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B2B: What Is a Marketing Plan? (+ 5 Marketing Plan Examples)

B2B

Marketing

Saunder Schroeder

February 18, 2022

By Saunder Schroeder

Chances are good that you have seen the initialism B2B before — you may have even read it in a sentence or two. However, the meaning of B2B may still escape you. Business-to-business (B2B) refers to a highly successful business model. B2B companies have some distinct advantages over those that sell to the consumer — not the least of which is that their customers, other businesses, understand the need to spend money in order to succeed. 

Read on if you are still having trouble understanding what the B2B business model is and how it stacks up against other, more traditional, business models. This article should provide you with all the information you need to recognize the benefits of following the business model of B2B companies. 

Understanding B2B Companies: What Is B2B, Exactly?  

B2B is a business model where the focus is on selling your goods and services to other businesses. These companies exist for the sole purpose of providing supportive products and services to other companies. In short, they help other businesses to succeed. 

It may seem that being a B2B business might limit your possibilities. The reality is that in the global marketplace there is almost no limit to the types and demand for business-related products and services. 

B2B sales are booming and will likely continue to grow. The range of B2B services and goods is immense and diverse. It includes everything from paper and other office supplies to software and cloud services. It also includes outsourced IT help, furniture, internet and cell phone services, and many more. Companies like Dropbox, General Electric, WeWork, and Xerox are already using the B2B business model to succeed. There is no reason you can’t, as well. 

Like any other business, B2B companies need to focus on great customer service and offer high-quality products or services. They need to inspire loyalty in their customers by providing something that will genuinely improve the performance of the businesses they sell to. If you can do that, you may be well on your way to running a successful B2B company. 

But who are the companies looking for business-to-business services or goods? Being a successful business demands that you know exactly who your ideal customers are.

What Companies Are in Need of B2B Products and Services? 

The easy answer to that question is almost all of them. Even B2B companies will likely find themselves in need of resources from other B2B companies at some point or another. Defining which industry to cater your business to may be the real challenge. 


What Companies Are in Need of B2B Products and Services? 

The easy answer to that question is almost all of them. Even B2B companies will likely find themselves in need of resources from other B2B companies at some point or another. Defining which industry to cater your business to may be the real challenge. 

Business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses may have the luxury of gearing their message to a single demographic. When marketing a B2B business, you have to take that a step further. It is quite likely that businesses in many different industries could make use of your good and services. Instead of catering to a single demographic based on industry, you need to focus on exactly which companies are going to want your goods or services and who has the power to purchase them. Find the right people and send them a clear and engaging message about how your company can benefit theirs. 

Below are the basic steps you need to take to run a successful marketing campaign for a B2B company. 

Planning for Success: What Are the Best Practices for a B2B Marketing Campaign? 

In general, a B2B marketing campaign must:

  • Pinpoint a need
  • Prove that the B2B company can fill that need
  • Convince the B2B company’s target customers that they can fill that need better than anyone else

The problem is, there are many ways to accomplish those goals and it is easy for your message to get lost in the details. The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to come up with a strategic plan of attack and stick to it. Here are some things to consider when drawing up your B2B marketing plan. 

Define Your Audience 

This is true of any marketing campaign but it is a little more difficult to define when dealing with B2B marketing. Since many different industries could likely benefit from your goods and services, it is best not to cater your message to all of them. 

For better results, try to imagine your ideal customer, one that is successful in its own right, and cater the message to them. Think of these businesses as your core audience. Create a message that clearly shows the advantages you can offer them and those in other industries will notice the success of companies making use of your products and services. 

Business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses may have the luxury of gearing their message to a single demographic. When marketing a B2B business, you have to take that a step further. It is quite likely that businesses in many different industries could make use of your good and services. Instead of catering to a single demographic based on industry, you need to focus on exactly which companies are going to want your goods or services and who has the power to purchase them. Find the right people and send them a clear and engaging message about how your company can benefit theirs. 

Below are the basic steps you need to take to run a successful marketing campaign for a B2B company. 

Planning for Success: What Are the Best Practices for a B2B Marketing Campaign? 

In general, a B2B marketing campaign must:

  • Pinpoint a need
  • Prove that the B2B company can fill that need
  • Convince the B2B company’s target customers that they can fill that need better than anyone else

The problem is, there are many ways to accomplish those goals and it is easy for your message to get lost in the details. The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to come up with a strategic plan of attack and stick to it. Here are some things to consider when drawing up your B2B marketing plan. 

Define Your Audience 

This is true of any marketing campaign but it is a little more difficult to define when dealing with B2B marketing. Since many different industries could likely benefit from your goods and services, it is best not to cater your message to all of them. 

For better results, try to imagine your ideal customer, one that is successful in its own right, and cater the message to them. Think of these businesses as your core audience. Create a message that clearly shows the advantages you can offer them and those in other industries will notice the success of companies making use of your products and services. 

Know Your Audience 

Once you have determined your core audience, take the time to get to know the industry they are involved in. You can’t sell something to a company unless you understand how they can make use of it. 

Pay attention to the benefits your services offer to your audience and keep tabs on their buying habits. Next, you need to figure out how many layers of blue tape your message will have to travel through before reaching those that have the power to approve a purchase. To hasten the journey, keep your message on topic and short. 

Stress Your Value 

Whatever the goods or services you are offering, chances are good that there are other B2B companies out there offering something similar. To win the battle for their dollar, you need to understand the value you offer the company and get that message out there. 

To send your message and raise your target audiences’ awareness of your brand, spread your marketing campaign through these resources: 

  • Highlight positive reviews on social media sites and search engines
  • Publish articles on third party sites 
  • Publish blogs, articles, and graphics on your site 

Once you have attracted the attention of your audience, it is time to showcase your goods and services. Make is each for your customers to easily access relevant answers to the question on their minds: “What can this B2B company do for me?” 

Tweak Your Message as Needed 

Even if you come up with exactly the right combination of information and salesmanship to start your campaign, you cannot rest on your laurels. Supply chains, resources, trends, and B2B eCommerce are constantly evolving and you need to be ready to adjust your message as needed. 

Make Use of the Power of Social Media 

Social media has become a powerful force in the dissemination of information. Make use of this power to get your message out to those who will best receive it. B2B businesses can generate leads by using sites like LinkedIn and industry-specific connection sites. 

Answer these questions about your marketing campaign to help you decide how to harness the power of social media to boost your bottom line. 

  • Who does your message need to go to? 
  • What is your brand and how is it different from other B2B companies like yours? 
  • Which social media sites best suit your needs? 
  • What type of content best showcases your brand and its value? 
  • What, specifically, are your goals for this campaign? 
  • How will you measure the success or failure of your B2B marketing campaign? 
  • What are your competitors doing? How can you outshine them? 

Read on for a list of B2B companies who have used the above-listed techniques to raise their brand awareness and grow their businesses. 

5 Highly Successful B2B Businesses: How Did They Get That Way? 

Below are some examples of B2B businesses that have established themselves as industry leaders. 

What do all the B2B businesses listed below have in common, aside from their success? They all recognized a distinct need across multiple industries and set out to find solutions. Once they had done that, they effectively convinced their potential customers that they could not only solve their problems but also that they could do it better than their competition.

1. WeWork 

Founded in 2010, WeWork sold the idea that remote work did not have to mean working alone. They created workspaces that could be rented by individuals or their employers that provided an environment conducive to working and allowed remote workers from various companies to sill share a sense of community. 

They earned their success by filling a void that many people did not even know existed. Once they created the concept, they sold it very effectively. By continuously evolving and meeting the real-time needs of the companies they serve, they have become hugely successful and will likely continue to be so. 

They also meet the need for office space for startup companies while they grow. 

2. Slack 

Slack provides an easy to access and effective communication platform that allows all aspects of a business to be kept in the loop. It enables communications to the entire workforce or channels can be created to connect team members or those involved with a specific product. 

Slack earned their success by seeing the need for communication, especially as the number of remote workers grew, and providing it in an intuitive and accessible platform. 

3. MailChimp 

MailChimp specializes in automated marketing. It provides its customers with the one thing all businesses need, successful marketing campaigns. 

They earned their success by eliminating the need for expensive marketing teams while still providing their customers with effective marketing campaigns. 

4. Buffer 

Buffer is software that is designed to help its users manage social media accounts. It allows its customers to create a post and schedule a time to have it launched on multiple social media sites. 

For businesses trying to advertise on social media sites, Buffer was a gamechanger. Buffer’s software made it possible for even smaller companies to stay on top of campaigns on multiple sites with ease. 

Buffer earned their success by understanding a specific need of their customers — the need to manage campaigns over multiple social media sites without spending their whole day doing it — and offering them an effective solution. 

5. Pew Research Center 

The Pew Research Center is long-established and well known for the data it collects through surveys and questionnaires. You may think that it does not belong on this list of B2B business success stories, but the fact is that they have a great deal to offer other businesses. The data they collect is an invaluable resource for those looking to find a target audience or stay up to date on the latest trends in any given industry. 

They earned their success as a B2B business by understanding their value to other businesses and convincing them of it.  

Now That You Know About B2B, What’s Next?

Now that you have a better understanding of what B2B companies are and how to achieve success as one, what’s next? First, it is important to remember that B2B companies are not all the same. As such, cookie-cutter marketing solutions may not help you to achieve the success you are looking for. To get help developing the right campaign for your B2B business, contact us at Disruptive Advertising. Let’s start brainstorming and come up with the marketing solutions you need.

B2B: What Is a Marketing Plan? (+ 5 Marketing Plan Examples)

Saunder Schroeder

Author

Saunder is a legend in his own mind. His mission is to grow people and brands that he believes in. He has a beautiful wife and 2 kids. He's a protector of sweet potato fries and performance station wagons.

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