B2B Marketing is something quite distinct! Understanding the DMU

To understand Business to Business Marketing we can take a simple example of producing a pair of trousers. To begin with, the first element that needs to be realized is the preparation of any desired material such as cotton, synthetic fiber or else. From this point forward all the producers that intervene do so with the specific aim to bring added value to the product and prepare it in such a way that it fully satisfies the final client.

In other words, businesses buy products with the aim to improve them into a highly desirable product before pushing it to the general public.

Because of this specific aspect, anything related to B2B but especially the way all is marketed is different from anything B2C stands for.

When marketing any type of B2B product, companies should have in mind the DMU - decision making unit. When we discuss consumer goods, usually, the decision lies with one person or one family unit, whereas in B2B this grows into a complex decision unit. Depending on the type of acquisition we are talking about, not only does the DMU become more complex but it also has a volatile and flexible characteristic. Specialists join the DMU to contribute with their abilities as long as it serves the final purpose of acquisition. In return, this translates into a constantly changing target audience for the B2B companies. Understanding this simple yet important aspect generates a totally different marketing strategy. Typically, a B2B DMU unit is composed of Technical Specialists, Production Managers and Buyers each with specific backgrounds, psychological and cultural baggage as well as different functional purposes.

This impacts the marketing specialist quite heavily as it assumes a high degree of understanding towards the company it serves. If in B2C you can rely on data driven from the market with regards to aspects such as sales volumes, target feed-back and generally accepted preferences, in B2B you have to understand each company individually, its production processes as well as its fears of finance, production, technical and other decision-making factors.

Although quite controversial, the B2B buyers are more rational. If a person would pay 3000 euros for a jacket that’s less warm but more posh in day-to day decision making, while at work, the same person will more likely weigh and calculate the buying decision more than once. In our daily lives we are less well-informed, less accountable to others and far more susceptible to whims and showing off. In our workplaces we must account for all decisions and spending habits within tight and specific budgets as well as pre-established criteria.

On one hand this would make it easier for marketers to do their job as the company only has to create reliable products and deliver them on time. However, this makes emotional aspects such as trust and security absolutely critical which gives the marketer an entire range of choices to establish brand reliability, credibility and consistency for all products or services sold.

In B2C, a marketer has more behavioral or needs-based segments to relate to than in B2B. One of the reasons for this is the smaller audience it has to address. If in B2C you have millions or hundreds of thousands who might need a pair of socks, in B2B you only have a few thousands worldwide.

This splits all in just a few behavioral and needs-based segments which are quite the same across multiple B2B industries and relate to the following aspects: Quality and Brand, Price, Services and Availability and Partnership Perspectives.

To productively split the segments and correctly attribute the potential clients to each category, the company has to invest in quantitative research strategies and integrate the sales teams, customer satisfaction teams and others in the process.

Having all of the above in mind, the process of outsourcing marketing services sounds like a nightmare and it certainly is if the people you are trying to work with fail to understand even the basics of it all.