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.”
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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.”
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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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This is a good overview of the B2B planning process.
Business-to-business firms use a lot of E-mail marketing. So, enhancements in tactics are always helpful.
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Business-to-business marketers face some key online challenges that must be addressed.
According to eMarketer: “Business-to-business (B2B) companies are constantly searching for new client prospects that can benefit from their services. As a result, lead generation has proven one of the most critical and challenging B2B pursuits. BtoB Magazine surveyed U.S. B2B marketers and found that in 2013, generating more leads remained their top challenge, cited by 60% of respondents. That was followed by the related challenge of successfully reaching their target audience.”
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