Business Marketing is the practice of individuals, or organizations, including commercial businesses, governments and institutions, facilitating the sale of their products or services to other companies or organizations that in turn resell them, use them as components in products or services they offer, or use them to support their operations. Also known as industrial marketing, business marketing is also called business-to-business marketing, or B2B marketing, for short. (Note that while marketing to government entities shares some of the same dynamics of organizational marketing, B2G Marketing is meaningfully different.)
Business marketing vs. consumer marketing
Although on the surface the differences between business and consumer marketing may seem obvious, there are more subtle distinctions between the two with substantial ramifications. Dwyer and Tanner (2006) note that business marketing generally entails shorter and more direct channels of distribution.
While consumer marketing is aimed at large demographic groups through mass media and retailers, the negotiation process between the buyer and seller is more personal in business marketing. According to Hutt and Speh (2001), most business marketers commit only a small part of their promotional budgets to advertising, and that is usually through direct mail efforts and trade journals. While that advertising is limited, it often helps the business marketer set up successful sales calls.
Marketing to a business trying to make a profit (Business-to-Business marketing) as opposed to an individual for personal use (Business-to-Consumer, or B2C marketing) is similar in terms of the fundamental principals of marketing. In B2C, B2B and B2G marketing situations, the marketer must always:
- successfully match the product/service strengths with the needs of a definable target market;
- position and price to align the product/service with its market, often an intricate balance; and
- communicate and sell it in the fashion that demonstrates its value effectively to the target market.