B2B Marketing on the Internet

B2B Marketing on the InternetWhile the principles of Business to Business (B2B) marketing remain unchanged in the digital age, B2B marketing on the Internet features a number of differentiating factors. In this article, we’ll be looking at what makes B2B Internet marketing different.

The development of new interactive technologies has significantly improved the way in which business can interact with other businesses online. This has brought about major changes in the way we do market research, competitive research and sales promotions and how we customize our online offers to match the needs of business clients. Let’s look at each of these aspects in more detail.

1. Market research
The Internet allows us to pinpoint exactly what customers are looking for online and how many of them there are, in which geographic area the greatest demand lies and what the demand trends are, as well as the demographic profile of the information researcher. Information relating to each of these aspects can be accessed easily using information readily available online.
This is because one of the most popular websites used for researching is Google. Research has shown that when people look for information about products, services and suppliers – or when they are looking to buy – they go to Google. And Google has made this wealth of information and market intelligence available to the public.
For example, if you want to find out how companies are looking for your products or services online – ie what search terms they use to search for your products and services – you can access this information by using Google’s Keyword Tool. An explanation of how Google’s Keyword Tool works is beyond the scope of this article, however, you can download our market research guide and find out exactly how to use this powerful tool to identify and define your online target market.

2. Competitive research
As you know, marketers need to understand what their competitors are offering in order to define their own competitive advantage. Doing this competitive research is a fairly straight-forward process thanks to the technology at our fingertips. You can research the main search phrase extracted from the above exercise and access each of your competitors’ websites to find relevant variables in your competitive structure.
With this information, you could, for example, create a spreadsheet to record the following competitive aspects listed below. This will enable you to find gaps in the market which you could own.

Competitive aspects
* Competitor Domain Name
* Main Offer
* Benefits of Offer
* Price
* Offer Differentiators
* Guarantee
* Unique Sales Proposition

3. Sales promotions
The Internet allows you to advertise your offer online using a myriad of resources. Let’s look at the most prominent types of advertising and resources online.

* Search engine marketing – This is the first and probably best known online sales promotions tool, and for good reason. This type of advertising allows you to target searchers by using the same phrases they use when looking for your offer through search engines. It is highly effective because you can place your offer in front of potential customers exactly at the point when they are looking for your products or services. This type of psychographic targeting is not available in offline advertising at all. The top resources in this category are Pay-Per-Click (PPC) networks such as Google AdWords and Bing Advertising.

* Social media – Social media web properties allow individuals to communicate with their friends, colleagues and peers online. Advertising on social media can be targeted precisely by geographic location and demographic profile. The most important social website for B2B marketing is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a business social network where users interact with business contacts. The top resources in this category include LinkedIn Advertising, Facebook Advertising and Twitter Advertising.

* Video advertising – This type of advertising allows you to post videos about your product solutions online. Because of the inherent multimedia capabilities of video, the message can be far more immersive. Through Google AdWords, you are also able advertise alongside popular videos that have been posted by others. Certain markets lend themselves perfectly to this type of advertising, since your target market can actually see your product or service in action. The most widely used video website is YouTube and it is one of the top traffic-bearing resources online.

* Media Buys – While a lesser-known form of online advertising, Media Buys allows you to place your ads in websites related to your own offer. There are many online resources which act as intermediaries and you can place a banner ad on these websites. This is a very effective form of advertising, especially when you are introducing a new innovation into a market. Some of the better known media buy networks include AdBrite, ProjectWonderful and BuySellAds.

4. Customizing your offer to suit business requirements
While both consumers and business follow a process when making purchase decisions, there is a fundamental difference between the business decision-making process and the consumer decision-making process. You can read more about this in the article B2B vs B2C – The difference that makes all the difference in Internet marketing.

Taking this fundamental difference into account, you can create a downloadable online resource on your website, specifically tailored to the requirements of the business decision-making process. This downloadable resource should allow your business clients make a more informed decision about your type of offer. This will build rapport with the person tasked with research, because you would have done their homework for them. The objective is to showcase your expertise in the subject matter as well as to highlight your competitive advantage.

Each of these aspects is a subject in its own right and we will delve a bit deeper into each of these aspects in future articles. Sign up to the newsletter to get these delivered straight to your inbox and to ensure you don’t miss an article.

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