When we use the term marketing, we immediately think of advertising, recall value, branding, and of course those pesky telephone calls! However, there is one branch of marketing which purely deals with bulk orders, and is the lifeline of many small businesses.
Business to business marketing is the function that is critical for many businesses to survive and thrive in today’s extremely competitive world. This type of marketing is done when the company’s product is sold in bulk (usually) to other businesses or companies, which may use it as a part of their own product.
For example, a company selling packaging material will sell it to an FMCG manufacturer in large quantities. It is different from business to customer marketing, as the channels of information dissemination are quite different.
Ideas for Business to Business Marketing
Exhibitions and Expos
This avenue is used by nearly all the companies to market their products. It proves to be successful for some and not so for others. So what really needs to be done to exploit this avenue for its maximum benefit?
A company needs to do a little homework about the kind of crowd an exhibition will attract, before actually exhibiting. Research needs to be done about the fellow exhibitors, target audience, past years footfall and if possible, the data about the deals that your company or other companies struck at that particular expo previously, etc.
In addition to this, the company’s exhibit needs to have a person with deal making authority at hand. The hired sales force, even the temporary ones, need to be well trained with the product knowledge and ability to pitch it right.
Even if you don’t hit target sales, don’t worry! The main purpose of expos and exhibitions is giving out information to potential customers. So as long as this job is well done, the project is a success.
This is the most easily accessible tool, which when correctly used, can put the company not only on a domestic but also on a global business map. It is cost-effective, and once you get it right, it can get you sure-fire results year on year, as these expos and exhibitions are usually annual affairs.
Newsletters and Content
The manufacturer can start a monthly newsletter to market his products. This can be either in electronic or print format. The content of the newsletter is often ignored by many. But it is the written matter that will make all the difference.
The content of the newsletter has to be precise, concise and appealing. It should effectively convey all the features and benefits that your product has to offer, that none of the other products can.
Newsletters can be coupled up as brochures also. The terms of trade that your company has to offer can be advertised. They also serve as a great way to remind your potential customers about your presence and products.
Throw in a bit of news about the company and the recent achievements, to build its credibility. They make a great tool to help build a brand for your product in the business world!
When the world is turning into a global village, why not go beyond the local markets? E-marketplaces are essentially a platform where vendors and buyers congregate. It is an effective way to reach the customers anywhere on the planet and expand the reach of your business exponentially.
However, one needs to be careful while selecting the right marketplace. The positioning of the product is very important in this virtual space. E-marketplaces serve a dual purpose. You can even find buyers who have posted a “wanted…” listing. Regularly monitor the listings and try making deals with the buyers whose demands you will be able to fulfill.
Be realistic in offering terms of trade. Reputation and credo is everything in this virtual world. Be careful about selecting your vendors and buyers too. Check for their credibility and past transactions. This platform will open up so many avenues for your products, that expansion will become inevitable.
As long as you give out the right information, have realistic terms of trade, and build up credibility, these platforms would not fail you for sure.
You have been supplying to your buyers for years, still maybe the order size and frequency remains the same. How about doing something good for them and watch it come back to you in return?
Go out and organize a meet for all your buyers and vendors. Informal or formal is your choice, but these meets definitely help. The buyers and vendors will feel cared for and cherished, and in turn spread goodwill for your company.
The meets also help you understand your customers better. Maybe you can help them network more effectively, and help them grow in their businesses. This in turn will come back to you in terms of larger order quantities, with more frequency.
They will also help you expand your network of contacts and help tap into potential customers, distributors, and even partners. A social gathering is always welcome in the monotony of professional life. Meets do not usually add immediately to the company’s bottom line, but they do pay off in the longer run!
Customized Niche Offerings
This is a little tricky, as you can make customized niche offerings catering to the needs of only a single large customer. It requires quite an investment on the manufacturer’s part, and might involve some tinkering around with the products and production line.
Meanwhile, you also need to make sure that the buyer is supporting you right from the start. This will ensure his involvement and will give you a fixed sales figure on monthly or annual basis. Care needs to be taken that you do not neglect your other customers either.
Becoming a sole supplier for a business requires a lot of grit and comes with a huge responsibility. Make sure you have the capability to see it through. It serves as a great technique to attract other potential clients, and helps to sell your products better.
Search engine marketing or SEM, is another novel technique many companies are using to generate and direct more web traffic to their websites.
The businesses can pay to place their advertisements on the top of the results page, when a particular query relating to their products in entered in the search engine. If the company has deep enough pockets to pursue this, they definitely should do it. It is a great way to generate leads, and also markets your products and services across the world.
Social Media Marketing
Different social media portals have dedicated services for marketing products. The company can exploit the popularity of these websites and reach out to a vast customer base.
Business social networking portals should be specially looked into. Any good reputation built here in way of referrals has a tendency to immediately become viral and creates a good buzz about the company’s products and its brand. These portals serve as a great platform to advertise your products and help in building good brand value for the company.
Although they are predominantly used for business to customers marketing, many businesses are now using it for business to business marketing as well. Doing it before it gets too crowded will also give the company an edge over other competitors.
Better and fair deals, offering good trade terms, advertising in key journals and business publications, sponsoring events and expos, are few other ideas which can be studied and implemented for building businesses.