B2B Marketing: What Makes It Special?

B2B Marketing: What Makes It Special?

As the world becomes more and more globalized, many company took the advantage of being international. How does the manufacturing products get to the customers hands? Business to Business(B2B) marketing has been play the important factor in this process.  From the raw material to finish goods, each process needs B2B marketing to bring the value to consumers. When the manufacturer made the products, their goal is to sell more and spend less money to another difference company. They have specific contracts to put hold of the low prices and huge amount of the products need to be sold to the consumers. Each process needs die rent purchasing behavior in order to sell to the customers’ hands.

risk-value1

The image divides B2B purchases into four categories according to their value and the level of business risk associated with the purchase.  Each of these categories gives rise to different purchasing behavior and different complexities.

  • Low-risk, low-value purchases are the least distinct from consumer purchases.  There is little financial or business risk involved on getting the decision wrong, meaning that relatively little thought goes into the decision.
  • Low-risk, high-value items such as raw materials typically involve a mixture of technical and purchasing personnel. This complexity is necessary to ensure that price is minimized without impacting upon quality.  Purchasing personnel would usually be the key decision makers on a transaction-by-transaction basis, under the general guidance of more technical employees, who would review suppliers periodically.
  • Low-value, high-risk items such as office insurance would similarly involve a mixture of specialists and purchasers.  As the ‘risk’ is in the product rather than the price, and as each transaction is likely to be unique, an expert would tend to be the key decision maker every time a purchase takes place.
  • High-value, high-risk purchases are the most distinct from consumer purchases, with a large number of senior decision makers evaluating a large range of purchase criteria.

 

chain-of-derived-demand

B2B marketing contains value and risk in purchasing behaviors. As the picture is explained the cause of purchasing behaviors are the purchasing personnel and the complexity. These factors make the B2B marketing special in compare of other marketing strategies. As I believe B2B is so different from B2C marketing is B2B needs to build up good relationships with other businesses to continue to have the business together. The good the relationship the lower risk the company has to continue the long distribution process. Once the foundation is settled, B2B marketing is more stable compare to other marketing strategies. 

The Global Economy and the Need for Businesses to be Ever-Evolving –

 

The Global Economy and the Need for Businesses to be Ever-Evolving –

Choosing “one” article to blog on is always an endeavor. I come across several articles in one sitting and contemplate what will capture your attention or tie into the weekly discussions. I found an excellent site with reputable articles on all topics related to International Business to Business (B2B) and International Business to Consumer (B2C). Instead of focusing on one article and a re-gurgitation of the main points, why not create an open forum where we can discuss the consensus of the International marketplace? Pointedly, this:  To survive and thrive globally, businesses need to be innovative and adaptable to the highly volatile state of the global economy.

 

Marketing strategies and goals should reflect this vision of “Innovation” and always incorporate long-term and short-term strategies. Undoubtedly, the attitude, a “global” thinking and attitude is required and reflected in the leadership style of an organization trickling down to every employee, distributor, supplier, and even the consumer. Keith McLoughlin, the President and CEO of Electrolux (2012) is an innovate thinker who understands the global economy and strategized to market a growing demand for luxury kitchen appliances in a rather shaky global economy. I will briefly touch on the global issues Electrolux faced and the marketing strategy McLoughlin adopted to remain globally strong in the midst of an unstable macroeconomic economy.

 

First, a quick background on Electrolux: They are a Swedish based company with a 100-year history in kitchen, laundry, and cleaning appliances. The appliance lines are top of the line and are the second largest exporter next to Whirlpool of luxury appliances (businesswithoutborders.com).   McLoughlin foresaw an undiscovered market demographic comprised of people who are what he calls it on a “food revolution”, or hip to what they are eating from a nutritional perspective. McLoughlin conducted what every marketing plan requires; research to confirm the market share did in fact exist. Based on this he determined Electrolux would focus on high profit margins and not volume.  McLaughlin kept the brand awareness at a high consumer level and he states so eloquently, “It helps put that halo for Electrolux as the Innovator, as the best, as the premium” (businesswithoutborders.com). McLaughlin understands the need to create a marketing strategy with forethought and planning into the future as certain global markets shrink and others open up new opportunities.

 

Europe’s economy struggles, China’s GDP has dropped, and India is opening up to their borders with an increasing population of middle class. Companies like Electrolux consider the macroeconomic state of the economy and curtail marketing strategies based on the political, governmental, and socio-economic conditions around the globe. For example, as the middle class grows in Latin America and Asia, Electrolux will target 50% of their revenue to come from these developing regions. In addition, McLoughlin believes Europe will recover due to “stimulus measures policy makers in the U.S., China, and Brazil” (businesswithoutborders.com).

 

Electrolux is but one example of a company thriving within an unstable global economy. We know Walmart has faced challenges, but they are also ever-evolving and becoming innovative with the expansion into India’s booming retail market. Vietnam is another Asian marketplace analyst’s forecast double digit growth in the next 15 years (businesswithoutborders.com). Regardless of the dip in GDP in China; China does have a booming population and growth of the average disposable income. What I see transpiring in successful global enterprises is they are able to  shift  their marketing strategy in order to meet the needs of an ever-changing global  economy, never becoming stagnant and always remaining “innovative” and visionary leaders. Thoughts?

Eric Sandoval-

 

 

The New World of B2B Marketing: Reinventing a Company

Wendy Marx, the President of Marx Communications, recently wrote an article in Fast Company detailing the new strategies a marketing officer must exercise to be successful in this new generation. With local cultures and ideals changing almost every other month, there are some key attributes that a marketing executive might need to change in order to stay ahead of the game. “ A global IBM study of more than 1,700 CMOs published in October 2011 laid out the issues in bold terms: CMOs have failed to keep up with the changes in the marketing environment, especially with the explosion in data, social media and channel and device choices along with changing consumer demographics” (Marx). Now imagine expanding those efforts globally. The international arena is even more complex because there are different trends and cultures to learn before establishing that distinct position within a global market. How would you grab a response from an Indian and Chinese consumer of a particular product? Will the strategies be similar or drastically different? When a company reinvents itself, does it have to reinvent twice for domestic and global customers? I will analyze Wendy Marx’s 4 points of change to evaluate if they will also work globally or determine if the “new world” she is referring to is only successful in the American market.

 

The first step given is to focus on the customer (Marx). This step encourages companies to focus less on building the brand and more on understanding your target consumer, giving them want they desire and more. This task may be easier obtained locally with a well-known cultural consumer base. If we take this action international and a company is able to focus more on a global customer & understand what that global customer desires, then a company will become untouchable by competitors. The reason this is not occurring so frequently today is probably due to the high cost it would be to research what each countries consumer desires. With the different theories and cultures, a company would have to hire a marketing research team permanently to predict what each country’s consumer desires from that company. Also, we have to look at if the brand of the company is even considered amongst the global community. It may be more important to build the global brand in a generic sense, before aiming deeper into the particular consumer. Ultimately, focusing on the customer should always be the goal, but marketing globally along with attempting to reach the large variety may end up back firing if the brand does not have a solid reputation.

 

The next step is to move from promotion to education (Marx). “At many B2B companies that means becoming a content marketer” (Marx). A content marketer is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action (CMI). This step requires the marketing to be very knowledgeable of their target audience and to be careful not to have the content advertised to go “over the consumers head” or weaken the image of the actual product/brand. With a global approach, this task can be quite fun. It can give the marketer a chance to advertise their product in a creative, educated manner while incorporating that local culture’s ideals and traditions. Doing too much promotion can make your marketing blend in with others in the same market, but if a marketer changes the content to be more educational (what is the product, how will it benefit you, why you need this item, etc.) can make a world of difference consumer response. It will allow for customers to begin to ask questions and inquire which a good thing is always!

Third step is to redefine the definition of expert (Marx). I take this one to mean, the information being translated to the consumer does not necessarily have to be from the “expected” marketer. Just as long as the information provided is thorough and abundant. It may actually be fun and interesting to have the expert be a person completely separate from the norm because this may cause consumers to be intrigued. In the global perspective, redefining the definition of expert can mean having locals promote the details of a company or brand to gain brand awareness and acceptance. That idea can be successful or completely back fire so it is imperative that thorough research is conducted and the “right” different kind of expert is chosen.

 

Lastly, Marx states “connect emotionally with your advertising.” Emotional, passionate advertising will definitely engage your audience and allow them to connect with your brand. This can ultimately create long term, loyal customers who value your business because you are passionate about your company and the product you’re selling. Now globally, this may cause a dilemma. Many cultures in the world frown on individuals, leaders of companies included, being very emotional. Emotions may be an aspect that is to be expressed in the privacy of your own home or not at all. This may be a turn off to certain cultures around the globe. As a result, a company may want to only emotionally connect with the advertising in those areas that will understand the emotions presented. An alternative is to connect with advertising in different ways with different cultures. This may take more money and more time, but it could possibly be a market changer. You don’t see many companies doing this because of the marketing cost this would create and no guarantee that a company would profit heavily from this changed aspect.

 

All of Marx’s ideas to reinvent a company’s marketing strategy are excellent ideas for the domestic market, but when a company attempts to take these suggestions globally it can only work with extensive amounts of research and financial investments.

 

Footnotes:

The term consumer mentioned above is interchangeable with individual and business customers.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3001721/new-world-b2b-marketing (Marx)

http://www.junta42.com/resources/what-is-content-marketing.aspx (CMI)

International Trade Shows – A Route to Success!

Trade shows are known internationally as a means to engage in establishing new business relationships. Nearly all businesses have trade shows where businesses and consumers come together and promote new products and services. Trade shows afford the opportunity of social interaction quite different from the fast paced web based marketing approach. Buyers and sellers shake hands, exchange business cards, and promote his/her product or service. An interpersonal connection is made. A potential buyer is able to see, touch, and try out a product. Questions and an interchange of knowledge/discussion transpire. A connection not experienced with social media. Both are invaluable marketing tools. Conceivably, a combination of solid web based marketing and international trade show marketing is a solid way to expand globally. Consider the success of Julie Austin, a business owner fromLos Angeles,CA.

 Julie Austin was featured in an article written by the website, “Business without Borders” – Helping Businesses Grow Internationally. Julie exports “Swiggies”; water bottles for runners. Julie was against foreign market entry. Julie’s barriers to International export were “time, money, and a lack of cultural knowledge of foreign markets. Yet an opportunity presented itself and Julie attended an International Trade show inHong Kong. This trade show is known as the “bi-annual China Import and Export Fair” inGuagnzhou,China. This was the start of an exponential business growth where today 90% of Julie’s business is International: “I’d tell anyone thinking about it to go – you are limiting yourself and your sales if you only focus on the United Sates” (businesswithoutborders.com, 2012). As with web based marketing, International trade show marketing has challenges to overcome. The sheer volume of this trade show inHong Kongcan be seen as a challenge: There are 60,000 booths and 210, 00 buyers from 213 countries. No doubt planning is essential. How do you plan for success as Julie did?

The article briefly touched on six fundamental ways to broach the challenges of promoting/selling at International trade shows. What I am hearing is research-research-research! First, research what trade shows provide the best exposure. For example, I went to Google and typed in International trade shows. Several websites came up listing a wealth of trade show organizations in various types of businesses. After selecting a trade show, find out sources within the host country. The article suggested making a call to the U.S. Commercial Service in the host country to find contacts in distributing, manufacturing, etc. (businesswithoutborders.com, 2012). The next step is acquiring a local agent within the host country. The local agent is the middleman who can speak the local language and conduct business negotiations in your absence. This is key when one is not well versed in the local language and culture, or an in person meeting follow up is required on a whim and your over 2,000 miles away. Third, revamp your marketing pitch. Remember, you are now thinking “Global”! Hence, one must make sure all promotional products are global: No slang or slanting. Fourth, staff up by making sure you have all bases covered. Fifth, and in my opinion the most important: Are you well versed in the social culture of the host country? Are you willing too adapt your approach away from the typical American style and mingle after hours? This can be when most deals are made; after hours over dinner and cocktails. Cheryl Locakhart, and Edmonton, Alberta-based international business consultant states, “Try to relax and develop relationships. The real business often happens in the wee hours of the morning after show hours”. Lastly, follow up with the leads attained by sending out emails and thank you notes. Lockart suggests scheduling face to face meetings by use of a local country agent (businesswithoutborders.com, 2012).

International trade show marketing is an excellent means to expose oneself to new foreign markets, or maintain existing relationships. The face to face connection cannot be stressed enough when expanding across other cultural dimensions. One must conduct research and prepare just like any other event. If research and preparation are met, the outcome will be new and continued business growth as Julie Austin’s exporting predominately to International markets.

 Eric Sandoval-

http://www.businesswithoutborders.com/industries/importexport/six-ways-to-work-the-international-trade-show/

Global Marketing Success for OREO

Many Americans have had the addictive snack called the “Oreo” and enjoyed every bite of it. When consumers think of Oreos they immediately equivalent this product with family and a fun treat category. Oreo has created this brand image that has appealed to the masses successfully for 100 years and has contributed to the “annual 5% growth in packaged food product” market (Stone). This success is the result of Oreo’s global marketing campaign where they have kept the same brand image and brand message across borders for their products. Oreo now sells their products to over 100 countries around the world also due to the fact that there is a growing middle class across borders (Stone). In the United States over the last 4 years annual Oreo sales has doubled, indicating that Americans are the biggest fans of snack (Stone). Overall, Oreo has found a marketing strategy that has allowed them to grow larger and larger to this day. One of the main results of their growth is that Oreo had to be split into 2 companies for operational efficiency. Those are the type of changes that occur to successful global companies.

 

In the video, Stone mentions that there are two consumer trends that have emerged from watching Oreo’s growth. One is the consumer return to an iconic classic and affordable indulgence for consumers. I found this fact very interesting and similar to Coca-Cola’s soda product. Oreo has created a brand that most people can attach to their childhood to the present. The Oreo product has produced a consistent satisfaction with all consumers which contributes to their overall success. As we all have seen, the world economy has been in a bad slump over the last half a decade. Even though the economy has changed, the consumer sweet tooth has not. Consumers still desire a tasty “cheat” treat but one that is also not going to break the bank, adding to the unhealthy guilt. Most would assume in this healthy generation that Oreo would suffer in sales. The opposite has occurred due to their affordable, competitive prices, their fun flavors, and the brand itself.

 

Additionally, we have to ask questions about the global strategy Oreo used to be successful globally. How did they incorporate the different cultures into the consistent brand message? How long did it take for other countries to understand the brand and what they stand for? What was unique about their marketing campaign that differentiated their product from national and global competitors?

 

Despite any struggles that Oreo has encountered, they have learned from it and have become nothing but better in the snack food market.  Will Oreo sustain their competitive marketing advantage for another 100 years or will another company take the lead? We will just have to wait and see.

http://www.businessweek.com/videos/2012-03-02/oreos-celebrates-100-years-with-marketing-campaign