Business-to-business market research and intelligence consultancy B2B International explains why b2b marketing is so special
Is business-to-business marketing really that different from business-to-consumer marketing? Could it just be a ruse put about by b2b practitioners?
Global market research agency B2B International, which manages hundreds of b2b projects every year, recognises the many differences between the business and consumer disciplines and highlights the implications of these differences when it comes to implementing a business-to-business marketing strategy.
The agency’s new White Paper ‘Why is business-to-business marketing special?’ is a valuable aid to b2b marketers.
B2b marketing is about meeting the needs of other businesses, though ultimately the demand for the products made by these businesses is likely to be driven by consumers.
When acting as consumers, we are often less well-informed, less accountable to others and far more susceptible to whims, indulgences, recklessness and showing off than is the case when we are in the workplace.
We therefore have a tendency to make purchasing decisions that a rational observer (i.e. a business-to-business buyer that has to make a profit each month) would regard as ludicrous.
As consumers we are far less likely to ask whether the product we are buying has an ROI.
We buy what we want, not what we need. Not so in b2b.
Matthew Harrison, B2B International Director and co-author of the White Paper, is convinced that b2b marketing is more unique than most people realise.
Unlike many sources who highlight just four key differences, Harrison believes there are actually ten key factors that make b2b markets special and different from consumer markets:
- b2b markets have a more complex decision-making unit
- b2b buyers are more rational
- b2b products are often more complex
- there are a limited number of buying units in b2b markets
- b2b markets have fewer behavioural and needs-based segments
- personal relationships are more important in b2b markets
- b2b buyers are longer-term buyers
-b2b markets drive innovation less than consumer markets
-consumer markets rely far more on packaging
-sub-brands are less effective in b2b markets
“Quite simply, a real distinguishing factor of b2b buyers is that they are more demanding. They have a responsibility to make the right decision when purchasing on behalf of their companies. They take fewer risks and therefore need quality to be absolutely right. They have the expertise to recognise a bad offering when they see one and they are used to getting what they want. B2b buyers are often paying more than they would as a consumer and therefore expect more in return. Our research and experience indicate that they are likely to regard themselves as interacting with the product or service supplied to them, rather than playing the role of passive recipient.”
He goes on to reiterate that a marketer’s job is to meet the target audience’s needs, and marketers must therefore raise their game to ensure that their product, services and intangibles meet and exceed customers’ requirements.
In concluding that business-to-business buyers are more predictable than their consumer counterparts, the paper is optimistic: good quality market intelligence and close attention to target markets’ needs place b2b marketers in a strong position to meet the needs of the market.
The full White Paper can be accessed at: http://www.b2binternational.com/b2b-marketing
Copyright B2B International
About B2B International
B2B International is a specialist business-to-business market research consultancy that provides customised business-to-business market research and intelligence studies on a global scale. In the last decade alone, it has carried out over a thousand surveys in almost every industry for corporations, government departments, educational institutions, and medical specialists alike.
With 30 years’ experience in business-to-business market research, B2B International has built up an impressive client portfolio and has published books, white papers and articles on marketing and market research.
It has offices in three continents (Europe, North America and Asia) where its research specialists have researched all the major geographical areas of the world.
B2B International’s offering includes market assessment and market entry studies, segmentation studies, product development studies, branding studies, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction research, pricing strategy and advertising studies.
B2B’s leading practitioners have also run a large number of training courses on marketing and market research.
14th August 2009