- Business-to-Business (B2B) Market | Marketing
- Business Market v. Consumer Market:
- Buying Situations:
- Business Marketers’ Task:
- Technological Initiatives in B2B Marketing:
- Building Relationships and Partnerships in the B2B Market:
- BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING
- B2B MARKETING ON THE INTERNET
- USING B2B EXCHANGES
- Что такое B2C рынок, продажи, маркетинг
- Определение и расшифровка аббревиатуры
- Отличительные особенности рынка B2C
- О продажах в b2c
- What is Business to Business Marketing?
- B2B Marketing in the Interactive Age
- Marketing Managers
- B2B Sales representatives
- B2B Marketing Coordinators
Business-to-Business (B2B) Market | Marketing
This article provides notes on Business-to-Business (B2B) Market.
The business market consists of all organizations that acquire goods and services to further produce products or services to be sold, rented, or supplied to others. Demand in the business market is derived from demand in the consumer market and fluctuates with the business cycle. Nonetheless, the total demand for most business goods and services is generally price inelastic.
Business Market v. Consumer Market:
Business markets have several characteristics that contrast sharply with those of consumer markets, such as close supplier-customer relationships; professional purchasing; several buying influences; multiple sales calls; derived and inelastic demand; geographically concentrated buyers and direct purchasing.
Business marketers need to be aware of the role of professional purchasers and their influaacers, the need for multiple sales calls, and the importance of direct purchasing, reciprocity and leasing.
The business buyer needs to take many decisions when making a purchase. The number of decisions depends on the buying situation—the complexity of the problem being solved, newness of the buying requirement, the number of people involved, and the time required.
these, there are three types of buying situations: straight rebuy, modified rebuy, and new task.
A purchase in which a customer buys the same goods in the same quantity on the same terms from the same supplier as the first buy.
A buying situation in which an individual or organization buys goods that have been purchased previously but changes either the supplier or some other element of the previous order.
An organizational buying situation in which the organization has had no previous experience with the purchase of product of the kind required.
Purchasing agents are influential in straight rebuy and modified rebuy situations, where engineering personnel usually influence selection of product components and purchasing agents dominate in selecting suppliers,
Business Marketers’ Task:
To effectively target their efforts, business marketers have to figure out:
• Who are the major decision participants?
• What decisions do they influence?
• What is their level of influence?
• What evaluation criteria do they use?
Small sellers concentrate on reaching the key buying influencers. Large sellers on the other hand, go for multilevel, in-depth selling to reach as many participants as possible. Business marketers must periodically review their assumptions about buying centre participants.
In defining target segments, different types of business customers can be identified, with corresponding marketing implications. Every organization has specific purchasing objectives, policies, procedures, organizational structures, and systems.
Business buyers seek to obtain the highest benefit package in relation to the market offering’s costs. A business buyer’s incentive to purchase will be greater in proportion to the ratio of perceived benefits to costs.
A marketer’s task is to construct a profitable offering that delivers superior customer value to the target buyers.
Marketers need to understand how business-purchasing departments work. Peter Kraljic, Director Emeritus, McKinsey, distinguished four product-related purchasing processes:
(i) Routine products—low value and cost and little risk
(ii) Leverage products—high value and cost but little risk
(iii) Strategic products—high value and cost and high risk
(iv) Bottleneck products—low value and cost but some risk.
Websites are organized around e-hubs: vertical hubs centered on industries and functional hubs. The buying decision process, mode of purchase and the type of product being purchased play an important role in the marketing initiatives taken by a company. With technology becoming an integral part of marketing, initiatives in technological means are of importance too.
Technological Initiatives in B2B Marketing:
Technology has always been an important factor in determining the type of business being carried out.
With advances in information technology the way people do business has also changed to a great extent.
The Internet has emerged as one of the busiest spaces which business people use to conduct their business activities. Companies use their websites for both purchasing and selling activities.
An electronic marketplace allows buyers, sellers, independent third parties, and multi-firm consortiums to exchange information about prices and product offerings. It has been suggested that electronic markets will create benefits for both buyers and suppliers and it gives suppliers a greater reach and buyers the opportunity to obtain information about all available products.
1. E-business and E-commerce:
The concept of e-business emerged as a result of developments in Internet technology The Internet is the largest network which companies use to carry out their activities more advantageously E-business means the use of electronic means and platforms to conduct a company’s business.
E-commerce is more specific than e-business. In addition to providing e-business services, e-commerce helps in making business transactions on the Internet more secure. With the development of e-commerce, the concept of e-marketing has also developed. This is a process by which companies inform potential and existing buyers about the services and products they offer globally.
An electronic market is an inter-organizational information system through which multiple buyers and sellers interact to accomplish one or more of market-making activities such as identifying potential trading partners, selecting a specific partner and executing a transaction.
3. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI):
EDI is an inter-organizational system which transmits standard business documents electronically between trading partners. EDI allows firms to fundamentally change the way they do business, thus improving their overall performance and enhancing their competitive advantage.
While EDI provides economic benefits, it may be expensive to implement, especially when an organization does not achieve hardware or software compatibility Security in particular becomes an issue, as EDI systems do not operate unilaterally For example, organizations motivated to adopt EDI must either find similarly motivated trading partners or persuade and/or coerce their existing trading partners to adopt EDI.
One key barrier to this is the lack of trading partner trust owing to a lack of open communication and information sharing.
Scala and McGrath (1993) identified social and organizational issues that impact organizational culture, structure and levels of adoption of EDI. Ford was one of the earliest innovators of EDI network technology.
It was adopted to streamline business processes and optimize supply chain management activities.
Ford had two EDI systems and many application systems across its five branches, namely parts and accessories, original equipment, non-production, purchasing and Ford credit and finance. During the late 1980s, acceptance testing of EDI business transactions was carried out. Later Telstra developed the Trade Link software in 1988.
Building Relationships and Partnerships in the B2B Market:
Business-to-business relations can be defined as commercial business between trading partners. B2B e-markets can be categorized into static/established and dynamic/discovered electronic markets.
Enabling buyers to purchase from suppliers through electronic catalogues and auctions, allowing one too many transaction events for procuring or selling goods or services are examples of static/established markets.
Exchange matching supply and demand via real time, bid ask spot markets and e-Hub representing neutral Internet-based intermediaries providing extensive services and integrating into participants’ systems are examples of dynamic/discovered markets.
Another categorization of B2B e-markets is dividing them into spot markets, open markets, private markets and information markets. Spot markets are markets where information is collected for each transaction to compare prices. Examples are financial services, raw materials and transportation services.
Open markets are shops where you can buy standard commodities such as pens, diskettes and other office equipment. Private markets are markets where a few organizations conduct their purchases by inviting suppliers into the market. Information markets provide information on buyers and suppliers, but the actual transaction takes place outside these markets.
Four kinds of dynamic e-market models are emerging: procurement networks, service networks, supply networks and delivery networks.
The expected benefits from electronic procurement markets include reduced transaction costs, negotiation of better agreements with suppliers, better utilization of frame agreements, and access to more suppliers.
It has been suggested that companies expecting reduced transaction costs will be the most active users of electronic marketplaces. And reduced transaction costs will be of importance mainly to organizations with high procurement volumes.
To improve effectiveness and efficiency, business suppliers and customers constantly explore different ways to manage their relationships. Building trust between parties is often seen as an essential prerequisite for healthy long-term relationships.
The relationship between advertising agencies and clients illustrates findings such as:
(a) In the relationship formation stage, one partner experiences substantial market growth.
(b) Information asymmetry between partners is such that a partnership would generate more profits than if the partner attempted to invade the other firm’s area.
(c) At least one partner has high barriers to entry that would prevent the other partner from entering the business.
(d) Dependence asymmetry exists such that one partner is more able to control or influence the other’s conduct.
(e) One partner benefits from economies of scale related to the relationship.
Vertical coordination can facilitate stronger customer-seller ties but it can, at the same time, increase the risk to the customer’s and suppliers specific investments. Specific investments are expenditures tailored to a particular company and value chain partner.
They help firms increase profits and achieve positioning. They also entail considerable risk to both the customer and supplier. Specific investments are partially sunk. They lock-in the firms that make investments to a particular relationship. Sensitive cost and process information may also need to be exchanged. A buyer may be vulnerable to hold-up because of switching costs.
A supplier may be more vulnerable to future hold-up contracts because of dedicated assets and/or expropriation of technology/knowledge. When buyers cannot easily monitor supplier performance, the supplier might shirk or cheat and not deliver the expected value.
Opportunism can be thought of as ‘some form of cheating or undersupply relative to an implicit or explicit contract’. Opportunism is a concern because firms must devote resources to control and monitor that otherwise could be allocated for more productive purposes.
Business-to-business marketing (often referred to as B2B) is the development and marketing of services and products to business, governmental, and institutional markets at the local, national, or international level, rather than private retail consumers.
The vehicles of business-to-business marketing are fundamentally the same as those that are used to reach the consumer market.
They range from traditional methodologies such as newspaper and magazine advertisements, direct mail, catalogs, television and radio marketing, outdoor advertising, sales promotions, and other long-established public relations/advertising media to the relatively new business avenue of the Internet.
According to business analysts and participants a, the World Wide Web is revolutionizing this aspect of the corporate world.
In fact, the Internet has already surpassed many traditional marketing avenues for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing, transforming the term “B2B” into one that is practically synonymous with electronic commerce. “What's behind this [tremendous growth]?” asked The Practical Accountant. “The intention is to enable buyers and suppliers to find each other much more easily, and still be able to take a slice of every transaction. That's the basic business model behind the thousands of business-to-business firms that have already started operations.”
Business-to-business selling is much different than business-to-consumer marketing in several important respects. The average business buyer, for instance, is more knowledgeable about the merits (price value, ability to meet business needs, etc.) of products and/or services under consideration.
Business buyers are also governed by organizational buying behavior, whereas consumer purchases are typically made by individuals or small groups (such as married couples or roommates).
Major business purchases, whether of bulk shipments of office supplies, a single major piece of manufacturing equipment, or an ongoing business service (from security and maintenance to accounting and graphic art services) require far more research on the part of the buyer than do retail purchases by individual consumers, both because of their complexity and their price tag. “Many people influence the [business purchase] decision—from the purchasing agent and company president to technical professionals and end-users,” noted Robert Bly, president of the Center for Technical Communication. “Each of these audiences has different concerns and criteria by which they judge you.” Finally, and most importantly, business-to-business marketing is the knowledge—shared by both buyer and seller—that the buyer needs to purchase goods and services merely to keep its operations going. The question is whether the buyer chooses to utilize your company's goods and/or services, or those of one of your competitors. “Most consumer advertising offers people products they might enjoy but don't really need,” stated Bly. “But in business-to-business marketing …the business buyer wants to buy. Indeed, all business enterprises must routinely buy products and services that help them stay profitable, competitive, and successful.”
B2B MARKETING ON THE INTERNET
Traditional means of reaching business customers such as catalogs, direct mail, and convention booths remain an important element of marketing for many companies, and they will continue to be valuable tools.
But the business-to-business market was fundamentally transformed by the growth of the Internet in the late 1990s, and e-commerce is widely expected to drive the expansion of the B2B world in the foreseeable future. In fact, many analysts believe that B2B spending on the Internet will quickly eclipse that of business-to-consumer spending in that medium.
Gartner Group reported in 1999, for instance, that business-to-business transactions reached $237 million, a figure four times greater than the amount generated by business-to-consumer electronic commerce transactions.
And Forrester Research, an Internet consulting firm, claimed that business-to-business e-commerce reached about $406 billion in 2000, and estimated that the figure would increase to about $2.7 trillion by 2004.
A 2000 analysis by Jupiter Communications offered an even more optimistic assessment of the business e-commerce scene, predicting that the B2B market will account for more than $6.43 trillion in online trade by 2005. The same study indicated that 35 percent of that money will be attributed directly to business-to-business exchanges (also known as net marketplaces, net markets, B2B auctions, and online trading areas).
Marketing exchanges are an important facet of this explosion in business-to-business activity on the Internet. B2B marketing exchanges are electronic marketplaces that allow companies to place goods and/or services out for bid on the Internet. Any qualified supplier can then bid on the job order.
“Some online exchanges allow businesses to search for particular products or suppliers and agree on the terms of transactions online (with actual transactions being conducted offline),” explained Entrepreneur 's Melissa Campanelli. “Other exchanges allow complete transactions to take place online.
Either way, B2B exchanges make it easy for buyers and sellers worldwide to come together on the Web to do business.”
Whatever their form, Internet marketing exchanges can be beneficial to businesses in several specific ways. David Pyke, writing in Supply Chain Management Review, cited process cost savings and unit cost reductions as key bottom-line benefits: “Process costs include developing supplier relationships, handling proposals and quotations, and processing purchase orders.
To the extent a company can automate procurement, it saves time, needs fewer people, and makes fewer errors…. Unit cost savings arise when a company solicits bids from multiple suppliers, rather than repeatedly awarding the contract to the same one or two companies….
If a company can attract bids from 25 suppliers rather than 5 and, if suppliers can see the bidding real time, the market appears to approach the economists' ideal of perfect competition.” Many experts, however, urge B2B buyers to consider more than the bid price when evaluating suppliers. “Exchanges can be used …to put suppliers against one another,” noted Pyke.
“If there is a lot of fat in the system, exchanges should create real and long-term supply chain savings.” But he warns against taking good suppliers for granted. “A company could restrict the number of bidders or reserve a portion of the volume for select suppliers, even if their prices are slightly higher,” he wrote.
“The bidding information can be a basis for discussions about price reduction, but it is important that purchasers use exchanges to support their strategy, not to undermine supplier relationships…. Managers should take care not to employ the B2B products in ways that disrupt existing, successful relationships or that create unnecessary confusion in the supply chain.
” Besides, dropping transaction costs on B2B sites have made it easier for many buyers to avoid making bid price the sole consideration in awarding business. In 1999, for instance, buyers and suppliers were charged an average fee of 12 percent of total transaction; in 2000, average transaction fee dropped to about 4 percent.
Some analysts believe that transaction fees may disappear altogether in the future, if exchange owners can instead be compensated with business information about buyers that they can in turn package and sell as a value-added service to suppliers.
Other observers, meanwhile, point to other advantages that can be gained from involvement in B2B exchanges, from exposure to suppliers/buyers that they might not otherwise meet through traditional channels (because of distant location, limited visibilility of other marketing media, etc.) to general networking opportunities.
“A trading exchange can be defined as a dynamic electronic marketplace that allows participants to conduct commerce, collaborate on projects and purchases, review industry news and trends, and use information for smart decision making within a trading community,” summarized Jay McIntosh in Chain Store Age Executive.
USING B2B EXCHANGES
Before selecting an exchange on which to do business (as either a buyer or seller of business goods and/or services), small business owners and managers should first conduct extensive research to make sure that they are dealing with a reputable exchange that can satisfy their business needs. Industry publications are a good source of information in this regard, as is the Internet itself.
Characteristics of good, reliable B2B exchanges include the following:
- It can and does integrate full product catalogs onto the site. “Suppliers don't want to be a line item in a catalog,” one analyst told Manufacturing Systems. “Rather, they want rich systems to differentiate themselves, profile customers, and segment prospects.”2) It is a well-known site that targets your industry. Suppliers who establish a presence on a B2B marketplace site that sees heavy traffic can save money on advertising and may be able to forgo the expense of establishing and maintaining their own Internet web site. Conversely, buyers want to frequent exchanges that have a variety of suppliers to choose from so that they can better their chances of securing the goods/services they require at an advantageous price.
- It is an innovative site that is responsive to rapidly changing business dynamics, both in your industry and in the larger business world. “The ongoing challenge is to have the people and processes in place to cope with any crisis or development, whether a new trend, market fluctuation, security issue, product shortage, or other situation as they arise,” wrote McIntosh. “These cannot be dealt with on an ad hoc basis. However, the more layers put into a trading exchange, the less efficient they can be. In other words, the trading exchange must achieve a delicate balance between efficiency and security to become a viable part of the supply chain.”
- Usage is compatible with other current business practices and dovetails with desired buyer/supplier relationships. “A company can concurrently use many different B2B products with many different suppliers” that range from close partners to distant sellers, noted Pyke. “As the B2B industry consolidates, companies will be able to use one product to support multiple styles of relationship.”
- Other services provided on the site have value to your company. Many B2B marketplaces provide valuable information to participating companies, including current marketing information and data, industry news, and customer feedback. In addition, technically sophisticated exchanges can provide valuable assistance in closing the sale. “Credit checks are an essential part of commercial transactions, yet very few B2B sites have any kind of support for either party to the transaction, in terms of qualifying buyers and providing credit histories, guarantees, and so forth,” noted Jim Seymour in PC Magazine. Ideally, the exchange will have mechanisms in place that will certify business processes, validate transactions, and efficiently resolve disputes between parties.
Today's business-to-business marketing practices continue to evolve, driven by the current power and future potential of the Internet. “Experts insist the future lies in the B2B-exchange business model,” stated Melissa Campanelli in Entrepreneur.
“Because the Internet is secure and open to the worldwide community, companies can work more efficiently via faster and less expensive business processes.
” These basic, fundamental advantages seem destined to cement the Internet's reputation as the primary vehicle for business-to-business marketing for the foreseeable future.
Ackerman, Elise. “The World of Internet Exchanges.” Detroit Free Press. February 26, 2001.
Anders, Jason. “Yesterday's Darlings: Business-to-Business Sites Have Replaced Consumer Sites as the Hot Way to Go.” Wall Street Journal. October 23, 2000.
“Beyond the Biz.” B to B. September 25, 2000.
Bly, Robert. “Is Business-to-Business Marketing Really Different than Consumer Marketing?” (at www.smartbiz.com ).
“Business-to-Business Exploding.” Practical Accountant. September 2000.
Campanelli, Melissa. “Trading Places.” Entrepreneur. November 2000.
Gotschall, Mary G. “B2B Exchanges.” Electric Perspectives. September/October 2000.
Hiam, Alexander, and Charles D. Schewe. The Portable MBA in Marketing. John Wiley, 1992.
Levy, Marc. “B2B the Way 2B.” Business Review Weekly. September 1, 2000.
McIntosh, Jay. “Unlocking B2B's Full Potential.” Chain Store Age Executive with Shopping Center Age. September 2000.
Melymuka, Kathleen. “10 Steps to Launching a B-to-B Site in Record Time.” Computerworld. May 1, 2000.
Pyke, David F. “Matching B2B e-Commerce to Supply Chain Strategy.” Supply Chain Management Review. July 2000.
Raisch, Warren. The eMarketplace: Strategies for Success in B2B e-Commerce. McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Reed, David. “The Battle of B2B.” Precision Marketing. November 20, 2000.
Seminerio, Maria. “B2B E-Commerce: Hard Sell—Selling to Businesses Online Takes New Skills.” eWeek. August 14, 2000.
Seymour, Jim. “The Four Immutable Laws of B2B.” PC Magazine. December 5, 2000.
Silverstein, Barry. Business-to-Business Internet Marketing. Maximum Press, 2000.
Stevens, Tim. “Not so Rosy.” Industry Week. November 6,2000.
Timmers, Paul, and J.J. Timmers. Electronic Commerce: Strategies and Models for Business-to-Business Trading. John Wiley, 1999.
Что такое B2C рынок, продажи, маркетинг
На этот раз речь пойдет о сегменте B2C: специфике взаимодействия организаций и их клиентов, роли ассортимента и массовости продаж.
Определение и расшифровка аббревиатуры
Аббревиатура B2C (от business-to-consumer) служит для обозначения коммерческих отношений, возникающих между организацией-продавцом и конечным покупателем (которым, как правило, является частное лицо).
Покупатель приобретает товар для себя. Товар (услуга) в данной ситуации является объектом бизнеса, в то время как потребитель и организация-продавец – его субъектами.
Взаимоотношения в сфере B2C – одно из звеньев, составляющих цепочку бизнес-процессов в современной коммерческой деятельности. Суть B2C заключается в построении прямых, персонализированных отношений между бизнесом и клиентом.
Этот тип отношений подразумевает ведение прямых продаж и стремление к уменьшению количества посредников. Чем меньше посредников, тем проще организациям обеспечить конкурентные цены на местах и контролировать их колебания.
Эти мероприятия направлены на увеличение маржинальности продаж.
Отличительные особенности рынка B2C
- Роль ассортимента. Бизнесмены, избравшие сферой своей деятельности розничную торговлю, всегда заинтересованы в расширении ассортимента услуг и товаров: так они распространяют свое влияние на все сегменты рынка. Этот процесс проще всего отследить на примере супермаркетов, где потребитель может купить буквально все, что пожелает. Кроме того, здесь ему будут предложены сопутствующие услуги – к примеру, доставка, монтаж и ремонт оборудования для кухни или компьютерной техники.
- Роль отдельного клиента. Следует признать, что в данном сегменте бизнеса роль покупателя невелика, так как коммерсант получает прибыль за счет больших объемов продаж, которые обеспечиваются разными потребителями. Иными словами, его (коммерсанта) больше заботят потребности рынка, а не конкретного клиента.Наглядный пример – пиво. Слабый алкоголь всегда пользуется спросом. То пиво, которое в настоящее время выставлено на полках супермаркетов, вполне устраивает основную массу потребителей. И если какой-нибудь ценитель, вернувшийся из-за границы, вдруг захочет «чего-нибудь эдакого», его запросы вряд ли будут удовлетворены. Ни один производитель не станет варить (или продавать) экзотику «для избранных» в ущерб интересам целевой аудитории. Однако, если владелец бизнеса решит, что необычное пиво сможет привлечь в его магазин новых клиентов, он предложит одному из поставщиков сварить новый сорт и сразу приобретет крупную партию. Конечно, так случается нечасто. Зато сразу понятно, что руководители компаний, работающих в B2C, мыслят масштабно.
О продажах в b2c
B2C-продажи – это именно та деятельность, которой занимаются предприятия розничной торговли. Они применяют особые методы ведения бизнеса и специфические маркетинговые технологии, направленные на массового потребителя. Их еще называют ритейл-технологиями.
Основные особенности маркетинга B2C:
- ориентация компании-производителя на взаимодействие с конечным потребителем;
- товар приобретается клиентом для себя, а решение о необходимости покупки товара принимается им самостоятельно;
- клиент – не эксперт;
- покупая товар, клиент руководствуется не только своими потребностями, но и эмоциями;
- цикл продаж короткий;
- отдельный покупатель для бизнеса не важен – значение имеет только объем продаж;
- обязательное применение массовых коммуникаций;
- ориентация продавцов на шаблонные решения.
Таким образом, можно сделать выводы о ключевых особенностях сферы B2C. Несмотря на то, что отдельно взятый потребитель продавцу не слишком интересен, он (продавец) предоставляет потребителю широкие возможности для удовлетворения своих нужд. Клиент может купить все в одном месте. Доходность B2C обеспечивается массовостью продаж при отсутствии многочисленных посредников.
B2B расшифровывается как «business to business», что можно перевести с английского как «бизнес для бизнеса». Проще говоря, B2B – это обеспечение предприятий товарами и услугами.
Под B2G (business to government) или B2G-маркетингом понимают систему взаимоотношений между коммерческими организациями и государством.
What is Business to Business Marketing?
Have you ever considered how a Fortune 500 company provides new computers for its 1,000-plus employees? They would never simply send an office manager to Best Buy for an order that large, yet these transactions are vital for the future success of the business.
Business-to-business marketing (or B2B marketing, as it is commonly known) involves the sale of one company’s product or service to another company. (See also Industrial Marketing)
B2B marketing techniques rely on the same basic principles as consumer marketing, but are executed in a unique way. While consumers choose products based not only on price but on popularity, status, and other emotional triggers, B2B buyers make decisions on price and profit potential alone.
Finding new ways to foster relationships through social media is currently a hot topic in the B2B marketing world. Social media platforms have opened up two way conversations between businesses. A survey organized by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate, showed that businesses are more ly to buy from companies they track through social media.
Tech-savvy B2B companies have continued to find innovative ways to use social media to their advantage. Cisco Systems, Inc, a leading seller of networking systems, launched a campaign introducing a new router solely on social media advertising. The launch was classified as one of the top five in the company's history, and shaved over $100,000 off normal launch expenses.
At its core, B2B marketing involves building valuable relationships to guarantee lasting customers — an important goal for any company, whether a mega retail corporation or a smaller family-owned one. (See also B2C Marketing)
The B2B market is the largest of all the markets, and exceeds the consumer market in dollar value. Companies GE and IBM spend an estimated $60 million a day on goods that support the operation of their business.
B2B marketing is largely employed by companies that make products that consumers have no practical use for, such as steel. However, it is also used by companies selling products and services bought by consumers and other businesses a.
For example, Sprint (a consumer phone supplier) provides wireless, voice and data services to both businesses and consumers. In fact, VHA, a health-care purchasing network, recently agreed to extend a three-year, $1.2 billion contract with Sprint. Sprint continues to be a nationwide leader in both B2B and consumer marketing.
It is a good idea to reflect on the staying power and growth potential of an industry before you make it your career. Consider these facts on the prevalence of B2B marketing:
- The purchases made by businesses, government agencies and institutions make up more than half of all economic activity in the United States. (Dwyer and Tanner, 2006)
- In 2003, B2B marketers spent approximately $85 billion a year to promote their goods and services. (Business Marketing Association)
- A 2001 study found that the dollar value of B2B transactions significantly exceeded that of consumer transactions. (Hutt and Speh, 2001)
B2B marketers generally focus on four large categories:
- Companies that use their products, construction companies who buy sheets of steel to use in buildings.
- Government agencies, the single largest target and consumer of B2B marketing.
- Institutions hospitals and schools.
- Companies that turn around and resell the goods to consumers, brokers and wholesalers.
A B2B marketer can effectively put their product or service into the right hands by positioning their offering in an exciting manner, understanding the customer’s needs, and proposing the right solutions to combine the two (See also Persuasion Marketing).
It is important for B2B marketers to understand their clients’ needs before implementing any marketing or advertising tactic.
In consumer marketing, an effective advertisement can be blasted out over wide channels, and a percentage of consumers will be driven to buy the product.
However, since B2B marketing is so much more specialized, marketers run the risk of alienating their specific prospective candidates if they do not pay close attention to their needs before tailoring their services to those needs.
B2B Marketing in the Interactive Age
- According to eMarketer, while US B2B spending will increase by 0.8% to $129 billion by 2012, interactive B2B spending will increase by 9.2%, to $51.5 billion.
- BizReport found that 86% of B2B marketing firms use social media in their efforts, compared to just 82% of consumer marketing firms.
- The AMR International B2B Online Marketing Assessment and Forecast to 2013 predicts that B2B spend on social media will grow 21% through 2013, and spend on lead generation sites will grow 17%.
A B2B marketing plan must be focused in delivery and broad in application.
This means that while consumer marketing can advertise very specifically (one mass-consumed product advertised through print, television commercials and the Internet) to a wide audience, B2B marketing cannot.
Instead, it needs to brand itself very broadly (through email, corporate image and technical specifications) to a very specific customer.
Business marketers can develop and decide how to employ their B2B plan by identifying and understanding the importance of the following topics:
- The product or service: When marketing to consumers, there is an emotional component involved. Individuals are drawn to products because of how they make them feel. With B2B customers, the buyers are trained professionals who care about the quality of products, their cost-saving and/or revenue-producing benefits, and the service provided by the host company.
- The target market: Many B2B marketers are able to focus on very niche industries which reflect specialized needs. While this can make marketing a bit more straightforward, it also requires a high level of knowledge outside of marketing specialists.
- Pricing: Businesses are usually more concerned with cost, value, and revenue potential than consumers. However, they can also be more readily convinced to pay top dollar – as long as B2B marketers do an excellent job of convincing them that the product, quality and customer service will be worthwhile.
- Promotion: B2B marketers need to be experts not only of marketing and advertising, but experts within their fields. Once this happens, they will learn the best ways to market to this field, whether it is through blogs, journals, tradeshows or word of mouth. B2B marketing very rarely employs traditional media TV and radio commercials. (See also Promotional Marketing)
A B2B career requires marketers to not only have a marketing background, but also a firm understanding of business.
B2B marketers are often creative-minded individuals who are comfortable working with numbers, statistics, and outcomes.
Because of the varied, specific skills desired for this industry, there are a variety of careers that are involved with B2B marketing, on both the seller’s and the buyer’s side.
What do they do?
Marketing managers have the knowledge and training to manage and effectively strategize a B2B campaign. They have gained the marketing knowledge and managerial skills needed to hone in on the specific needs of a niche or industry, and market their product or service effectively to fit those needs.
Professionals in the marketing field should have strong communications skills, but in B2B positions, marketing managers also need a background in economics and business. This way, they can more effectively market to experts in business and government.
Education and experience
Most marketing managers hold at least a bachelor's degree in marketing or a related major business, advertising, accounting, economics, mathematics, or statistics. Marketing managers generally begin in entry-level marketing positions and work their way up the career ladder.
B2B Sales representatives
What do they do?
B2B sales representatives are responsible for implementing the marketing plans that are put into place for their company’s product or service. They are the ones who develop and maintain relationships with potential clients.
As such, a B2B sales rep should have strong communication skills and be able to connect with a variety of people. They need to have an interest and talent in sales, negotiation and decision making.
Education and experience
A Bachelor’s degree in marketing or business administration is required to become a B2B sales representative. Generally, it is a role that also requires 3-5 years of experience in the B2B sales environment.
B2B Marketing Coordinators
What do they do?
A B2B Marketing Coordinator organizes and implements the day-to-day tasks of building and marketing a B2B brand. This position is usually in charge of communicating with a variety of people to set up tradeshows, webinars and other events, as well as help produce written marketing materials, client lists and email campaigns.
Marketing coordinators need to feel comfortable with statistics, analytics and quality assurance since they are generally responsible for the behind-the-scenes organization of an entire B2B campaign. They should also have good communication and writing skills, since they will be emailing and telephoning a variety of contacts to set up events and promotions.
Education and experience
Most marketing coordinators need a bachelor’s degree in marketing, event planning or a related field, but generally need less experience than other positions in the B2B marketing field. They should have excellent time management and organizational skills, and should be able to manage multiple projects on tight deadlines.
A degree in marketing can lead you to a career in a variety of positions and fields, including B2B. Knowledgeable marketing experts are the key to developing a B2B strategy that fulfills the ultimate goal of getting the product or service sold to the right people.(See also B2B Product Manager)
Earning a degree in marketing exposes students to the functions of advertising and selling, as well as background in strategic business function, statistics and analytics. This gives students the expertise to figure out what consumers and businesses are looking for, and the skills to produce and deliver it to them in an efficient and pleasing manner.
Marketing programs place importance on the four pieces critical for B2B success: product, promotion, price and place.
They also generally impart skills in math, statistics, business and behavior, as well as advertising principles. Students also learn more specific skills, how to conduct market research and analyze consumer data.
It is important to understand the broad business perspective required for success in the marketing field.
Because B2B marketing is so closely integrated with the principles of business, it may be advisable to also earn a minor in business, or at least take some business courses as part of your marketing education. This extra experience with economics and business principles can better prepare you for building long-lasting relationships with other businesses.
If you want to learn more about how a marketing degree can help you build a successful B2B marketing career, request information from schools offering marketing degrees today.