student-run marketing firm at Stephens College, Columbia, MO


Business to Business Marketing


Marketing is a broad topic. While it is a means of communications for almost everyone, people often assume that the only purpose of marketing is to allow businesses to communicate with consumers. In reality, marketing can be used to communicate between other organizations as well. While working to become more efficient, many companies will outsource their needs to other businesses. Reaching out in this manner is called business-to-business marketing.

Just like business-to-consumer marketing, business-to business, or B2B marketing, includes creating tangible deliverables, social media profiles, supply orders and new branding. However, the content differs from consumer marketing because businesses and  consumers have different objectives and desires.

When you are hired to create a marketing plan that is geared toward other businesses, it is simple to follow the same marketing steps that you would for business-to-consumer marketing. However, creating a truly effective plan requires you to shift your perspective. When dealing with B2B marketing, your audience is a little different so your process must also change.

1. Know your goal

Is your client trying to sell goods or services to other businesses? Are they hoping to raise awareness about a certain aspect of their business? When you know what the client wants, it becomes much easier to tackle B2B marketing.

2. Know your target audience

Just like a target market in a typical business-to-consumer marketing plan, you must understand who you are communicating with. Ask yourself what other business want to see from your client. Ask your client if they have a specific business or industry they are trying to reach.  Find out if your client has a secondary market they are also trying to reach, or who they see themselves working with in 5 years.

3. Research

How have other B2B marketing plans worked in the past? Because you know what your client wants and what industries they are interested in communicating with, look into campaigns that have worked and failed in the past. You can learn just as much from a failure as you can from a success.

4. Build a relationship

When dealing with business-to-consumer marketing, it is impossible to create a relationship with everyone in the target market. B2B has the benefit of only communicating with other businesses. Take advantage of this situation and build a personal relationship with every business you can. You can do this by offering coupons to businesses who return to your client, establishing a client database, and referring other businesses to your client.

5. Don’t let B2B marketing scare you!

The differences between business-to-consumer marketing and B2B might seem large at first, but when you get down to it, understanding your objectives and a new audience can make a world of difference. Because there is always more to learn, check out these interesting marketing blogs that cover B2B marketing topics.

B2B Marketing




Graphic by Sammy Dorman

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