There’s No Such Thing as B2B Marketing

There’s really no such thing as B2B marketing.

There are too many differences to call it one specific marketing domain. Mass-adoption offerings suited to any generic small business like checking accounts or invoicing have almost nothing to do with offerings tailored to the needs of multi-billion dollar companies such as global banks or institutional investors.

Mass adoption B2B resembles B2C—the only real difference is in the messaging and value proposition. It’s B2SMB. Even when a B2SMB product supports a specific industry niche, the approach to marketing is structurally similar.

Institutional/large corporate B2B takes an entirely different approach—long-term relationship building, a small or very small audience, a deeper dependency on ideas and thought leadership. It’s B2I or B2Corp. It also varies greatly by industry.

Distinguishing them takes a simple test. Can someone buy or sign up for the offering online?

If an offering can’t be purchased online, B2SMB marketing tactics are unlikely to accomplish much. You can waste a lot of money on SEO, ads, etc. It takes complex client cultivation by establishing credibility and building trust. There isn’t much of a funnel. People move through the buying decision by a sort of Brownian motion.

If it can be purchased online, B2I/B2Corp marketing tactics will fall flat. Educational decision guides, product comparisons, and topical blogs have much more impact than a white paper or robust research report. There’s a very distinct funnel as buyers progress from awareness to purchase.

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