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Business marketing is the practice of individuals or organizations, such as commercial businesses, governments and institutions, facilitating the sale of their products or services to other companies or organizations that either resell them, use them as components in products or services they offer, or use them to support their operations. Also known as industrial marketing, business marketing is sometimes referred to as business-to-business marketing, or B2B marketing, for short. (Note that while marketing to government entities shares some of the same dynamics of organizational marketing, Business-to-government marketing is meaningfully different.)
Origins of Business Marketing 
In the broadest sense, the practice of one purveyor of goods trading with another is as old as commerce itself. As a niche in the field of marketing today, however, its history is more recent. In his introduction to Fundamentals of Business Marketing Research, J. David Lichtenthal, professor of marketing at Zicklin School of Business, notes that industrial marketing has been around since the mid-19th century, although the bulk of research on the discipline of business marketing has come about in the last 25 years.
Morris, Pitt and Honeycutt, in 2001, point out that for many years business marketing took a back seat to consumer marketing, which entailed providers of goods or services selling directly to households through mass media and retail channels. This began to change in the middle to late 1970s. A variety of academic periodicals, such as the Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing and the Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, now publish studies on the subject regularly. In addition, professional conferences on business-to-business marketing are held every year. What's more, business marketing courses are commonplace at many universities today. In fact, Dwyer and Tanner (2006) point out that more marketing majors begin their careers in business marketing today than in consumer marketing.
Business markets have a derived demand - this means that a demand in business markets exists only because of another demand somewhere in the consumer market. Lets take a few examples :
- The government of India wishes to purchase equipment for a nuclear power plant in Jaipur, which a business market demand. The underlying consumer demand that has triggered this particular business market demand is that people of India are now consuming more electricity - they have bought more washing machines, microwaves, computers, and re-chargeable electronic devices.
- The demand for restaurant furniture is based on the consumer demand for more restaurants.
Thus business markets do not exist in isolation. Cities or countries with growing consumption are generally growing business markets too.
A single consumer market demand can give rise to hundreds of business market demands. The demand for cars in India creates demands for steel, tires, forgings, castings, and plastic components which in turn create demands for mining, rubber, forging machines, casting sand and polymers. Each of these growing demands has further triggered more demands. Thus as the spending power of citizens increase, the country generally sees an upward wave in its economy.
Business Marketing vs. Consumer Marketing 
Although on the surface the differences between business and consumer marketing may seem obvious, there are more subtle distinctions between the two with substantial ramifications. Dwyer and Tanner (2006) note that business marketing generally entails shorter and more direct channels of distribution.
While consumer marketing is aimed at large groups through mass media and retailers, the negotiation process between the buyer and seller is more personal in business marketing. According to Hutt and Speh (2004), most business marketers commit only a small part of their promotional budgets to advertising, and that is usually through direct mail efforts and trade journals. While advertising is limited, it often helps the business marketer set up successful sales calls.
Marketing to a business is trying to make a profit (business-to-business marketing) as opposed to an individual for personal use (Business-to-Consumer, or B2C marketing) is similar in terms of the fundamental principles of marketing. In B2C, B2B and B2G marketing situations, the marketer must always:
- successfully match the product or service strengths with the needs of a definable target market;
- position and price to align the product or service with its market, often an intricate balance; and
- communicate and sell it in the fashion that demonstrates its value effectively to the target market.
While "other businesses" might seem like the simple answer, Dwyer and Tanner (2006) say business customers fall into four broad categories: companies that consume products or services, government agencies, institutions and resellers.
The first category includes original equipment manufacturers, such as large auto-makers who buy gauges to put in their cars and also small firms owned by 1-2 individuals who purchase products to run their business. The second category - government agencies, is the biggest. In fact, the U.S. government is the biggest single purchaser of products and services in the country, spending more than $300 billion annually. But this category also includes state and local governments. The third category, institutions, includes schools, hospitals and nursing homes, churches and charities. Finally, resellers consist of wholesalers, brokers and industrial distributors.
So what are the meaningful differences between B2B and B2C marketing?
A B2C sale is to a "Consumer" i.e. to a single person who pays for the transaction. A B2B sale is to a "Business" i.e. organization or firm. Given the complexity of organizational structure, B2B sales typically involve multiple decision makers. The marketing mix is affected by the B2B uniqueness which include complexity of business products and services, diversity of demand and the differing nature of the sales itself (including fewer customers buying larger volumes). Because there are some important subtleties to the B2B sale, the issues are broken down beyond just the original 4 Ps of marketing developed by McCarthy.
Business to business(B2B) Marketing Strategies 
B2B Branding 
B2B Branding is different from B2C in some crucial ways, including the need to closely align corporate brands, divisional brands and product/service brands and to apply your brand standards to material often considered “informal” such as email and other electronic correspondence. it is mainly of large scale when compared with B2C
Product (or Service) 
Due to the fact that business customers are focused on creating shareholder value for themselves, the cost-saving or revenue-producing benefits of products and services are important to factor in throughout the product development and marketing cycles.
People (Target Market) 
Quite often, the target market for a business product or service is smaller and has more specialized needs reflective of a specific industry or niche. A B2B niche, a segment of the market, can be described in terms of firmographics which requires marketers to have good business intelligence in order to increase response rates. Regardless of the size of the target market, the business customer is making an organizational purchase decision and the dynamics of this, both procedurally and in terms of how they value the product offered, differ dramatically from the consumer market. There may be multiple influencers on the purchase decision, which may also have to be marketed to, though they may not be members of the decision making unit.
The business market can be convinced to pay premium prices more often than the consumer market if you know how to structure your pricing and payment terms well. This pricing premium is particularly achievable if you support it with a strong brand.
Promotion planning is relatively easy when you know the decision making habits of your customer base and what they are looking for, not to mention the vocabulary unique to their segment. Specific trade shows, analysts, publications, blogs and retail/wholesale outlets tend to be fairly common to each industry/product area. What this means is that once you figure it out for your industry/product, the promotion plan almost writes itself (depending on your budget) but figuring it out can be a special skill and it takes time to build up experience in your specific field. Promotion techniques rely heavily on marketing communications strategies (see below).
Place (Sales and Distribution) 
The importance of a knowledgeable, experienced and effective direct (inside or outside) sales force is often critical in the business market. If you sell through distribution channels also, the number and type of sales forces can vary tremendously and your success as a marketer is highly dependent on their success.
B2B Marketing Communications Methodologies 
The purpose of B2B marketing communications is to support the organizations' sales effort and improve company profitability. B2B marketing communications tactics generally include advertising, public relations, direct mail, trade show support, sales collateral, branding, and interactive services such as website design and search engine optimization. The Business Marketing Association  is the trade organization that serves B2B marketing professionals. It was founded in 1922 and offers certification programs, research services, conferences, industry awards and training programs.
Positioning Statement 
An important first step in business to business marketing is the development of your positioning statement. This is a statement of what you do and how you do it differently, as well as how it will be better and more efficiently than your competitors.
Developing your messages 
The next step is to develop your messages. There is usually a primary message that conveys more strongly to your customers,what you do and the benefit it offers to them. This is often supported by a number of secondary messages, each of which may have a number of supporting arguments, facts and figures.
Building a campaign plan 
Doesn't matter which form the B2B marketing campaign will take, you need to build a comprehensive plan up front to target resources where you believe they will deliver the best return on investment, and make sure you have all the infrastructure in place to support each stage of the marketing process - and that doesn't just include developing the lead - make sure the entire organization is geared up to handle the inquiries appropriately.
Briefing an agency 
A standard briefing document is usually a good idea for briefing an agency. As well as focusing the agency on what's important to you and your campaign. It serves as a checklist of all the important things to consider as part of your brief. Typical elements to an agency brief are: Your objectives, target market, target audience, product, campaign description, your product positioning, graphical considerations, corporate guidelines, and any other supporting material and distribution.
Measuring results 
The real value in results measurement is in tying the marketing campaign back to business results. After all, you’re not in the business of developing marketing campaigns for marketing sake. So always put metrics in place to measure your campaigns, and if at all possible, measure your impact upon your desired objectives, be it Cost Per Acquisition, Cost per Lead or tangible changes in customer perception.
How big is business marketing? 
Hutt and Speh (2001) note that "business marketers serve the largest market of all; the dollar volume of transactions in the industrial or business market significantly exceeds that of the ultimate consumer market." For example, they note that companies such as GE, DuPont and IBM spend more than $60 million a day on purchases to support their operations.
Dwyer and Tanner (2006) say the purchases made by companies, government agencies and institutions "account for more than half of the economic activity in industrialized countries such as the United States, Canada and France."
A 2003 study sponsored by the Business Marketing Association estimated that business-to-business marketers in the United States spend about $85 billion a year to promote their goods and services. The BMA study breaks that spending out as follows (figures are in billions of dollars):
- Trade Shows/Events -- $17.3
- Internet/Electronic Media -- $12.5
- Promotion/Market Support -- $10.9
- Magazine Advertising -- $10.8
- Publicity/Public Relations -- $10.5
- Direct Mail -- $9.4
- Dealer/Distributor Materials -- $5.2
- Market Research -- $3.8
- Telemarketing -- $2.4
- Directories -- $1.4
- Other -- $5.1
What's driving growth in B2B Marketing? 
The tremendous growth and change that business marketing is experiencing is largely due to three "revolutions" occurring around the world today, according to Morris, Pitt and Honeycutt (2001).
First is the technological revolution. Technology is changing at an unprecedented pace, and these changes are speeding up the pace of new product and service development. A large part of that has to do with the Internet, which is discussed in more detail below.
Technology and business strategy go hand in hand. Both are correlated. While technology supports forming organization strategy, the business strategy is also helpful in technology development. Both play a great role in business marketing.
Second is the entrepreneurial revolution. To stay competitive, many companies have downsized and reinvented themselves. Adaptability, flexibility, speed, aggressiveness and innovativeness are the keys to remaining competitive today. Marketing is taking the entrepreneurial lead by finding market segments, untapped needs and new uses for existing products, and by creating new processes for sales, distribution and customer service.
The third revolution is one occurring within marketing itself. Companies are looking beyond traditional assumptions and they are adopting new frameworks, theories, models and concepts. They are also moving away from the mass market and the preoccupation with the transaction. Relationships, partnerships and alliances are what define marketing today. The cookie-cutter approach is out. Companies are customizing marketing programs to individual accounts.
The impact of the Internet 
The Internet has become an integral component of the customer relationship management strategy for business marketers. Dwyer and Tanner (2006) note that business marketers not only use the Internet to improve customer service but also to gain opportunities with distributors.
According to Anderson and Narus (2004), two new types of resellers have emerged as by-products of the Internet: infomediaries and metamediaries. Infomediaries, such as Google and Yahoo, are search engine companies that also function as brokers, or middlemen, in the business marketing world. They charge companies fees to find information on the Web as well as for banner and pop-up ads and search engine optimization services. Metamediaries are companies with robust Internet sites that furnish customers with multiproduct, multivendor and multiservice marketspace in return for commissions on sales.
With the advent of b-to-b exchanges, the Internet ushered in an enthusiasm for collaboration that never existed before—and in fact might have even seemed ludicrous 10 years ago. For example, a decade ago who would have imagined Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler entering into a joint venture? That's exactly what happened after all three of the Big Three began moving their purchases online in the late 1990s. All three companies were pursuing their own initiatives when they realized the economies of scale they could achieve by pooling their efforts. Thus was born what then was the world's largest Internet business when Ford's Auto-Xchange and GM's TradeXchange merged, with DaimlerChrysler representing the third partner.
While this exchange did not stand the test of time, others have, including Agentrics, which was formed in 2005 with the merger of WorldWide Retail Exchange and GlobalNetXchange, or GNX. Agentrics serves more 50 retailers around the world and more than 300 customers, and its members have combined sales of about $1 trillion. Hutt and Speh (2001) note that such virtual marketplaces enable companies and their suppliers to conduct business in real time as well as simplify purchase processes and cut costs.
- McCarthy, Jerome E.: "Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach". Homewood, IL: Irwin, 1996
- Kotler & Pfoertsch: "B2B Brand Management", page 21. Springer Berlin, 2006
- Malaval: "Strategy and Management of Industrial Brands: Business to Business Products and Services", page 16. 2001
- Brown, Duncan and Hayes, Nick. Influencer Marketing: Who really influences your customers?, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2008
- Kotler & Pfoertsch: "B2B Brand Management", page 53. Springer Berlin, 2006
- Anderson, James C., and Narus, James A. (2004) Business Market Management: Understanding, Creating, and Delivering Value, 2nd Edition, 2004, Pearson Education, Inc.
- Business Marketing Association (2003) "Marketing Reality Survey"
- Dwyer, F. Robert, Tanner, John F. (2006) Business Marketing: Connecting Strategy, Relationships, and Learning, 3rd Edition, McGraw-Hill/Irwin
- Greco, John A. Jr., (2005) "Past indicates promising future for b-to-b direct; BtoB magazine, June 13, 2005
- Hutt, Michael D., Speh, Thomas W. (2004) Business Marketing Management: A Strategic View of Industrial and Organizational Markets, 8th Edition, Thomson/South-Western
- Morris, Michael H., Pitt, Leyland F., and Honeycutt, Earl Dwight (2001) Business-to-Business Marketing: A Strategic Approach, Sage Publications Inc.
- Reid, David A., and Plank, Richard E. (2004) Fundamentals of Business Marketing Research, Best Business Books, an Imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.
- Brown, Duncan and Hayes, Nick. Influencer Marketing: Who really influences your customers?, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2008