In a nutshell successful Business to Business - B2B Marketing is all about ‘Target Marketing. Learning as much about your potential customer before you act. In some ways it can be said to be easier than B2C (Business to Customer) for the very reason that information is more readily available on specific businesses as opposed to the general public individual so you can then target them accordingly.
What I have done in the past when my potential customers are also business people, is to have a large(A3) blank sheet in front of me onto which I write, smack bang in the centre, a list of all the services and/or products I can provide. I then brain storm from each item on the list another list this time of my potential business audience and connect them by a line. What rapidly develops is an ‘octopus’ looking layout but one that clarifies my thoughts and begins to identify possibilities.
On a computer spreadsheet (Excel) or lined A4 pad I make a heading on each page related to the specific business type at the end of each octopus arm. I then enter this heading into a search engine on my computer. Note that depending on the nature of your business you may want to add a location, e.g. specific town or county within which you aim to operate or are operating. If your business is national or even international then you will still find it beneficial to begin by prioritising and breaking down the area (s) into ‘bite-size’ chunks.
A word of advice. Do not try to take on the world from the offset. It’s a big world out there and you will get the best results by attacking the afore-mentioned ‘bite size chunks’. As a military historian would tell you a war is a series of battles to be won and you could view your B2B Marketing activity as a steady stream of ‘battles’. You may not win all of them but win enough and you will win the war.
Back to your list. Under each heading write down the names of businesses that your search engine results have thrown up. Note their website addresses. Add to this research by reading the local or national newspapers, magazines, telephone directories (look for the ads) and any applicable trade magazines; listen to radio advertising, look out for television advertising; note who posts flyers through your doors or who contacts you or has contacted you in the past.
Now do your research on each of the companies on your headings list. Make certain they ARE the right audience you wish to bring your business to the attention of. You now have your target market.
Another good tip is networking. Think about joining your local Chamber of Commerce or BNI (Business Network International). Join LinkedIn. It’s amazing how many deals are struck by meeting someone via these organisations, or making the acquaintance of someone ‘who knows someone’. You can’t beat a good, solid recommendation. Be aware though that joining networking groups such as BNI has financial implications that you need to take into account of in your budgets - membership, attendance fees and meals, not forgetting the hidden ‘time taken attending meetings’ cost. There is also usual a stipulation that only one company or person within a specific category can join.
The next stage in your B2B marketing activity is to plan your campaign, which is covered in the following articles:
The First Steps In Your Market Planning Strategy
Definitions Of Marketing
Preparing Your Small Business Marketing Plan
Small Business Marketing Plans Stage 2
Small Business Marketing Strategy
Direct Business Marketing Plan
Sample Marketing Plan – SWOT Analysis
Marketing Plan Example For Price And Brand Positioning
Outlining For Budgets
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