Just like their larger counterparts, small business owners expect their channel partners (especially the manufacturers and suppliers with which they interact) to provide superior customer service. They do not want to be neglected or overlooked.
According to a February 2014 study by Cargo and Toluna (as reported by eMarketer): “Nearly half (47.3%) of small business owners (SBOs) said that poor customer service was the most common mistake brands made. Marketers must make an effort to relate to SBOs: Talking at SBOs (instead of with them), as well as failing to understand their businesses, were also big no-nos, cited by 44.7% and 40.7%, respectively.”
Click the chart to learn more.
We spend so much time on business-to-consumer marketing, that we sometimes underappreciate the importance of business-to-business marketing. The best companies do understand the role of B2B marketing.
As Jen Agustin reports for Bizo: “Marketers are realizing that branding is a strategy not just for the Coca-Cola’s and Nike’s of the B2C world. Branding does indeed matter in the B2B buying process. Because prospects are waiting longer before engaging with salespeople, marketers need to use branding to get their companies, products, and services out there as early as possible in order to earn a spot on the evaluation shortlist later on. This means getting in front of the right people before they even realize they have a business challenge to solve.”
Consider the following infographic.
As marketers, we have some idea of what works when marketing to our customers. But what about when B2B firms market to marketers?
Here’s an interesting infographic from LeadJen.
What will business-to-business firms be doing in 2014 with regard to online marketing?
In the infographic shown below, “CMI and MarketingProfs report that 93 percent of B2B organizations rely on content marketing for brand building and demand generation. Most importantly, B2B marketers are getting better at content marketing; in fact, 42 percent of respondents indicated that they are more effective at content marketing in 2013, compared with 36 percent in 2012.”
Click the infographic for a larger image.
The Wall Street Journal recently published a story related to innovation and small business: “You Have a Great Idea. Now What Do You Do?”
Take a look at this Wall Street Journal infographic.
Now, click on the image below to access a very interesting audio clip.
We know that business-to-business marketers often operate in a different business space than business-to-consumer companies — in terms of customers, suppliers, distribution channels, media, and so on. Nonetheless, B2B businesses can learn from their B2C colleagues and vice versa.
Consider these observations from Derek Singleton, writing for MarketingProfs: “I think some of the best B2B marketers are not only thinking like B2C marketers but also borrowing marketing strategies that have already proven successful in the consumer world. In the tech sector, borrowing from the consumer world has been dubbed the ‘consumerization of IT.’ In my view, we’re also starting to see the consumerization of B2B marketing. That is, B2B marketing — at least in the tech world — is starting to mirror the simple marketing, transparent pricing, and frictionless buying process of the B2C world. Although this trend is still developing, several ways that B2B companies can borrow strategies from the consumer world are already evident.”
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A hot emerging technology involves what is known as 3D printing. What is it and how is it being used?
According to Jody Gilliam, writing for TeleTech: “3D printing is another disruptive technology that is transforming the customer experience as we know it. With the ability to ‘print’ virtually any object, 3D printing shifts creating and manufacturing capabilities to the customer, potentially diminishing vendor power and decreasing the value of their products. Often referred to as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is the process of layering material into virtually any solid shape. Digital designs and graphic design software guide 3D printers to dispense metal, plastic, and other materials onto moving platforms. Successive layers of material are deposited to create anything from shoes to replacement jawbones, and even fully functional guns. If you can design it, a 3D printer can create it. 3D printing is still in its early days. Printers are expensive and adoption has been slow, but 3D printing has received lots of media attention lately. Some anticipate 3D printers in nearly every household by 2030 and beyond.”
Take a look at this infographic from Scuplteo for more information.
This is a good overview of the B2B planning process.