B2B Marketing - Limited number of buying units means limited chances to screw up!

B2B Marketing is indeed one of a kind, diverse and special. The main reason for this is due to the limited number of potentials on the market. You see, creating any kind of marketing strategy for the masses can either be completely irrelevant - thus not many results return, or it can be incredibly brilliant and in no time you become viral. In business to business marketing strategies, things are more challenging than they seem at a first glance.

When you have the entire world at your disposal you can test endless versions of campaigns and at some point, you will get results. Hereon things are quite simple. You evaluate the tests, measure and decide what’s best for future campaigns. But what if you do not have the entire world to test on? What if your clients are just a few thousands?

First, you can reach them fairly fast and your first step of the strategy is done. Secondly, you could say you are lucky since fewer clients means fewer customer profiles and thus fewer possibilities to get the message wrong. Well, not quite. Having a narrow audience means you actually have less chances to screw things up for good. In return, all the process of preparing your campaigns and marketing strategies becomes considerably more exhaustive. You need more time researching, understanding and a brand awareness campaign that could usually take a year for a few thousands could take the same amount of time but just for a few tens, maybe hundreds if you have an army of professionals behind you.

How so? In B2B the products are more complex than in B2C. If buying socks, a car, household items etc is a decision that can be taken by almost anyone without much guidance or help, buying even the least complex industrial product needs a specialist in the field to assess the purchase. While consumer goods are largely standardized and vary in simple characteristics such as color, fiber, size and brand, B2B products are usually defined by technical characteristics, have to be integrated in larger systems and most of the times may need specific customizations.

This difference between the products commercialized by both markets generates a specific selling story and can rarely be mixed together. If you can sell a car based on the level of sex-appeal it generates or the way a custom paint shines in the sun light, you could never sell a hydraulic pump for the same reasons. B2B marketing has a tendency to educate and correctly inform its public about the key features the presented product has, as well as specific technical characteristics having in mind that the target audience is already well informed.

Because the market is quite narrow and the buyers are very well educated with regards to most of the products, the main distinguishable feature of the B2B sector is that of KEY ACCOUNTS. Considering Pareto’s theory of 80:20, we can definitely say that B2B companies have a few main clients that account for most of the profit. Having this in mind you can already understand that all marketing aspects differ considerably and that this requires a completely different approach to that required for consumer markets.

In the beginning, delivering on time and in the requested technical parameters would suffice, however, lately, more and more B2B companies look for a partnership within suppliers. They are looking for partners that will hold stock, provide technical consultancy, create solutions that bring added value to their business and ensure long term profitability and that offer long-term on-site support preferably 24/7/365.

Beyond all of these, the limited buying units in B2B represent both a risk as well as an opportunity to explore client satisfaction strategies that circle expectation fulfillment at its highest.

Marketing strategies in B2B revolve around face-to-face relationships a lot more than any other promotional aspect. However low the budgets may be compared to the millions poured into B2C corporations, one thing stands for certain: quality. Every aspect of a B2B marketing strategy must have a constant focus on quality and an understanding of the fact that credibility, reliability and trust are built with details rather than with large scale actions.

How well do you know a company before you can become its reliable supplier?