Most marketing advice for amateur small business advertisers is meant to help organizations appeal to individual consumers. While these methods are often applicable in most settings, it is important to remember that engaging with other businesses requires a slightly more nuanced approach. Essentially, arguments and tactics that work on people won’t always work on companies.
For the most part, this has to do with the fact that no company is ever really represented by a single person. Even if there’s a major buyer or division head with whom a small business must consistently interact, positions and titles can vary from organization to organization and year to year. Consequently, the tone and image set forth in marketing materials need to be carefully selected to present the right message to these varied conglomerations of people.
First and foremost, business-to-business marketing needs to be financial in tone. While individual consumers might be swayed by appeals to fashion or emotion, companies aren’t likely to be affected by them. Instead, their rotating cast of managers and researchers are going to have a single task – procure the product or service so that it does what it claims and is within a particular budget.
Besides being financial, these tactics need to be specific. It is not enough to claim that a particular office tool will provide generic great savings. It should be demonstrably and quantitatively superior to a specific product or based on a certain industry benchmark. The less research a person needs to do to verify a marketer’s claim, the more likely she’ll be it to pass her recommendation further up the chain of command.
Small businesses that cater to individual customers can derive goodwill from the personable nature of a local organization. This allows them to forgive small mistakes and oversights. Unfortunately, other companies can’t afford to tolerate such missteps, so communicating (and proving through service) an air of reliability is essential to winning clients and customers to one’s side.
As previously stated, the people to whom B2B messages are marketed have a very simple task to complete. If a company can help them provide products or services anywhere under budget, they’ll be likely to accumulate a good reputation and will be a source of business in the future. Efficiency is the name of the game in just about every industry, so ensure that marketing materials emphasize this trait.