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Business-to-Business Marketing: The Marker’s Ultimate Guide to The B2B Galaxy [2024]

By Leah Clark Last updated: 20 minute read Marketing Guides

Industrial marketing is growing with the evolution of technology and the growing demands of consumers in this space. Marketers need more innovative methods backed by technology to attract high-valued customers and convert them

A study by Outfunnel confirmed that around 50% of B2B sales reps believe digital marketing channels haven’t replaced their in-person processes well enough. This same study also revealed significant misalignment between sales and marketing teams, with most rating their coordination as poor or fair.

Fortunately, content marketing takes some of the heat off B2B brands, as 72% of marketers rate their B2B content strategy as successful.

The industrial marketing space has its ups and its downs. You must find an approach that works for your business and aligns with your overall goal.

But how do you find the right industrial marketing strategy for your brand and buyers? And how do you ensure this marketing plan will work?

We have the ultimate B2B marketer’s guide on the best industrial marketing strategies to target new buyers and optimize your customer base, and the top industrial marketing examples to inspire your campaign!

Ready to become a B2B marketing guru and maximize your bottom line?

Here we go!

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    Business-to-Business Marketing vs. B2C Marketing

    There are many distinct differences between business-to-business marketing vs. B2C marketing. A few of these differences include the target market, the sales and marketing funnels, the purchasing intent, and the website’s purpose.

    Let’s explore business-to-business marketing vs. B2C marketing and how customers and marketing tactics change between the two models:

    Target Audience

    The target customers are the most obvious difference between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) brands.

    B2B brands provide solutions for other businesses, while B2C brands provide solutions for people / individual consumers.

    B2B brands sell products or services like consulting, software, technology, and manufacturing for clothing and tangible goods. These transactions between two businesses make the service/product provider the “supplier” and the service/product receiver the “client”.

    B2C brands sell products like clothing, household goods, cosmetics, and pretty much every item people buy on a small scale, for personal/non-business use.

    More factors make the B2C and business-to-business marketing target audiences different like:

    • Social channels.B2C brands use social media networks like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook to reach their audiences. But B2B businesses focus on more professional networking platforms like LinkedIn and email.
    • Purchasing intent.B2C buyers purchase products to add value to their lives. They also buy products based on desire, emotion, and immediate need. B2B clients make purchases to scale their businesses. Buyers may search for solutions that optimize employee performance, sales, and marketing processes or help them reach specific business goals.
    • Purchasing behavior.Consumers in the B2C space can make impulsive purchasing choices. You sell to them through emotion. B2C consumer purchasing behaviors may change with social trends. B2B clients make strategic purchasing choices and take a lot more time to buy than B2C buyers. Logic and reasoning drive B2B purchasing decisions.
    B2B vs B2C Infographic
    Image Source

    Sales and Marketing Funnels

    Business-to-business marketing and sales funnels are longer and more complex than B2C brands.

    B2B clients need more resources and time to make strategic purchasing decisions. There could be over ten phases in a B2B brands marketing and sales funnel, each with a collection of conversion-driven resources and content.

    B2C sales and marketing funnels are simpler and shorter. But this also invites the risk of consumers being more likely to back out of a deal. Almost 70% of carts are abandoned in B2C marketing. Businesses and marketers put pressure on converting B2C leads as quickly as possible to solve this problem.

    When B2B buyers checkout online, the process includes many more steps and options than B2C checkouts. The products B2B clients purchase hold weight in their businesses, so they must go through several phases to personalize and understand them.

    However, B2C customers need strategic, tailored content to drive them to conversion. B2C businesses streamline the checkout process to maximize sales, meaning there are much fewer options buyers have to pick.

    B2C vs B2B marketing funnels
    Source: SkyWord

    Website Purpose

    B2B and B2C websites look and function differently. Remember, B2C brands drive customers to make impulsive purchasing choices with smooth, short sales funnels. But B2B brands must inform buyers and provide qualitative and quantitive evidence to sell their solutions.

    B2C websites may have a much more playful approach and must keep web visitors on the page for longer.

    These websites emotionally appeal to customers, fuel their desire to purchase, and get this process done as quickly as possible. B2C websites may also have a couple of upselling tactics to optimize how much they make from each buyer.

    For B2C websites, you’ll notice more product pages, a simple contact us page, a shipping and delivery information page, and a homepage geared toward conversion.

    B2B websites often look like an account dashboard to give prospects a feel of using their solution. Most B2B businesses have websites with dedicated pages for their product’s features, pricing information, case studies, and services.

    You’ll find resources on these websites to prove brand authority and offer prospects valuable and actionable insights.

    Purchasing Goals

    B2B clients must make strategic purchasing decisions because they buy solutions for long-term goals.

    Consequently, B2B brands ensure they market to a specific audience or offer a solution that scales with companies. For example, Salesforce CRM may be best for established businesses, while HubSpot CRM can scale with companies from the startup phase.

    B2B buyers don’t want to switch and change between providers. They need reliable suppliers they can trust. For example, a clothing brand owner won’t change clothing manufacturers every other week. These buyers need solutions to solve long-term goals.

    As B2C consumers are more “in-the-moment” buyers, they have short-term purchasing goals.

    The products that these consumers purchase are to satisfy immediate wants or needs. For example, you buy a loaf of bread from a grocery store to solve your desire to make a sandwich right now.

    B2C brands use urgency and scarcity to fuel their buyers’ short-term purchasing goals. These businesses will adapt their offerings to social trends and don’t provide long-term solutions. Sure, there are many products you can purchase for longevity but again, these products solve the immediate need.

    Source: HubSpot Marketing

    Summary: B2B Marketing vs. B2C Marketing

    • Target Audience
    • Sales and Marketing Funnels
    • Website Purpose
    • Purchasing Goals

    B2B Marketing Trends

    B2B Digital Sales Trends

    Industrial marketing remains a million-dollar market, but companies must stay ahead of rising consumer demands and technology.

    70% of B2B salespeople handle deals remotely. And the top challenges they face include technology problems, low-quality or no visuals for client presentations, or sales reps don’t respond well enough to client questions and concerns.

    Misalignment of marketing and sales departments in B2B brands has also become a costly mistake. HubSpot confirmed that B2B businesses lose around $1 trillion every year because they don’t align marketing and sales costs. Another study supported this, stating that the average sales team ignores 80% of marketing leads.

    B2B Buyer Trends

    Personalization is another growing demand for B2B businesses. Almost 80% of consumers would engage with brands that have personalized offers based on their previous interactions.

    Around 81% of buyers confirmed they want B2B brands to spend more time getting to know them and understand when to approach them and when not to.

    B2B buyers spend 70% of their time online on mobile devices, making mobile marketing vital for B2B brands to leverage. About 50% of these buyers make B2B purchases from mobile devices, so mobile-friendly websites and marketing are a must!

    To keep up with changing consumer trends and industry technology, AI has become a go-to for B2B businesses. 63% of B2B marketers use AI tools to identify trends, and 71% use AI for improved personalization. Because of the accurate, insightful data AI provides, B2B brands rely on these tools for impactful marketing campaigns.

    B2B Influencer Marketing Trends

    Almost 90% of marketers say influencer marketing for B2B brands is moderately or very successful.

    Over 70% say influencer marketing improves brand awareness and your online reputation. And under 60% of marketers say this marketing strategy helps brands generate new leads.

    Influencer marketing has improved business revenue too. PR Newswire mentions that one-third of B2B marketers and businesses report that influencer marketing increases sales. But for B2B businesses to stand any chance of making money with influencer campaigns, they must have at least ten micro-influencers per campaign.

    If this isn’t possible, brands must work with influencers with who they have a combined following of more than 20,000 followers.

    B2B LinkedIn Marketing Trends

    As a professional networking platform, LinkedIn is one of the best social channels for B2B brands. Almost 50% of LinkedIn users in the US use LinkedIn at least once a month, and there are 89 million active monthly users!

    If you leverage LinkedIn ads, you can reach 14.6% of the world’s population. Gaining ad exposure from LinkedIn, businesses saw a 33% increase in purchase intent and twice as many conversions.

    To boost your LinkedIn page growth, you must have at least 150 followers, and video marketing is a profitable tactic too. About 70% of marketers say they intend to use video marketing for their LinkedIn marketing strategies for improved performance.

    B2B Content Marketing Trends

    An impactful content strategy remains vital for B2B buyers. 60% of customers in this space consider asking about or buying a product after reading any form of content on it.

    The most successful B2B companies use all five content formats and spend 40% of their marketing budgets on content marketing.

    Blogging is an effective strategy for B2B content marketing. Buyers consume 4.5 pieces of content before making a confident purchase.

    Ensure you invest a lot of time and resources into your blog, as 59% of B2B marketers say it’s your most valuable weapon. Personalizing your content marketing campaign is also essential. Buyers are annoyed by businesses blasting generic information that doesn’t relate to the receiver.

    Summary: B2B Marketing Trends

    Most B2B sales are digital, and B2B buyers make most of their purchases through mobile devices. Misalignment of marketing and sales teams in B2B brands and lack of personalization remain some of the industry’s biggest challenges. It’s also become imperative for B2B businesses to adopt AI tools to match the rising consumer demands in service and technology.

    5 Innovative B2B Marketing Strategies

    1.Leverage Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

    Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategic approach B2B businesses use to target high-level accounts and turn them into customers.

    High-level accounts are enterprises that have a wider spending budgets than your typical business. You’ll combine efforts from your sales and marketing teams for a successful ABM strategy.

    This strategy involves finding the most profitable accounts for your revenue and targeting them with personalized marketing and sales tactics.

    Your marketing team will find the decision-makers of these accounts and the platforms they’re most active on. They will send personalized pitches to these decision-makers to secure a consultation and convert the account.

    Your sales team will step in to consult with and convert the account. This team will have to provide the key benefits of working with your brand and why your solution matters to each specific decision-maker. ABM relies on in-depth research about brands, their revenue, and the market challenges they face to increase profits.

    The benefits of this B2B marketing strategy are:

    • Optimized customer acquisition process as you eliminate no and low-value leads and target high-value accounts.

    • Almost 90% of marketers say ABM performs better than other industrial marketing activities.

    • Marketing resources are spent on accounts that have the highest revenue potential.

    • 80% of marketers report ABM increases customer lifetime value, while 86% say it improves customer win rate.

    • ABM provides a direct path to high ROI with a detailed strategy of the accounts you must target, the attributes of each account, and how to convert them.

    ABM
    Source: ChatterBuzz

    2.Focus on Marketing to Millennials

    Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) are the best consumers to target for B2B businesses. A study by TrustRadius confirms that the largest B2B buyer group in tech is Millennials. Based on this research, Millennials make up 59% of B2B tech purchases.

    But that’s not the only study proving that Millennials are B2B brands’ #1 target customer. Merit reports that 73% of B2B purchasing decisions (among all niche markets) are made by Millennials.

    Statistics project Millennials to be the largest age group in the workforce. These consumers will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025. The sooner you start understanding these buyers, the more chance of long-term marketing success you have.

    There’s a lot to consider about marketing to Millennials and what marketing strategies they prefer. What interests Baby Boomers is most likely not the same for Millennials, and this is relevant for marketing to all different generations of buyers.

    As time progressed, buyers’ values and perspectives evolved. So you must spend time understanding Millennials well and what they want to see.

    These are the best tips for B2B marketing tailored to Millennials:

    • Create a customer-centric, seamless omnichannel marketing strategy because Millennials prefer this.
    • Ramp up your personalization efforts.
    • Consistently gather and act on customer feedback.
    • Make valuable, educational content easy and free to access.
    • Offer flexibility in your services and make your business easy to work with.
    • Build a sound sales tech stack because Millennials are highly tech-savvy and engage with brands that sell or use technology. 

    3.Use AI Marketing Tools

    Many B2B business owners get confused between automation and AI Automation helps businesses automate tedious tasks to optimize work processes.

    But AI is much more advanced and uses machine learning algorithms to understand your audience’s behavior and suggest the most personalized optimizations and tactics.

    Let me give you a simple example of automation vs. AI for industrial marketing.

    Automation is when you use an email marketing tool to create triggered emails based on specific user actions. So, when web visitors subscribe to your email list, they receive an automated welcome email.

    AI is when you use AI tools to generate relevant headlines for content like PPC ads, blog articles, and website content. AI marketing tools can also provide functions for mining, cleaning, and visualizing data to create real-time suggestions based on customer behavior and interactions.

    AI marketing for B2B
    Source: Digital Marketing Community

    Combining automation and AI makes industrial marketing easier and more accurate based on your target audience. Many top-tier tools for industrial marketing, like MailChimp and Salesforce, include automated features.

    You can find dedicated industrial marketing tools for content marketing, lead generation, email marketing, and lead nurturing. There are many more types of AI indu marketing tools, but these are the top ones.

    Some of the best AI-powered B2B marketing tools include:

    4.Rely on Web and LinkedIn Demographics for Precise Targeting

    Leveraging your current web and LinkedIn analytics is crucial to understand your audience and create highly-targeted industrial marketing strategies.

    Use Google for general search queries about your target audience. Also, leverage your web and LinkedIn demographics analytics to get information like:

    • How many professionals in your target niche market are active on LinkedIn and find brands through an organic search?

    • What does SEO research on key terms relating to your business say about market trends?

    • What % of your web traffic comes from LinkedIn and vice versa?

    • Are your LinkedIn and website marketing strategies directed at your ideal audience?

    • Which marketing channels and strategies do your target audience prefer?

    • What are the main challenges in converting users from LinkedIn to your website? You can use the best heat mapping tools to get some of this information.

    While most web hosting platforms offer plugins or built-in features for web analytics, LinkedIn has a dedicated tool to find web user demographics.

    Using the LinkedIn Website Demographics tool, you can find information about your audience like:

    • Which departments and roles are clicking on your LinkedIn ads and arriving on your website?

    • The web traffic characteristics from LinkedIn, such as company size, job title, job function, industry, and geographics.

    • Which web visitors are more likely to convert through segmenting customers based on website conversion behaviors?

    LinkedIn and web analytics are imperative to ensure your industrial marketing strategy is targeted and consistent. This data will help you stay ahead of customer behavior and respond to trends before the market becomes saturated.

    5.Build and Optimize Self-Service Options

    Self-service options are the best method to keep B2B buyers flowing through your sales pipeline. 

    Millennials (the largest B2B buyer group) prefer live chat as a customer support channel, and 52% would love text as an option40% of buyers only try the call center after going through self-service functions. 

    You get the point. 

    B2B customers would choose self-service options, with only a few more preferring text as an option. 

    But just how comfortable are B2B buyers with a self-service model?

    2020 report from McKinsey confirmed almost 99% of B2B buyers would complete an entire purchase using a digital self-service function. Almost all of them reported being very comfortable making purchases of $50,000 and up through a self-service model.

    Self service for B2B marketing
    Source: ObjectEdge

    Examples of B2B marketing self-service options are:

    • Chatbots
    • On-demand training
    • Knowledge base 
    • Digital sales rep interactions
    • Contact centers
    • Online communities 
    • Mobile apps

    Summary: 5 Innovative B2B Marketing Strategies

    1. Account-based Marketing (ABM)
    2. Market to Millenials
    3. Use AI Tools
    4. Use Web and LinkedIn User Demographics
    5. Create Self-service Options

    3 Great B2B Marketing Examples

    1.iRidium’s ABM Marketing Strategy

    iRidium is a platform for smart homes and building automation. They’ve worked on various high-level tech projects for hospitals, apartment buildings, office buildings, and hotels.

    However, iRidium wanted higher-value buyers, and they used an ABM marketing strategy with a $3000 budget to achieve this.

    With a small budget and no presence outside their local market, iRidium relied on targeting a detailed and accurate ideal customer profile (ICP) to land higher deals, and working with a B2B marketing agency specializing in ABM, that hosted a virtual summit to attract and engage targeted accounts. 

    The summit ran for five days, and IBM segmented its audience into five groups for accurate targeting. 

    1. Thought leaders
    2. Top buyers
    3. Target account buying community members
    4. Partners
    5. Media and industry publications

    They brought in speakers from MTS Intercom and Microsoft. Although they didn’t have loads of cash, they allowed speakers to explore whatever they preferred, provided it related to the day’s topic. iRidium spent time interviewing speakers beforehand and used their podcast and social media presence to create buildup.

    After the summit, iRidium stayed in contact with its best prospects through scheduled webinars. 

    B2B_iRidi
    Source: iRidium

    The Results

    • 5 new clients instantly converted with customer lifetime values exceeding $100,000 each.
    • Almost 40% of event attendees were new, high-value accounts.
    • 2,320 new businesses signed up. 
    • 34 sales qualified opportunities. 

    The Key Takeaways

    • You don’t need a super high budget but a strategic, well-researched game plan.
    • Pairing with a B2B marketing agency makes ABM easier.
    • Understanding in-depth customer data makes targeting more accurate, which leads to conversion.
    • Follow-up with prospects using valuable, informative, and engaging content. 
    • Segment your audience for precise targeting.
    • Secure industry professionals, thought leaders, experts, etc., for social proof and credibility. 

    2.Carpathia’s Referral Marketing Strategy

    Carpathia is a cloud hosting platform for large-scale B2B enterprises. Although most business owners and marketers only consider referral marketing for B2C brands, B2B buyers enjoy referral marketing campaigns too.

    Regardless of what you sell, buyers want to share solutions they love with those around them. I’ll give you a real-life example of this. 

    I’ve been a loyal user of FreshBooks for a couple of years. Any time a friend or fellow professional complains about creating invoices and managing client payments without hassle, I’m quick to suggest FreshBooks. 

    It’s not intentional or calculated. I recommend FreshBooks because I believe in it. Imagine I received a reward every time someone created an account with my referral link. Yep, I’d be doing A LOT more suggesting.

    Working with Referral Candy, Carpathia created a straightforward and rewarding referral marketing program. Within three steps brands could become referral program partners and access Carpathia’s intuitive portal. This portal offered program partners resources like white papers and case studies.

    B2B marketing example
    Source: Referral Candy

    After describing their referral program in a few but impactful words, Carpathia added user reviews as social proof. 

    Social proof example
    Source: Referral Candy

    The Results

    Carpathia secured many valuable clients thanks to its referral marketing campaign. Their rapid success caught the attention of QTS Realty Trust, which merged with Carpathia in a deal worth $326 million.

    The Key Takeaways

    • Make your referral marketing program accessible and easy to join.
    • Provide valuable resources for prospects based on what they would like to know. 
    • Adding social proof proves your referral marketing program’s credibility and worth.
    • Ensure you make the text explaining your program digestible and actionable.

    3.Dropbox Leverages Thought Leadership

    Thought leadership can be a B2B marketing strategy on its own, and Dropbox proves this. Using tactics to become a thought leader in your industry gives you authority and credibility within your market. Businesses are more likely to partner with you, and customers are more likely to purchase from you.

    Dropbox, a widely used file hosting service, saw the potential of thought leadership. This brand wanted to target a new market – marketers. But Dropbox needed more authority among this target audience to achieve its desired results.

    Dropbox chose to develop an interactive and personalized assessment tool, Marketing Dynamix. Marketers would take the assessment, and the tool would reveal what kind of marketers they are. The results were personalized, detailed, and easily shareable, garnering the attention of other marketers and agencies.

    DropBox example
    Source: Dropbox

    But Dropbox didn’t stop at this ultra-impressive tool. They created a series of valuable resources like blog posts, a 20-page eBook, and infographics to prove their authority.

    With a combination of thought leadership and a customer-centric content strategy, Dropbox proved what innovative B2B marketing looks like. 

    The Results

    This B2B marketing campaign achieved an ROI ratio of 25:1. Dropbox also accomplished 220% of its lead generation target. 

    The Key Takeaways

    • Be specific about the market your B2B marketing campaign is targeting.
    • Create valuable, customer-centric content aligned with your campaign goals.
    • Industry authority is imperative to drive traction.
    • Offer interactive activities providing personalized content, strategies, information, etc.
    • Make the features of your B2B marketing campaign easy to use and understand.

    Summary: 3 Great B2B Marketing Examples

    1. iRidium
    2. Carpathia
    3. Dropbox

    Conclusion 

    Industrial marketing is a highly competitive market worth millions of US dollars. This marketing environment differs from B2C marketing, in terms of the target audience, purchasing intent, website designs, and sales and marketing funnels.

    Most B2B purchases occur online on mobile devices, and AI is becoming imperative for B2B businesses to adopt. These businesses must also refine their personalization tactics!

    The top Industrial marketing strategies include account-based marketing (ABM), AI marketing tools, self-service functions, marketing to Millennials, and web and LinkedIn demographics. B2B brands like Dropbox, iRidium, and Carpathia are fantastic industrial marketing examples to learn from.

    With the key takeaways from these B2B brands and the top marketing strategies for 2022, you can achieve your industrial marketing goals without a hitch!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the difference between B2C vs. B2B marketing?

    The difference between B2C vs. B2B marketing is that the former targets average consumers, and the latter targets other businesses. B2C brands provide services/goods to satisfy the immediate need of everyday consumers. However, B2B brands create solutions to optimize business workflows, operations, marketing, etc. This article covers the top factors between B2B vs. B2C marketing, the best B2B marketing strategies, and the top three B2B marketing examples in 2024.

    What are the best B2B marketing strategies?

    The top B2B marketing strategies in 2024 include account-based marketing (ABM), AI tools, leveraging web and LinkedIn demographics, creating self-service options, and marketing to Millennials. Read this article to find out how to use these strategies for your B2B brand and why they matter and learn from the top 3 B2B marketing strategies and what these brands did to achieve success.

    What are the best B2B marketing examples?

    The top examples of B2B marketing done right include Dropbox, iRidium, and Carpathia. These brands used a range of innovative B2B marketing strategies to optimize their revenue, increase industry authority and target a new audience. Read this full article for more on what these brands did to achieve B2B marketing success and what you can learn from them. Plus, we have the best B2B marketing strategies in 2024 and the top trends of businesses in the B2B marketing environment.

    References

    Act-On: The B2B Perspective on Multi-channel Marketing

    Marketing Charts: What Do B2B Buyers Want from Inside Sales?

    HubSpot: Sales-Marketing Alignment Increases Revenue by 208% [Infographic]

    Marketo: Aligning Sales and Marketing: Everything You Need to Know

    Loyalty360: Customers Frustrated with Brands that Fail to Personalize

    Business2Community: 10 Surprising Stats About Personalization

    ThriveMyWay: 120+ Powerful B2B Marketing Stats and Trends 2024

    AI Multiple: 141 Myth-Busting Statistics on Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    Search Engine Journal: 86% Of B2B Brands Find Success With Influencer Marketing

    PR Newswire: New Report Reveals 86% of B2B Marketers are Successfully Working with Influencers

    LinkedIn: Reach an audience of 850M+ business professionals

    LinkedIn: LinkedIn Pages Best Practices

    RollWorks: The ABM metrics that will make your ABM trial successful

    Merit: Millennials Make 73% of Purchasing Decisions 

    TeamStage: Millennials in the Workplace Statistics: Generational Disparities

    LinkedIn: Website Demographics

    McKinsey & Company: Survey: US B2B Decision-maker Response to COVID-19 Crisis