Business-to-business (B2B) describes commerce transactions between businesses, such asbetween a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer. Contrastingterms are business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-government (B2G).The volume of B2B (Business-to-Business) transactions is much higher than the volume of B2Ctransactions.  The primary reason for this is that in a typical supply chain there will bemany B2B transactions involving sub components or raw materials, and only one B2Ctransaction, specifically sale of the finished product to the end customer. For example, anautomobile manufacturer makes several B2B transactions such as buying tires, glass forwindscreens, and rubber hoses for its vehicles. The final transaction, a finished vehicle sold tothe consumer, is a single (B2C) transaction.B2B is also used in the context of communication and collaboration. Many businesses are nowusing social media to connect with their consumers (B2C); however, they are now using similartools within the business so employees can connect with one another. When communication istaking place amongst employees, this can be referred to as "B2B" communication. EtymologyThe term was originally coined to describe the electronic communications between businesses orenterprises in order to distinguish it from the communications between businesses and consumers("business-to-consumer"). It eventually came to be used in marketing as well, initially describingonly industrial or capital goods marketing. Today it is widely used to describe all products andservices used by enterprises. Many professional institutions and the trade publications focusmuch more on B2C than B2B, although most sales and marketing personnel are in the B2Bsector.B-TO-B MARKETING TOOLS THAT WORK FOR YOUR BUSINESSWhat are the best B-to-B marketing tools for your business? Business-to-Business marketing is one ofour specialties at Lawrimore Inc. Here are some important things weve learned in over 25 years ofhelping clients with B-to-B marketing tools.First of all, consider if you are marketing mainly to local businesses or businesses nationwide, evenglobally, because that has a major impact on your choice of B-to-B marketing tools. Either way, you aregoing to need certain core B-to-B marketing tools, which we will discuss first, then get into thedifferences between local and national marketing. (All of these tools are provided cost-effectively byLawrimore Inc.)CORE B-TO-B MARKETING TOOLS
A good brand name communicates your business distinctively. If you have an unusual name likeLawrimore, you can go with that. But if your name is Smith, pair it with other words that explain whatyou provide, like Telephone Systems, Casualty Insurance, or Architecture.You need a distinctive logo that you can use on all your marketing materials that will serve as a graphicsymbol of your brand. Dont settle for a cheap one because this is one of the most important symbols ofyour business as a whole.A website is essential in todays marketplace, yet surprisingly many businesses still do not have even abasic website. Ask us about inexpensive website options, or perhaps consider the value of investing in asearch engine optimized website that will attract potential customers who are using major search toolslike Google, Yahoo or Bing.Public relations is the most cost-effective b-to-b marketing tool for reaching large audiences. We canassist you with getting news stories and feature articles in a wide range of media, and it costs younothing for the news space. Public relations has more than seven times the credibility of advertising,according to one study, because it has the implied endorsement of the "objective" news media.Direct mail is regaining favor as a b-to-b marketing tool because it can be highly targeted. Standardenvelopes often get trashed, but simple postcards will typically get scanned by the recipient, and "lumpymail" (packages with some souvenir object in them) will usually get opened. One of the best uses ofdirect mail is to generate interest among potential customers in visiting your website, where they canlearn much more, and find an online contact form to let you know of their interests.LOCAL B-TO-B MARKETING TOOLSNewspaper advertising can be effective in building name awareness and generating some inquiries fromprospects, although it can also be expensive. Even a small ad can run several hundred dollars perinsertion. This is one B-to-B marketing tool that you can try in various forms to see what works best. Ingeneral one ad is worthless. A series of 4 to 12 is needed to build interest and desire on the part ofpotential customers.B-to-B networking - in most communities, the Chamber of Commerce has a wide variety of events year-round that let you meet and talk with hundreds of people, some of whom are potential customers andsome of whom may serve as referral sources. Other organizations like Business Network Internationaland local chapters of professional organizations provide additional opportunities to get to know lots ofpeople. Be prepared to pass out plenty of business cards.Yellow pages are a mixed bag. On one hand youd better at least have a listing or you may miss
opportunities. But in our own experience, the majority of people who are searching for a businessservices provider in the Yellow Pages have little money and ultimately do not become profitablecustomers. It all depends on the business you are in. Obviously plumbers and insurance companies getbusiness from the Yellow Pages because they run tons of ads in the phone book. Try it yourself and seewhat works.Radio and TV are generally not cost-effective B-to-B marketing tools. Thats because the vast majority ofthe audience you are paying for are not potential customers - not business owners and decision-makers.If you do want to try broadcast advertising, consider Cable TV. It is surprisingly cost-effective and letsyou select a cluster of channels that are more likely to be viewed by business people than some others.NATIONAL-INTERNATIONAL B-TO-B MARKETINGTrade magazines are the best national-international B-to-B marketing tools by far. There aretens of thousands of them, and a professional marketing firm can identify dozens that serve yourtarget market. Full color ads are usually worth the price. Sell only one product or service per adand run it several times for best results. Such ads weve created for clients have generatedhundreds of thousands of dollars in sales with ads yet only cost a couple of thousand to run.In addition, trade magazines are hungry for good PR stories. Our marketing firm can write articles andtake photographs that will be "magazine quality" and ensure good placement for your business. Someweve created have even made the front covers of major trade publications. Such PR costs no more thanan ad but has much greater visibility and will really make your phone ring.Search engine optimization goes far beyond a mere website, to actually drive search engine traffic toyour site. For example this page you are reading now was created after we discovered that many peoplewere searching for "B-to-B marketing tools" online, but few other sites offer such information. Searchengine optimization is very complicated to "win," and constantly changing, so it definitely requiresprofessional assistance. But given the fact that the MAJORITY of potential B-to-B buyers start theirsearch online, it is one of the best investments you can make.Email newsletters are a great way to convert traffic to your website into a growing group of potentialcustomers. Email newsletters require someone who is a skilled writer and who has the time and interestto produce it. Even a monthly email newsletter can be a great way to keep people informed about whatyoure doing, offer helpful information, build your reputation as an expert, and keep "top of mind"awareness for your company and its services.If you dont have someone on staff to do this, we can do it all for you. The great thing is it costs only apenny an email or less if you use the right software. No other medium of communication is asinexpensive as email newsletters, and return on investment is outstanding.Trade shows are proven winners for B-to-B marketing, especially if you have a product to sell. Youll
have to pay for booth space and the construction of an attractive booth, and youll need some kind ofhand-out materials for visitors. In many industries, trade shows are highly effective for concentratingpotential buyers from across the country in one place, and many of them can visit your booth andinteract with your staff. In general you will increase attendance if you send out some kind of direct mailor email in advance to those who have registered to attend, ideally with a special offer or lure to rewardthem for visiting your booth.To learn more about your B-to-B marketing options, use our online contact form or call our presidentBuck Lawrimore at 704-332-4344. We look forward to helping you increase your sales and profits.