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What is B2B Marketing? 

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B2B or Business to Business Marketing are the techniques and practices utilised by companies with a product or service that are sold to other businesses. Unlike Business to Consumer Marketing, a B2B approach must consider that a number of people are involved and will influence a purchase decision, so advertising campaigns must address multiple audiences within the same initiative. B2B Marketing also caters to longer transaction periods. 

For some examples of B2B marketing think of advertising car parts to mechanics, kitchen equipment to restaurants, building supplies to building companies. In these cases a company is selling their products to specific types of businesses. 

B2B vs B2C
B2B advertising isn’t as simple as B2C (Business to Consumer), as it is generally not as noticeable as B2C marketing because it is intended to be seen by a smaller, specialist audience. So while you might advertise a soft drink for consumers on print ad sites, TV and online, you are more likely to advertise building supplies for building companies on a specialist trade website. 

The Purchasing process for B2B products and services can be lengthy and there are more stages involved. If you see an advert for a soft drink, you know you can go buy it from a store, but the sales process for a specialised product or service could be a bit more complex. An example for tourism agencies, you need to advertise to businesses that provide flight and accomodation services. The overall aim is to generate sales leads by attracting the attention of decision makers in these services, and inviting them to respond through call to action. Although you are advertising to another business, you ideally need to target specific individuals within the business. 

It is often noted that personal face-to-face selling works best in complex and long-lasting B2B buying processes, while non-personal communications channels, such as advertising and digital channels, play supportive roles by creating synergies in achieving sales objectives (Ballantyne & Aiken, 2007; Long, Tellefsen, & Lichtenthal, 2007; Rosenbloom, 2007; Singha & Koshyb, 2011).

In the modern age, digital communication channels are playing an ever-growing role in the tourist destination decision-making process. This is especially true in the B2C market, where an individual traveller can research a potential destination and book travel, accommodation, restaurants and entertainment quickly and easily. 

“The B2B tourism industry has been somewhat slower to embrace digital communication channels, but where some markets have effective, targeted digital B2B platforms, others have yet to realise the full potential of the media”. (B2B and the tourism industry, 2012., para. 2) 

One of digital marketing’s major advantages over offline marketing is that its influence is more easily measured. Measurability has been improved by the advent of visible and traceable digital communications (Hennig-Thurau et al, 2010).  The technological advancements have largely automated data collection and distribution within an organisation. Eventually, marketers are in a better position to measure the impact and effectiveness of their marketing activities in the digital environment. 

Why B2B? 
Research has shown that the digital environment can be used to achieve multiple goals in the B2B area. It increases efficiency of exchanges in terms of communications and transactions by allowing companies to decrease costs (Sharma, 2002; Walters, 2008). Digital tools can also provide brand and product-related information, and digital marketing can be used to build brands awareness, improving brand attitude, and increasing purchase intentions.

If tourism businesses are to succeed in the B2B sector, they must take advantage of the multiple platforms of digital communication. Increasing interactivity, using storytelling through video, making content shareable, and adapting content to uniting markets and various cultures, digital B2B platforms can help improve the overall B2B approach to the tourism industry. 

“With a strong innovative digital B2B marketing and communication strategy, tourism businesses and organisations can profile their product more effectively, improve their competitive edge and make it easier to do business online – and ultimately – help to make a given tourist destination more attractive”.  (B2B and the tourism industry, 2012., para. 4)