Characteristics of B2B Marketing
In B2B marketing, purchase processes are formalized following internal guidelines; there are no spontaneous purchases. Customer relationships are longer and more interactive, and there are fewer market participants (oligopolies). There is a high geographical concentration (i.e. Zürich for financial services, Basel for pharma and chemicals, movie industry in Hollywood, etc.), and there is a higher degree of segmentation. Often, value is co-created, and there is a close interaction between the seller and the customer.
Things that are typically offered in B2B marketing are physical goods, services, rights, stakes, or liabilities that are complex, technically sophisticated and need explanation. Very often,
these goods are customized and bundles of products + services are often offered.
Customers are highly diverse (users, consumers, retailers, influencers), but there are usually fewer customers than in traditional marketing. Customers can also include companies,
governmental institutions or NGOs. Customers are non-anonymous and non-transparent for outsiders. There are often multi-personal decision making processes (buying centers). Customers are usually highly proficient and professional (purchase managers).
Buying Center Members
- Decision Maker
- Information Gatekeeper
Demand is usually derived from customer’s performance and not generic. It cannot be easily influenced and has a low elasticity.
Are highly diverse and individualized, often value-based and involving TCO (total costs of ownership). There is a high bargaining intensity and price often does not play the most important role (reliability, availability, trust and relationship quality, services, etc. are also important for purchase decisions). In B2B marketing, leasing is more and more common (i.e. for software).
Communication is direct and individual, often happens through personal selling. There is a heterogenous need for information.
Chains are shorter, and sales happen mostly directly. Sales people have a central gate-keeping role and there is a strong independence between sales and marketing departments.
Describes the transition to services in B2B marketing, where tangible goods are more often sold as add-ons.
Most companies nowadays want to be able to provide solutions; solutions are individualized bundled offerings for complex customer needs, whose components offer an integrative added value. A solution is a set of the four relational processes: requirements definition, customization & integration, deployment, and post-deployment supports.