Business marketing is a way to promote the sale of services or products to other businesses. Typically, this is done by selling to other organizations or businesses that either resell the product or use it in operations. Some of the most successful marketing strategies in this field utilize a variety of approaches to reach customers.
Business marketing is sometimes known by the acronym B2B or business-to-business. More than just a business, of course, you can buy services or products. The subscriber list may also include academics or other agencies, government agencies, or non-profit organizations.
There are several similarities between marketing to businesses and marketing to consumers. Both types of marketing still have to identify and target specific markets. Another commonality is the need to understand the market price for a service or product and set the price accordingly. Finally, the service or product must provide value and meet the needs of the buyer.
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Multiple differences often make the normal buying process more complicated and complex. The first real difference is that there are far fewer customers in the business market than in the consumer market.
These customers also purchase much larger quantities (e.g., thousands of tires) and the price of their multiple single item purchases far exceeds that of individual consumers (e.g., millions of dollars for a new bridge). Business customers within the same industry often tend to be in concentrated geographic areas. For example, Silicon Valley in California has a high concentration of companies in the technology industry.
The nature of demand for products is different from consumer demand because they often originate from consumer demand. Derivative demand means that the demand for original equipment leather seat covers installed in new cars depends on the demand for the model of car that uses those seat covers.
They have a more inelastic demand curve because the demand for seat covers depends on consumer demand for cars, not on the price of seat covers. Another factor affected by derivative demand is that it can cause large fluctuations in the demand for seat covers. If demand for cars falls, it may have little impact on the automaker’s sales numbers, but if this particular contract represents a large portion of a seat cover vendor’s production, that vendor could incur a significant revenue loss.
Finally, products and buying processes may differ from consumer markets to varying degrees. While some products purchased in the business market are the same or very similar to products purchased by consumers (eg office supplies), the buying process may be much more involved because of the contracts that are negotiated and needs that are unique or customized.
Product specifications, prices, quantities, service terms, contract terms and delivery schedules are just some of the terms that may need to be negotiated. On the other hand, many products are very complex and often custom made to agreed specifications.
The complexity of the buying process is compounded because a particular purchase must satisfy a number of different individuals and departments within the company. Because of these factors, purchasing decisions in businesses and organizations are often determined by a group of individuals known as a buying center. One of the maxims of marketing is that a profitable sales volume is more desirable than a maximum sales volume.
Like other forms of marketing, business-to-business marketing includes brand building, also known as branding. This is often done in the form of logos and other promotional materials that identify the business and make it stand out. At its best, branding for business advertising communicates products quickly and clearly, builds credibility and loyalty, provides an emotional connection, and motivates buyers to buy.
The internet and ever-changing technology both play an important role in business marketing. This can be done via email, website or even social networking groups. Depending on the business and its needs, the Internet can be used to expand the scope of a business nationally and internationally.
A successful Internet marketing plan depends on a company’s ability to find customers online. Part of this comes from understanding the language and terminology used for certain businesses. Potential customers will often type certain words into an Internet search engine while looking for a particular product or service. These keywords can be embedded in the text on a business website.
Aspiring business marketing professionals must acquire general marketing and customer service skills. They must also be able to match their company’s product and strengths to the needs of the target market. To ensure profitability, business-to-business marketers must also price products and services in order to sell well in a given market. Business marketing professionals have many additional responsibilities, which include the following:
- Make sales calls
- Maintain and promote the brand
- Identify target market
- Generate sales leads
- Carry out product launches
- Create and evaluate marketing programs
According to the American Marketing Association, an organization’s marketing sales force is largely responsible for generating and maintaining customer relationships. Business marketers usually work closely with their customers, so strong customer service skills are a top priority.
To reach other businesses, organizations often use business marketing channels, such as trade magazines and direct mail.
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