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B2B Marketing Guide: Strategy, Goals, Tactics

12 min read

So, you’re wondering, “What is B2B marketing?” Well, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s take B2B out of the equation for a brief moment and focus on the marketing aspect of things. After all, that’s why you’re here!

Marketing is essential for a business. We all know that. With this in mind, marketing campaigns should be concise, to the point, and most of all creative! Creating and putting out enticing, captivating content is key to generating business in any industry.

All of that being said, let’s add B2B, or business to business marketing, back into the equation. As a B2B company, your goal is to captivate potential clients to do business. That part isn’t rocket science. Where it gets tricky is understanding how, when, and why a client should pursue your company.

This takes some brainstorming. So, be ready to devote some time, effort, and money to your marketing campaigns. Successful marketing is never a guarantee. Think of it as a young boy wanting to be a professional baseball player. He has the potential but lacks the understanding of how to effectuate that potential. The same is true for any B2B business.

The reason that most B2B companies lack the understanding of how to effectuate their marketing potential is simply because they attack way too much at once. It’s like guzzling a gallon of water and feeling sick after rather than feeling hydrated.

What companies need to understand is that there is an intricate process to marketing. Certain steps must be taken in the right sequence in order to garner success.

Join us as we discuss the differences between B2B and B2C marketing, how to create a B2B marketing strategy, and some effective tactics.

Let’s begin.

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B2B Marketing vs. B2C Marketing

You may be asking yourself about B2B meaning versus B2C meaning. If you’re a new business, the two can often be confusing.

  • B2B stands for business to business. This means that a company solely works with other businesses as their clients.
  • B2C represents the business to consumers. This means that a company solely sells to the public consumer base.

A B2B example would be companies like IBM or Mailchimp, whereas a B2C example would be companies like Target or Petsmart. Okay, now that the distinction has been made, let’s define the difference between marketing strategies for these two types of businesses.

While B2B and B2C marketing may sound like opposites, they still have a lot in common. A variety of businesses sell to other businesses and consumers. For example, a local brewery may sell beer to walk-in customers and also provide shipments to bars, restaurants, etc. Such businesses often find themselves doing both types of marketing.

However, the term “B2B marketing” shouldn’t mislead you. Businesses are still composed of people. This means that no matter if your business is B2B or B2C, you’ll still be involved with marketing and selling to people.

The main difference between B2B marketing and B2C marketing is that B2C marketing involves one decision-maker. This is the consumer. The consumer ultimately makes the decision regarding whether or not they want to buy. In B2B marketing, more decision-makers are involved including the team, head of the department, CEO, etc. This means that more education, time, and discussions are needed before any purchases are made.

Understanding that more is needed in the decision-making process in B2B marketing than B2C marketing is crucial for B2B companies.

How to Create a B2B Marketing Strategy

More often than not, if you search on Google, Yahoo, or Bing for B2B marketing strategies, you’ll find lists of ideas you can use. However, these are typically not strategies. They are tactics.

Utilizing a B2B marketing strategy is great, as long as it works. But in most cases, businesses will throw a bunch of tactics to the wall hoping that they will stick. Don’t let this be you. In order to be successful in B2B marketing, you will first need a strategy. The difference is that a strategy serves as your plan for guiding marketing tactics, whereas tactics are specific actions that help execute your strategy.

Here is how to create a great marketing strategy.

Determine your target audience

In order to define your target audience, there are a few things that you should ask yourself.

  • First, ask if your product aligns with what your chosen audience wants.
  • Second, ask yourself if it brings you the most value if you increase your market share based on that audience.
  • Third, ask if you have the marketing resources to increase your share. Finally, ask yourself if that audience holds influence over other audiences.

Your ideal target market is where you can make the most money given the resources at your disposal. You should also remember that, in B2B marketing, the customers who are using your product or service may not be the ones buying it from you. As a result of this knowledge, you’ll need to do your research to figure out how the buying process works in your target market’s industry.

Position your product or service

Positioning your product or service is the act of defining why your product or service is the best that your target audience can buy.

With good positioning, customers will be able to easily understand what your product or service is and how it can help meet their needs. This is crucial because your target audience will always be evaluating you.

A good position also differentiates you from your competitors. If you position yourself well, it could even influence how consumers perceive your competitors.

In order to position your product properly, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

  • You should first understand who your customers are, form a positioning team, and list your competitive alternatives.
  • Next, you’ll want to figure out what makes your product/service unique, and market it based on those characteristics/distinctions.
  • Finally, you’ll want to capture your positioning in a document that you can share across all teams.

In addition, if you are targeting multiple audiences, you’ll want to create a different position for each of them. This means understanding your audiences, their unique needs, and how your product meets them in ways that other products don’t.

Set your goals

In order to fly straight, you’ll need to know where you’re headed. The same is true for B2B marketing strategies. You’ll need a set of objectives/goals for each of your target segments. This is best done when implementing the S.M.A.R.T. goal formula. The following is how S.M.A.R.T. goals are made.

  • Specific — Clearly state your desired outcome including who, what, when, where, how, why, etc.
  • Measurable — You must be able to track progress with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • Achievable — Never set a goal that you can’t reach. Your goal should be achievable and realistic.
  • Relevant — Each objective should align with your overall marketing and business strategy.
  • Timely — You’ll want to set up a time frame for reaching your goal. You should be bold, but also recognize that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Choose the Tactics You Want to Use

At this point, you should begin to consider what kinds of marketing tactics you want to use. This doesn’t mean choosing tactics at random. Your tactics should be effective at attracting your target audience and enticing them to buy into your product/service. You’ll ultimately be choosing your tactics based on the strategy you’ve already created. You should consider your customers/clients based on their size, and how much you have to gain from them.

For instance, back in the early stages of the Cenozoic, Neanderthals hunted mammoths with spears, whereas they hunted fish with nets. For a mammoth-sized customer or client, you’ll need a spear. This means you’ll need your most effective marketing weapon to take them down, which usually means devoting a lot of human interaction and involvement. For fish, you’ll need a net to pull in a large number of customers at once. This is usually done through advertisements, blogs, etc.

Keep in mind that the tactics you choose to implement should match how your target audiences consume information. For instance, if no one in your target market listens to the radio, then don’t waste your time and money on radio advertisements. Your tactics should move you closer to your goal. Some standard business-to-business marketing tactics include SEO-driven content marketing, email marketing, account-based marketing, digital advertising, events and trade shows, public relations, social media, etc.

The tactics that you chose to incorporate into your strategy should ultimately help you meet your objectives and your goals.

How Will You Market Your Business to Business Service?

Now that you have all of the kindle for the fire, you’ll need to set the match and get your business rising to new heights. Start with your newfound understanding of how to approach B2B marketing, and go from there. Your newfound knowledge will serve you well as you create a B2B marketing strategy that works and implement tactics that help you to achieve your goal.

So, it’s time to ask yourself how you will market your business to business service and get planning.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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