B2B Advertising Requires Different Approach

The business market is different. While some consumers are also small business owners, it can be challenging to ferret out those segments. In addition, small businesses do not represent a homogeneous group that has the same needs, interests, avocations and “hot buttons.”

This distinction can represent challenges to companies not familiar with – or aware of – the distinctions between B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) advertising.

The primary difference between B2C and B2B is strategic orientation. The primary difference, of course, is that instead of addressing, typically, one decision-maker in a B2C environment, the B2B advertiser involves multiple decision-makers. Understanding the decision-making process that takes place within your target B2B environment is obviously critical. Not understanding means that you may be spending time and resources attempting to influence the wrong decision-maker – or, in many cases, someone who really isn’t a decision-maker at all.

The big benefit of B2B advertising, of course, is the ability to clearly and directly segment the masses into key target segments. Are you targeting start-ups? Companies based on size? Companies in a certain geography? Industry? Some combination of all of the above?

As with B2C marketing, opportunities for online communication are emerging – although not as quickly. Still, it makes sense to begin exploring the online environment for your target market. Are they already engaged? To what degree? In what venues?

The primary value of online targeting, of course, is the ability to develop relationships – critical in the B2B environment since many transactions can take weeks, months – sometimes even years! – to develop.

Unlike consumer advertising where you’re trying to develop awareness and perception, when dealing in the B2B there can be tens if not hundreds of points of communication that need to happen over a period of time to really convince business people to make a major switch in their current service providers. Communication needs to be varied and constant.

Selling to the business market requires a long sales cycle and careful coordination of all of the individual elements so that they come together to create a unified, compelling and ever-present message that becomes impossible to ignore.

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