;
– developing customer and prospect insights;
– formulating a retention and acquisition programme, and;
– maximising your return on investment.

I’ll go into each of these in a little more detail in the next blog post in the series.

Simon Lawrence

Simon is the founder and CEO of Information Arts one of the UK's leading business-to-business marketing consultancies set up in 2000. Simon has over 17 years experience within the industry and is widely regarded as a leading expert in businesses marketing to other businesses. http://www.information-arts.com/

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  1. Barbara Bix says:

    Good point! As you note, t the end of the day it comes down to the fact that you need to know your audience; why they spend money, how they spend money, when they spend and who ultimately makes the decision. The problem is that most people think they know the answers to these question–and in fact they do have a general idea of the answers. The problem is that the devil is in the details. It’s the subtleties that help you develop a must have product or service and a compelling value proposition that attracts attention. So, while creative insights help, the most important thing is validating assumptions you’ve made about the answers to these crucial questions.

  2. Benjamin says:

    I think us marketing types obsess a little about the difference between b2b and b2c marketing. For a small business, marketing means stepping back from the one-to-one engagements with customers (sales), to think about what is happening to them as a whole (marketing).

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