Business Marketing Advice
Business marketing can be defined as the process whereby businesses promote their products or services to other companies to resell, use as components, or utilize in support of their own business. It is also known as business-to-business, or B2B marketing.
The principles that apply to both business and consumer marketing are essentially the same, but business marketing, unlike consumer marketing, tends to be on a smaller scale. Like consumer marketing, your business still needs to accurately target its audience, as well as correctly price the product or service to suit the desired market. Your business also needs to sell the product or service effectively to the target audience.
Unlike consumer marketing, your customer is not so clearly defined in the process of business marketing, but they do tend to fall into four main categories: other companies who use your products or services; government agencies; institutions, such as schools or hospitals; and resellers. In consumer marketing, the customer is an individual as opposed to a business.
An example of the first category is a garage that might buy automotive spare parts for their business from you. Government agencies and institutions might purchase any number of products and services as part of their day to day running, and they normally account for the largest purchasing sector. The last category would consist of wholesalers and other distributors, for example, Amazon, which sells a wide range of products to the end consumer.
Like consumer marketing, there are many ways to advertise and promote your business to other businesses. It is very important that you correctly identify your target market. The main difference with a consumer market is that you are not dealing with an individual, you are dealing with many people, all of whom have some influence in the decision making process.
For many businesses, the market they trade is in relatively small. This can mean their customer base is also very small, which makes the marketing process very simple. You know who your customers are-you just need to figure out the specific marketing communication strategies that are going to work for each product and service. Company branding is very important in business marketing. Your company brand needs to be standardized across all aspects of your company material, including communication methods like email.
Business marketing strategies can take many forms. Trade Shows and industry specific events are a great place to market your business to others in your niche. Not only are they useful networking events, they are also a good way of meeting potential new customers who are specifically interested in the product or service you sell. Local business networking events are also useful for the same reason-many of these are branded as “meet the buyer” because they are specifically designed to introduce businesses to each other, especially those operating in the same niches.
Direct mail is always a popular way of targeting potential customers as well as existing ones. Once you have a mailing list, you can use it to send out company brochures and advertising leaflets to encourage your customers to take advantage of any special offers and promotions. Telemarketing is another “direct” approach that is designed to target individual companies.
Many larger businesses use Public Relations firms and other publicity experts to keep themselves in the public eye by using the media to publicize upcoming promotions and newsworthy material. Other forms of media advertising include industry specific magazines and publications.
One of the biggest business marketing developments in modern times is the advent of Internet marketing. Now that websites and electronic media are a part of everyday life, most companies devote a large part of their business marketing budget to promoting and advertising their products and services on the Internet. A company branded website is vital for any company to promote themselves on the web, but if you want to take it to the next level, you can use social networking devices like Facebook and Twitter to market your business. Twitter is the latest marketing phenomenon and millions of web savvy businesses are beginning to see the benefit of using the power of social networking.
However, a good range of different marketing approaches will always reap the best rewards, so it pays to try a few out to see what works for your business.