Not very long ago there was a clear difference between B2C marketing and B2B marketing: B2C: Set up your shop, do some promotion, wait for customers to come to you. B2B: Identify your target customers, use a sales team to pro-actively keep in touch, build relationships & build business. OK, this is a simplification but the core distinction is valid; for B2C you wait for people to find you, for B2B you build relationships based on niche targeting. Over the past few years, things have shifted. The growth of web marketing has led to the seemingly overiding principle: “If only we can be at the top of Google, customers will come flocking”
So What Does B2B Marketing Really Need
Make no mistake – Google is Still Important
First of all, there is no doubt that a solid presence on Google is important, but the fact is that most SME Busnesses are targeting fairly focused markets (either geographically or sectorally – or both) and so the competition for that top slot is less intense. A professional, “search engine friendly” website with strong, optimised and appropriate information that will be valued by the market, and that is regularly updated with new, high quality content, is likely to rank well on Google for relevant searches.
Focus on building relationships – good B2B marketing depends on it
Yes, we are back to email. It is nowadays the most universal B2B communication tool and so still represents one of the best opportunities for B2B marketing. B2B Marketing has always been about building relationships. In most B2B markets, you are most likey to get business from those who know and trust you, so building this understanding and confidence should be the centre of any marketing campaign. By using a professional web presence and regular, targeted email you can build your profile in the market and ensure that your contacts know and value your offering. One key thing that the web delivers for the B2B market is cost effectiveness. 10 years ago a marketing programme to deliver a sustained customer contact programme off line would have been outside most SME marketing budgets. Now, the web has delivered the opportunity to create sustainable effective campaigns on modest monthly budgets, probably less that it takes to keep your car in fuel!!
There is no doubt that internet offers significant potential for SME B2B businesses, but never forget that B2B marketing is different from B2C. Just because something fits the B2C profile does not mean it will be the same for B2B. When planning your marketing, and considering the use of web tools, you should work in the context of what you are trying to achive as an organisation and focus on meeting the needs of your customers within the context of their own circumstances