B2B Agency: A comprehensive review of business-to-business marketing, advertising, and agency capabilities.
The first step toward understanding B2B marketing is asking yourself one simple question: “What is B2B marketing?” The key to mastering your understanding is to ask no end of questions thereafter. Dauntlessly examine what you learn, eagerly expand your knowledge, and make meaning of what you discover. You made it this far. Don’t stop now.
Fundamentally, B2B (or business-to-business) marketing is one company marketing its products or services to another company, which are then typically moved toward broader production. In its simplest form, B2B is marketing from one business to other businesses—not the end user.
Typically, one business offers a product or service that is purchased by another business either for use in broader production, manufacturing, or resale. The companies which sell to other businesses use a B2B marketing approach. Businesses that buy the products or services of another business then are the customers in the relationship. While B2B sounds straightforward, it involves a large network of decision-makers and requires adept navigation of multiple marketing channels. Let’s dive in.
Since B2B marketing requires businesses to appeal and sell to other businesses, the transactions are deliberate, well-researched, and are always an investment. Unlike one-off or often impulsive consumer purchases, B2B is a business decision. B2B marketing demands extensive knowledge of its industry market, and application of strategies that target logic, emotion, and ethics. From sustainability and cost to ingenuity and reputation, a company must market its comprehensive value to target a breadth of decision-makers. For B2B customers, ROI and financial incentives matter. But so do expertise and relationships between businesses. B2B transactions take place within the supply chain. Since many decision-makers influence B2B purchases, navigating the challenges of channel conflict is critical in successful B2B business and marketing. Agencies are adept at understanding the concerns and positions of various influencers within the supply chain and can help companies employ marketing strategies that appeal to the needs of various target audiences. Ultimately, there are a lot of moving pieces that B2B marketing agencies must take into consideration: the pain points of an organization’s purchaser as well as the end user—and everyone in-between on the chain of command.
Effective B2B marketing, like any branch of marketing, comes down to properly targeting your buyer. But B2B requires much more strategy than only targeting an individual consumer. Building a brand that appeals to multiple people within the buying journey—and employing advertising that converts businesspeople to customers—helps develop and maintain successful B2B marketing.
Ambition, curiosity, and resourcefulness are just a few of the marks of a promising B2B expert. Discovering, understanding, and mastering the world of B2B marketing is our mission. Together, we will explore the truths of B2B marketing, expand our knowledge, and emerge that much closer to our marketing zenith.
Don’t go it alone. Expert marketing requires, well, experts. Employing a reliable, adept, and intrepid B2B agency is critical to the success of your business’s mission. You know your company like the back of your hand—and a loyal and capable marketing agency will aim to know your business just as well. B2B agencies leverage marketing channels with their diverse team of experts to implement strategies that serve your business’s goals. Beyond discovering what you do, and how well you do it, our team of B2B marketing professionals will help bolster your brand, strategic planning, and sales.
B2B marketing involves a network of intricate channels which demand professional creative, social media, analytics, public relations, account service, production, and operations. A full-service B2B agency houses all the right crew members to support your business’s marketing initiatives.
The cornerstone of B2B marketing is building your brand. Whether your company is already established, or still in its ideation stages, a B2B agency can help you hone and craft your brand. They will help clarify your vision by sorting through everything that matters to get to what matters most. Developing a recognizable—and memorable—brand helps ensure that your company grows into what you envision, and reaches and resonates with the intended target audiences. Brand development and strategy is paramount to establishing a memorable, and ultimately successful business. B2B agencies help develop and implement brand strategies that are impactful from a company’s inception through its evolution.
Branding often begins with a name and logo, but it’s important to have a solid brand foundation before jumping into even these first steps. A brand strategy takes into consideration a business’s identity, goals, and holistic perspective to inform each forward-facing piece of branding. B2B agency creatives include professional researchers and logophiles, aka copywriters, capable of not just naming, but identifying and christening your brand. Additionally, designers and art directors are dedicated to depicting a modern and distinctive logo that will signify and set your brand apart. Of course, branding doesn’t end there. Brand guidelines, which your B2B agency can help you establish and draw up, set standards and rules you will use to maintain brand consistency across channels. From the history and values of your business to the color palette, typeface, and iconography you use—brand guidelines are crucial to building, sustaining, and growing your business. If your brand is already established, a team of B2B agency experts can be enlisted to help you refine, rebrand, or adhere to your brand guidelines. With the soundness of your brand in mind, each marketing initiative will reiterate the tone of your brand.
As you know, marketing is more than just trade shows and social media posts. But the breadth of marketing channels is extensive, and navigating their intricacies requires the experience and knowledge of a qualified B2B agency. Digital marketing, PR, social media, search engine optimization and marketing, traffic and lead generation, events, trade shows, videos, infographics, case studies, white papers, content marketing, and creative production all strengthen the presence of your brand across multiple channels. A B2B agency assists with creating and publishing all marketing tactics. Full-service B2B agencies can skillfully co-pilot your marketing initiatives from the conception of your brand to the execution of advertising, through maintaining the flow of your marketing presence and sales for your business.
B2B agencies understand that your customers have customers. Knowing the needs and market of your business and the ones you serve is paramount to developing marketing content and strategies that will cast the largest—and strongest—net. Who you market to, and how you do it, is the compass of channels you must navigate in B2B marketing. Those dynamic channels of B2B marketing require us to understand the sales cycle and depths of the B2B industries. To this end, B2B agencies develop messaging that can reach multiple audiences, without being watered down. Diligent research and keen understanding of market industries ensure a B2B agency may connect with each of the audiences within a channel.
Examples of B2B
B2B marketing isn’t for one-size-fits-all ball caps sold on flashy endcaps to carefree tourists. B2B marketing is intentional, adaptable, and extensive. B2B marketing influences business decisions. Consider the following B to Bs to better understand what kinds of transactions occur in B2B markets, and whom they involve.
Granular examples include:
- Car parts are sold to car manufacturers.
- Medical equipment suppliers sell products to hospitals.
- Communication software, like Teams and Level365, sell their software to businesses who use electronic communication tools.
- Software as a service (SaaS) companies, like Salesforce, sell to a variety of retailers and businesses such as banks, stores, and universities.
- HVAC systems and products are sold to servicing companies.
- Regulation-compliant medical marijuana growers and transporters sell to distributors.
- Point-of-sale (POS) providers sell POS systems to retailers.
Sector examples include:
- Financial Services and Insurance
- Salons, Offices, and Other Storefronts
B2B transactions among these and other companies and/or industries occur as sales in the supply chain before the end consumer. Typically, B2B sales are primary or secondary sales. Primary sales take place when a manufacturer sells a product to a distributor, in the first movement of goods. Materials that make other products, for instance, usually constitute a primary sale point. Secondary sales happen when a distributor sells to a retailer. Salon products, for example, are sold in bulk to a retailer in a secondary sale point. Secondary sales move the needle closer to tertiary sales, which are between retailers and the final consumer.
B2B Buying Journey
As noted, your B2B agency will help you thoughtfully and deliberately target multiple audiences. And as we discussed, in B2B industries, there are more than one point of sale and individuals involved in decision making. Exploring the B2B journey will evolve your marketing strategies. A B2B agency may be your dauntless partner in positioning your unique business among the many customers you’ll influence.
B2B purchasing processes in a cycle, rather than linearly or as a funnel. Buying groups for a B2B market may include up to 10 decision-makers. Because B2B purchases are business decisions, and never impulses or strictly desire-based, it’s standard for the sales cycle to take longer. The complex B2B sales cycle has multiple points mid-stage, while decision-makers research, deliberate, and assess product/company fit.
The first stage in a B2B buying journey is generating product or service awareness with a potential customer. B2B marketing agencies serve this step well by researching industry markets and developing lead-generating marketing strategies and content to initiate the awareness stage in the buying journey. Actions B2B agencies help take toward generating awareness can include informational blogs, social media posts, and videos. Once awareness is established, leads develop interest in what a company has to offer their business.
When a business moves forward in its interest in purchasing, other decision-makers get involved and begin the research and deliberation phases of the buying journey. White papers, product pages, infographics, and emails can help guide prospective buyers through this stage of the cycle.
As noted, the B2B buying journey is dynamic and complex. So, once interest is established, it is critical to execute marketing strategies that get businesses to understand how their problems can be solved by purchasing your product or service. And what’s more, since there are multiple decision-makers involved, your company must get a consensus buy-in. During the stage of solution exploration, when your company is in the purchasing discussion, generating informational and personalized marketing content is critical to move the needle toward selection and ultimately a purchase decision.
Information drives purchase decisions. And a B2B agency is skilled at helping your company produce marketing content that offers the kind of targeted information that will detail to prospects why your product or service is the best solution for their problem. Case studies, testimonials, product comparisons, awards, and CTAs are tactics your B2B agency can help you execute/achieve so that qualified and engaged prospects may reach the purchasing stage in their buying journey.
Once purchases are made, maintaining B2B relationships is the final (and recurring beginning) stage of the buying cycle. Successful communication, email subscriptions, and branding develop loyalty between B2B partners. As experts in the B2B world, agencies are equipped to help companies navigate this stage as well and continue to work with companies again and again through the buying journey. Maintaining new customers builds a network of loyalty infinitely more beneficial than a one-time sale. Brand advocates are created when businesses meet and surpass the needs of clients by doing more than providing a product or service—but learning the specific desires of each decision-maker, understanding the goals of a company’s brand, and consistently delivering marketing data and analytics information, creative content, and account services that secure ongoing business from loyal customers.
B2B Marketing Channels & Content
A blog, as a platform, is a marketing channel. A specific blog post on a website is marketing content. Same end, different means. Navigating marketing channels requires professional insight and understanding. Creating marketing content to share through distinct channels involves a variety of tactics. B2B agencies help businesses determine which marketing channels to use, and what marketing to employ within them, for maximum lead generation.
Businesses may use marketing channels to connect and communicate with their target audience. Marketing channels may be in-person or online and may be accessed via free or paid platforms. Delivering messaging and disseminating your brand to your target audience occurs through usage of different channels. You may use email to reach current or prospective clients, attend trade shows, publish paid ads, or have a business presence on social media—or in mailboxes.
For most businesses, the epicenter is their website. An appealing, easy-to-use, secure, and aesthetically professional and striking website helps convert traffic to sales. A website is more than a landing page—it is a living marketing device that will be accessed from search engines by potential customers keying in pains that your business can uniquely address. Channeling website visitors to products and services through your website is an essential way to garner sales. A B2B agency employs media, creative, and account experts capable of designing a website that works as its own marketing powerhouse.
Social media and email
Social media and email content marketing are powerful lead-generating tools. Sending a monthly newsletter, for instance, updates site visitors on new products, gives them additional exposure to your brand, and can include tangible reasons to convert a reader to a lead. Consider including links to events pages or campaigns in your email, for instance.
And of course, there is social media. B2B marketing agencies are excellent partners when it comes to social media knowledge and creativity. Social media presence helps businesses build their brand across multiple platforms. And posting regularly helps boost engagement and generate leads. Fostering customer engagement through social media depends largely on proper and deft usage of platforms. LinkedIn, a primary social network for businesses, has different functionality and users though than, let’s say, Instagram. While both have a high reach, a B2B agency account expert can ensure that you are using each network appropriately to glean the most marketing benefits.
Video content is great for social media and B2B branding generally. Audiences in B2B markets are familiar with blogs and report content, but are also inclined to engage with video content as a useful and personable source of information—and marketing content. Videos can be shared to social media, sent in newsletters and emails, and housed on your website to help convert traffic to leads.
Infographics are a great way to cut through information clutter and concisely (and creatively) share attention-grabbing content. As the name suggests, they are informational. But when it comes to content marketing, pairing information with creative graphics is a formula for success.
White papers, though less creative than infographics, are staples of B2B marketing. Businesses educate their target audiences by offering well-crafted white papers that provide evidence of credibility and expertise. Professionals in your industry looking to continue their education can benefit from your published white papers. On one hand, they may use your white papers to learn about a product, system, or service. And on the other hand, when they use your white paper for such education, they may then look to your business for partnership and solutions from a sales perspective.
Case studies are testimonials, essentially, for B2B marketing content. They have a high success rate for converting leads to buyers since they work to demonstrate quantifiable and real-life application—and success—of products and services. B2B agencies can help you contact interviews, research, craft and publish case studies that do your business the justice it deserves.
Blogs and thought leadership
Blogs helps businesses share their insights and expertise with a broad audience. Blog articles may reach general searches and appear in results for pain points of traffic that can contribute to lead generation. Unlike white papers though, blogs are oriented around branding in a more personal and professional tone. What’s more, blogs are an excellent opportunity for businesses to position themselves as thought leaders within their industry. Your B2B agency can help you assess your ownable claims and pin down what you do really well that you can work to own the corner on, so to speak. Blogs as thought leadership content generate leads and bolster the reputation and recognition of your business. B2B agencies are skilled partners at making expert suggestions for creating blogs. Whether a blog may include a motion graphic video or aid in speaking engagements such as podcasts or webinars, your B2B agency can help you be seen as a prominent thought leader in your industry.
Data, Analytics & AI
Bringing brain power to the realm of data and technology is one of our many strengths. We don our exploration helmets and dive into the depths of research and analytics and emerge capable of applying number-driven data to real solutions. Software that lets us look deeply into target markets and trends allows us to seamlessly connect sales goals with marketing tactics. We believe that B2B agencies should communicate marketing strategies with a clear vision of clients’ comprehensive goals. Our smart and sophisticated use of technology is key in how we execute that mission.
B2B marketing requires adept targeting of multiple decision-makers by applying a variety of precise techniques simultaneously. Learning about each audience’s specific pains and desired solutions is aided using data, analytics, and AI technologies by B2B agencies. Diving into owned data helps in targeting current and prospective customers based on client records. From there, B2B marketers can deliver personalized advertising campaigns and marketing content to leverage conversions of prospects to purchasers.
Maintaining customer relationships leans on continuous application of technology. Applying data gleaned from channels that prospective clients have interacted with can lead to product improvements, for instance. And using AI can help create tailored messaging that both reaches and appeals to qualified customers. B2B agencies work in partnership with technology. Digital advertising algorithms help create relevant content quicker, and then AI can help funnel that information to experts in the industry moving toward sales conversions. The best part is that while this part of marketing may seem murky to some, an adept data department helps B2B agencies make it look easy.
How We Do B2B
Miller Brooks’ crew members commit themselves to exploring each client’s industry and company with full intrigue. We believe in positioning ourselves among our clients as business partners. When we write copy, design graphics, develop press releases and attend industry events with you, we are working with you. B2B marketing is more than product logistics and spec details. B2B industries are thriving parts of economic markets and we treat our clients’ products and services with the creative respect they deserve. B2B people are our people.
Whether we are learning your brand or helping you develop it, we know that a strong brand makes a strong business. With that in mind, we deliberately incorporate your values, visions, and individuality into your marketing content. B2B isn’t boring. B2B is innovative and energetic. While our research process is surgical, our creative approach is visionary. Our marketing strategy mandates that we reach our clients’ target audiences where they live, work, and play. We don’t work with blinders on. We use a compass. And we’re ever suited for exploration.
Together, we work to understand the nuances of your industry and creatively produce informed content that best serves you—and your customers. Our axis is centered within the B2B cycle. Our limits are yet unreached. Gear up with us—your intrepid B2B marketing agency.