Practical B2B marketing

You may run a business where you primarily focus on business-to-business (B2B) clients. While the marketing basics remain the same, there are differences that you need to take into consideration.

This guide supplements the comprehensive content on marketing your business with practical techniques and tips specifically for B2B marketing.

How B2B marketing is different

If you work in B2B, you can aim your marketing at:

  • businesses (e.g. chosen based on industry and size)
  • individuals (e.g. chosen based on their roles and responsibilities).

The B2B sales process:

In B2B marketing, you are also more likely to need a capability statement, especially if you regularly respond to tenders or pitch for business.

Know your target market

Segmentation, targeting and positioning (STP) can help you:

  • get the most value from your marketing efforts
  • identify new marketing opportunities.

Account-based marketing

Account-based marketing takes a more targeted approach than traditional B2B marketing. Also called key-account marketing, account-based marketing is about:

  • developing a personalised approach for your key accounts (the clients delivering the highest revenue or who have the most future potential)
  • making sure your marketing and sales people and processes work together to get the best results.

Map out the end-to-end journey for target individuals and businesses. Think about how and when they interact with your business, for example, with your business leaders, salespeople (e.g. account managers) or digital channels (e.g. self service).

This information can help you:

  • tailor your approach for key clients
  • identify ways for your sales and marketing processes to work together (e.g. sales results can help guide your marketing focus).

Digital marketing for B2B

There are typically 2 modes of B2B marketing communication:

  • outbound – where your business reaches out to other businesses
  • inbound – where the customer initiates contact.

Your digital presence will play a critical role in inbound contact. That's why it pays to have a digital marketing strategy as part of your marketing planning

For B2B marketing, you should place a strong emphasis on your digital channels, for example:

Make sure you get the most out of these channels by doing search engine optimisation.

In terms of people and technology, review the following to make sure your business is ready to deliver your digital marketing plans:

Action item: Can you do digital better?

Your industry sector and target segments will influence your choice of marketing channels. For B2B marketing, follow this 5-step review to find out where you can improve:

  1. Download and save a copy of the marketing channel audit template.
  2. Add all your existing and potential touchpoints (interactions with customers) to the checklist.
  3. Think about the relative importance of each channel for your customers.
  4. Rate how well you think you are currently using each channel.
  5. Identify areas for improvement that you can address in your action plan.

Read more about digital marketing.

Simple ideas to improve your B2B marketing

There are many ways to do B2B marketing, even when you have a limited budget. Think about what works with your best customers and how you have achieved a positive return.

In addition to the ideas for marketing on a small budget, consider the following:

  • Invest in advertising or advertorials (an advertisement written to look like an article) in targeted business publications.
  • Find contact details for media contacts who, for example, write articles about topics related to your industry and reach out with a newsworthy story about your business.
  • Write a business blog with content relevant to your customers.
  • Create targeted landing pages specific to the industry and offering.
  • Add useful video content to your website (e.g. how-to or explainer videos).
  • Source references from clients that can be used in your marketing.
  • Build your presence on relevant social media platforms (e.g. forums or networks for professionals in specific industries).
  • Grow your customer database and deliver a regular email newsletter.
  • Get involved with business events that are relevant to your industry.

B2B marketing to do list:

  1. See how you compare: take the interactive marketing health check.
  2. Watch the video: ways to advertise and market your small business.
  3. Plan your marketing: complete your one-page marketing strategy.

Also consider...