B2B, or business to business marketing, involves selling of a company’s services or products to another company. Consumer marketing and B2B marketing are really not that different. Basically, B2B uses the same principles to market its product but the execution is a little different. B2B buyers make their purchases solely based on price and profit potential while consumers make their purchases based on emotional triggers, status, popularity, and price. B2B is a large industry.
The fact that more than 50 percent of all economic activity in the United States is made up of purchases made by institutions, government agencies, and business gives you a perspective of the size of this industry. Technological advancements and the internet has given B2Bs new ways to make sense of their big data, learn about prospects, and improve their conversion rates. Innovations such as marketing automation platforms and marketing technology — sometimes referred to as ‘martech’ — will revolutionize the way B2B companies market their products. They will be able to deliver mass personalization and nurture leads through the buyer’s journey.
In the next few years, these firms will be spending 73% more on marketing analytics. What does this mean for B2B marketing? The effects of new technology on B2B marketing will be more pronounced in some key areas. These are:
In the old days, businesses had to spend fortunes on industry reports and market research to find how and to whom to market their products. They had to build their marketing efforts based on what their existing customer base seems to like. However, growing access to technology and analytics has made revenue attribution and lead nurturing a predictable, measurable, and a more structured process. While demand generation is an abstraction or a form of art (largely depends on who you ask), lead generation is a repeatable scientific process. This means less guesswork and more revenue.
Thanks to SaaS (software-as-a-service) revolution, technologies once only available to elite firms—revenue reporting, real-time web analytics, and marketing automation — are now accessible and affordable to businesses of all sizes. Instead of attempting to build economies of scale, smaller businesses are using the power of these innovations to give the bigger competition a run for their dough. With SaaS, small businesses can now narrow their approaches and zero in on key accounts.
In the context of business to business marketing, this means that instead of trying to attract unqualified, uncommitted top-tier leads, these companies will go after matched stakeholders and accounts and earn their loyalty by providing exceptional customer experiences.
A few years ago, data was the most underutilized asset in the hands of a marketer. That has since changed. Marketers are quickly coming to the realization that when it comes to their trade, big data is now more valuable than ever — measuring results, targeting prospects, and improving campaigns — and are in search of more ways to exploit it. B2B marketing is laden with new tools that capitalize on data points. These firms use data scraping techniques and tools to customize their sites for their target audiences. Business can even use predictive lead scoring to gauge the performance of leads in the future. Apache Kafka provides a Distributed Streaming Platform for building a real-time data pipeline in addition to streaming mobile apps.
The integration of marketing automation and CRM has made it easier for B2Bs to track and measure marketing campaign efforts through revenue marketing. It has always been hard for firms to calculate their return on marketing investment (ROMI).
Technological advancements have some exciting parallels in the B2B industry. In order to exploit this technology and gain a competitive edge, companies have to stay up to date. The risk involved is very minimal so these firms have absolutely nothing to worry about.
Kevin Faber is the CEO of Silver Summit Capital. He graduated from UC Davis with a B.A. in Business/Managerial Economics. In his free time, Kevin is usually watching basketball or kicking back and reading a good book.
Follow him on Twitter: @faber28kevin