Understanding B2C vs B2B Concepts – Introduction, Differences, Application in Business
Info: 23799 words (95 pages) Dissertation
Published: 29th Oct 2021
Tagged: BusinessBusiness Strategy
1.2.1 Project Management in B2C Marketing
1.2.3. Marketing Strategy Tools
1.3.1. Project Management commitment to B2C sales
2.2. The main differences of B2B vs B2C
2.3.1. Project Management commitment to B2B marketing
2.3.1 Web-Marketing Effectiveness(Case study)
2.4.1. Project Management commitment to B2B Sales
3.1. Classical sales model in the B2B market
This bachelor thesis goal is to create structured and informative report about difference of B2C and B2B in Marketing and Sales, as well as how B2B adapt B2C models. From my perspective sales process consists of advertising, contact with consumer and sale. That is why those can be divided into two parts Marketing and Sales. That result in equation where there is no sales without marketing and there is no sense in marketing without sales. B2B gives another approach to those processes due to the different factors that are obvious or not very much, those factors will be discovered in this thesis, the easiest example is an industry impact. Complexity and continuity of negotiations in B2B creates need for Project Management skills from Sales department manager, in order to properly present product, negotiate needed features, calculate price and sell without any shortages in time. After Sales department should keep contact with client to get feedback and improve processes, that reminds me Scrum strategy in Project Management. FCMG companies spend huge amount of money on advertising and PR projects that need Project Management skills as well, they promote their fast-changing product mix and to comparison there are Heavy Industry companies like Severstal that produce steel and other raw materials, they can be huge, but unknown to public due to different marketing and sales strategy that also need Project Managers as inside consultants to manage change, make market and trend researches.
If we dig deeper into details of B2B marketing and sales, we will find CRM systems that are typical Project Management tools, they offer plans when salesmen should visit the clients to have a comfort talk about new products, ask about trends, hear about customer worries and even problems. Or sales, sale of the custom service is, an initiation of the project, the link between sale and delivery is the most straight one. Before sale occurs, there is a collaboration between Project Delivery staff and SME (subject matter experts) to prepare and provide the detailed information to the potential customer on implementation processes, customer commitment and more. Salesperson often in order to sale – imagine creative solution that seems possible to him (additional customization, accurate schedules, etc), and after the sale leaves Project delivery team with list of KPIs that should be done.
B2B companies are looking for stable and long-term co-operation rather than just to earn some money. This will be covered in bachelor thesis as well, for example why there are low-quality and cheap products on the market, why shops are buying them in order to resell to the consumers?
As well many consulting companies are saying in their reports that B2B companies are moving slower to the digitalisation then B2C companies, bachelor thesis will cover that in its second part. Global movement towards IT solution isn`t a secret for no one, however Big Data analytics is a major and very broad trend, it covers everything from operations efficiency, HR to Sales and Marketing. Application of data-driven decision making is understandable for operations and production, but how it affects sales this is other question. B2C companies, for example internet stores often use A/B research in order to optimise sales, however how B2B companies are using data to take decisions in order to make their operations comfortable for client and for themselves?
And other trends, in marketing for example Agile methodology is gaining popularity, it is very costly and takes much time to create advertising campaign, often big corporations are very slow with their ad campaigns (why?) that in the end when they start to promote their product it appears to be too late when trend is gone.
Research questions cover: “What are common marketing and sales frameworks?”, “What are the trends in B2C?” “What B2B is? On what does it focuses?”, “How b2b strategy affects sales and marketing departments?”, “What the difference between B2B and B2C”,”Does E-commerce work for B2B?”, “Big data analytics application in sales and how it will develop?”, “Successful B2B business model and what they are about?”
All provided questions answered by reports from leading consulting companies, articles from management journals, articles from specialized web-pages, reports and articles from online databases like ProQuest and Emerald, as well citations from B2B related books and case studies.
First chapter is short one, it will tell about B2C and what sales is, structure of sales, common frameworks and will prepare non-native to sales and marketing reader to the second chapter, the big and complex one. Materials to be used are: Books, academical journals and little bit of internet information.
Second chapter covers questions: “What B2B is? On what does it focuses?”, “How b2b strategy affects sales and marketing departments?”, “Does E-commerce work for B2B?”, “What the difference between B2B and B2C?”, “Big data analytics application in sales and how it will develop?”. It will cover B2B oriented frameworks, sales techniques and research factors that change those frameworks and how. Methodology approach is research of B2B related books, specialized internet resources, internet articles and databases.
Third chapter will focus on the combination of B2B and sales/marketing. That is why it will answer question “Successful B2B business model and what they are about?”
It will be made on basis of case studies and business books, articles.
B2C can be defined in many ways. The most common one is: B2C – a term designating the commercial relationship between an organization (Business) and a private, so-called “end” consumer. Also, a form of electronic commerce, the purpose of which is direct sales to the consumer.
In b2c when buyer buys the goods for himself. The goods (service) in this situation is an object of business, while the consumer and the seller organization are its subjects.
The relationship in the B2C sphere is one of the links that make up the chain of business processes in today’s commercial activity. The goal of B2C is to build a direct, personalized relationship between business and the client. This type of relationship implies direct sales and the desire to reduce the number of intermediaries. The fewer intermediaries, the easier it is for organizations to ensure competitive prices on the ground and control them. These activities are aimed on increasing the margins of sales.
Distinctive features of the B2C market
- The role of the assortment. Businessmen who have chosen retail trade as their sphere of activity are always interested in expanding the range of services and goods: thus, they extend their influence on all segments of the market. This process is most easily traced in the example of supermarkets, where the consumer can buy literally anything he wants. In addition, there he will be offered related services – for example, delivery, installation and repair of equipment for the kitchen or computer equipment.
- The role of an individual client. It should be accepted that in this business segment, the role of the buyer is small, since the merchant profits from large sales volumes that are provided by different consumers. In other words, merchant is more concerned with the needs of the market, rather than the specific client.
A good example is a beer. Alcohol is always in demand. That beer, which is currently stand on supermarket shelves, is quite satisfied with the bulk of consumers. And if somebody, who has returned from Belgium, suddenly wants “something different”, his requests are unlikely to be met. No manufacturer will brew (or sell) exotic “for the elite” to the detriment of the interests of the target audience. However, if the business owner decides that unusual beer will attract new customers to his store, he will offer one of the suppliers to brew a new variety and immediately buys many bottles. Of course, this happens infrequently. But it is immediately clear that the leaders of companies working in B2C tend to think big.
First, let`s define what marketing and sales are and what are common frameworks, who are marketing gurus and the same for sales.
Term “Marketing” can be defined in many ways, but The American Marketing Association has defined marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”
1.2.1 Project Management to B2C Marketing
Project management, for example, is a component of a digital ad campaign that can be interpreted as SMM campaign. And SMM campaign is a part of B2C There are three most visible processes that need Project management involvement:
- Time management is one of the most essential parts of an advertising professional’s job. Digital ad campaigns are usually just a parts of a brand’s marketing plan. Due to releasing of a product or service at a certain time, simultaneously advertising via all forms of media should happen at the same time. To prevent any delays, it is important for an advertising professional to accurately define and sequence activities that would produce the items outlined in the WBS.
- Quality management. The main reason for this is that the digital landscape is highly technical and full of many potential pitfalls. No matter how hard company can try to ensure that ads will be presented to the type of audience they’re targeting and in the manner, they intend, this is not something that can be guaranteed.
- Communications management is also an important aspect of an ad campaign. Advertising is, after all, a practice of mass communications. The identification of stakeholders is an essential beginning step. An ad client isn’t usually a single individual. It’s often the case that two or more individuals on the client’s end will need to be considered so that they can approve ads that are created.
1.2.2. Marketing strategy
In globalization time the global competitive marketing strategies are gaining popularity (price focused as well as product focused), but not marketing strategies on local scale. However, operations on foreign markets isn`t easy. Logical to analyse foreign operations in sphere of complicated and specific global marketing. And in overall thesis to focus on which marketing strategies are important by default. Through them four can be selected:
- Force strategy – expect high market share, massive manufacturing, R&D and massive marketing campaign and using brand history and fame as main pillar
- Niche strategy – expect specialization, production of expensive and high-quality products for small segmented market with specific needs
- Adaptation strategy – it is associated with local scale, conventional products, flexibility of corporate policy, high level of adaptation, satisfaction of small in size needs of certain customers
- Pioneer strategy – focused on the radical transformation of the old or the creation of new segments of the market, the search for revolutionary solutions, obtaining maximum benefits at the same level of risk
In addition, strategy in marketing has many features:
|Based on market research||The development considers the competitive actions of competing companies, analyses the level of consumer coverage, etc.|
|Fixed in the relevant corporate document||Such a document is usually called marketing policy and is provided for familiarization to each participant|
|Developed for a long-term||Depending on the area of business, the strategy determines the direction of the company’s development for a period from 1 to 25 years;|
|It is often developed in conditions of insufficient information||The strategy requires regular refinement of key elements|
|Does not have specific numerical values||With constant changes in the market, a constant updating of the strategy and new competitive methods are required to reach bigger target audience.|
|Is part of the corporate strategy||Strategy and tactics of marketing should correspond to the general plans of the company|
The marketing strategy concept is developed in accordance with specific tasks and opportunities. Often, firms working in the same field, set themselves completely different goals. To some extent, this individualizes the development process. However, in the creation of any marketing strategy, there are several main stages.
The main stages in creating a marketing strategy:
In a generalized form, they are presented in the scheme above. A more detailed list of tasks for the qualitative development of one of the company’s basic documents is as follows:
- Define the goals and directions of the firm for a given period;
- Analyse the situation in the company based on the reporting to the marketing unit;
- To find out what position your business takes by the monitoring of the market;
- To study the marketing policy of direct competitors;
- Evaluate the company’s prospects after a comprehensive analysis of the information received;
- Consider all possible alternative marketing strategies;
- Choose the best option for implementation;
- Describe the principles of the basic marketing strategy;
- Detail the implementation of the strategy for key policy blocks (branding, advertising, pricing, etc.);
- Develop an implementation plan for the strategy;
- Maximize the coverage of the target audience, provide support for the implementation of the marketing strategy (control of all stages, staff training, writing of relevant methodological documents, etc.).
Benefits from implementation
An effective strategy in marketing is sometimes the main goal for every serious company. The firm, which has devoted time to developing the right long-term concept, will realize it, for example:
- To strengthen positions in the market;
- Increase market share;
- Increase customer loyalty;
- Ensure a steady increase in sales;
- To enter new markets;
- Expand the geography of sales;
- Successfully bring new products to markets.
All these points will contribute to a strong improvement in material indicators and social ties with any responsible company.
Marketing orientation – it is on what company make accent in its operations and strategy. That can be:
- Product orientation – company concern the most about products quality and its features.
- Sales orientation – company focuses on sales and promotion of predefined product or product mix
- Production orientation – when there is huge demand for product, company focuses on massive production rather promotion
- Market orientation – the most common strategy that balance all the factors, and use R&D to estimate client, his current needs and offer right product on time. That orientation base on the 3 “sub-orientations”:
- Customer orientation – firm should know customer needs and satisfy them
- Organizational orientation – firm should orient on communication and co-operation between departments. If marketing department discover consumer need, R&D department should create prototype and production department produce it one time. Although finance department should be consulted to create acceptable low-risk budget.
Internal conflicts may occur that is why company although should focus on operations and communications
- Mutually beneficial exchange – consumer is not obliged to buy just from one supplier that is why firm must entice consumers to buy goods with contemporary marketing ideals
Based on this list of main types of goals, it is possible to draw conclusions about their interrelationship. However, for the maximum coverage of the market, the priority is the definition of external goals. Business uses them as the main reference points in the long-term strategy. And planning helps to virtually eliminate the possible losses that usually arise during chaotic actions. In the view of the enormous influence on the future of the company, such planning is a complex and responsible task. In order that successful decisions will be successfully applied in practice, the strategy should be formulated with considering certain rules:
- It must be developed based on an objective assessment of the market situation and the potential that a business has;
- For achieving the required level of market coverage, the strategy should provide the choice of an alternative option (in terms of determining the price levels, the number of personnel, etc.);
- The strategy should clearly define the objectives of the firm;
- It should provide solution for need to promptly respond to any market changes or competitive actions of other companies;
- The strategy should outline a certain chronological framework, which allows us to identify short-term and long-term goals.
1.2.3. Marketing Strategy Tools
The marketing strategy helps to determine the optimal tools and methods for influencing the target audience by four key parameters. Business gets the necessary positioning in the market because of a 4P development in such areas:
- Goods: need to determine the product range and its competitive advantages, for which commodity policies are created;
- Price: it is important to make rules that allows to quickly set, change and adjust the price of the goods;
- Distribution channels: to effectively implement the marketing strategy, it is worthwhile to set out in the development plan competitive schemes for delivering products to customers;
- Ways to promote: special attention should be paid to the choice of methods that have the maximum impact on the target audience and allows to inform it about the products or activities of the firm in a brief time.
These are the same known components of the 4P marketing.
Main and most known marketing framework is 4P model (marketing mix) that was invented in 1960 by Neil Borden and modified by E. Jerome McCarthy. It helps in marketing decision-making processes.
|Category||Definition||Typical Marketing Decision|
|Product||A product refers to an item that satisfies the consumer’s needs or wants.
Products may be tangible (goods) or intangible (services, ideas or experiences).
|Price||Price refers to the amount a customer pays for a product.
Price may also refer to the sacrifice consumers are prepared to make to acquire a product.
Price is the only variable that has implications for revenue.
Price also includes considerations of customer perceived value.
|Promotion||Promotion refers to marketing communications
May comprise elements such as: advertising, PR, direct marketing and sales promotion.
|Place||Refers to providing customer access
Considers providing convenience for consumer.
P. Kotler says that this framework should be used as tactical scheme, and before such strategic actions should be done – market segmentation, target group selection, company positioning or product positioning.
And in 1990s, Robert F. Lauterborn proposed an alternative model for the 4P concept. He shifted the whole accent from the producer-seller to the buyer and highlighted the preferences of consumers. Elements of this marketing complex begin with the letter C, so it has the name 4C and includes:
There is also an alternative 3C theory that uses a set of tools to develop a company’s strategy:
Illustrating how the various complexes of marketing elements interact with each other will help the following scheme. Here is shown how the elements of the marketing complex of the 3C theory through the STP marketing strategy affect the 4P model
Other strategic tool that is commonly used in marketing is a SWOT matrix.
The application of SWOT analysis in marketing takes place, as a rule, to determine the problems and opportunities of the organization in the market and to expand opportunities for interaction with the external environment.
SWOT analysis can be simply understood as an examination of internal strenghts and weaknesses of the organization and opportunities and threats of the external environment. In its essence, it characterizes:
- Strengts – the advantages of the organization.
- Weaknesses – the disadvantages of the organization.
- Opportunities – are external factors, the use of which will create the advantages for organization on the market.
- Threats – are factors that can potentially worse the organization’s position in the market.
An example of internal factors can be the level of staff qualifications, the size of the client base and so on. For an enterprise, this can be high-quality equipment, time and quantity of shifts in production, and for a bank – a simplified scheme for opening a credit line.
The external factors are mainly political and economic movements in the country, for example, an embargo on a certain type of goods (economic blockade), the size of imports, the level of wages of the population. From smaller ones: the number and strength of competitors in their industry, the availability and cost of the necessary resources for the enterprise, many branches from a competitor bank, and others.
SWOT analysis is used as a common tool in the preliminary stages of decision making and precedes the prospective planning, ensuring that the previous marketing information about the capabilities of the enterprise was correct and suitable for use. Decision-making must contain each of the following elements:
- Formation of forces.
- Reducing of weakness.
- Use of opportunities.
- Counteraction to threats.
Those concepts are core of marketing, its basics and they were developed century ago. However, there are modern marketing approaches and one of them is Social Media Marketing (SMM). With the popularity growth of social networks (such as Twitter, Facebook and others), the interest of marketers to these networks has also increased as it can be perceived as a new source of the target audience for the promotion. Very quickly, Social Media Marketing – became one of the elements of the Internet Marketing approach. It is used to attract visitors (and hence potential new customers) to the company’s website from the social network environment. But positioning on these sites and methods of promotion in them have many features. Although this market has been developing since first social network (classmates.com 1995), it remains insufficiently studied. Sometimes there are new tools created that can change the marketing methods in social networks.
There are several reasons why social networks are attractive:
- Not advertising message format. It is believed that information passed from one user to another user in the social network is comparable with a personal recommendation of service/product or company, what means that such post would be more credible than conventional advertising.
- Distribution of information by the principle of “word of mouth”. The main task when working with social groups in internet is to create such content that will be distributed by people independently, without any additional efforts from the initiators of messages.
- Deep targeting. Advertiser can identify the target audience, personalize users, explore real customers, their personal and professional preferences, and focus the advertising company on a specific segment.
- Interactive. The ability to respond quickly to questions and feedback from visitors, to maintain the necessary dialogue.
Attraction of visitors or attention to the brand / product through social platforms is important not only for the promotion of companies, but is also successfully used for solving other business problems:
- Sales (repeat sales and sales on recommendation);
- Branding, work on the image of the brand;
- Improving the quality and quantity of traffic to an external site;
- Neutralization of the negative reputation (reputation marketing).
One of the methods of marketing, which is widely used on the Internet – is “viral marketing.” Social networks are very susceptible to “viral marketing” and it is here that the most effective effect of its application is provided. Methods of viral marketing were used a century ago. Its essence lies in the fact that customers or users on their own initiative begin to actively advertise and recommend the goods to their acquaintances. Many large corporations skilfully use the methods of viral marketing in social networks to promote their ideas and products.
The strategy of such network virus on the Internet is simple and very effective – to influence a person, to “infect” with the idea of distributing this product, he voluntarily becomes an advertising medium and transmits information to many people. Almost the same principle, according to which “word of mouth” works, but the effect is much more significant and initially the idea should not be an explicit, hidden advertisement, be presented in the form of an interesting message or photo, video content. The most problematic part of viral marketing is the need to create such an idea and to translate it into an accessible and attractive form for users. Good example of viral marketing is Dollar Shave Club advertisement that became viral in 2012. For a man, buying razors is an annoying process. Dollar Shave Club sought to remedy that with a razor subscription service. “But it wasn’t the service itself that made it a popular, it was the way the service was marketed. In a hilarious, near-stream-of-consciousness-style monologue, founder Michael Dublin extolled the virtues of Dollar Shave Club and it was an instant hit. DSC is a private company and hasn’t released any revenue numbers, but it does have over 200,000 customers due in no small part to this brilliant video. “
A sale is a transaction between two parties where the buyer receives goods (tangible or intangible), services and/or assets in exchange for money. It can also refer to an agreement between a buyer and seller on the price of a security. A sale functions as a contract between the buyer and seller of the selected good or service. Although, Sale describe any commercial activity and business as whole.
In the common understanding, sales are considered to be inextricably linked with marketing , it serves as a logical continuation, practical result and confirmation of the correctness of the marketing work of the company.
There are 4 basic types of sales can be mentioned:
First two types (Active, Passive) have difference in salesman involvement into sales process. Second two types (Direct, Indirect) differ by involvement of dealer, broker, sales agent etc.
This type is considered as the most difficult, but brings one of the best results. With the predominance of the seller’s initiative (90%) and the client’s minimum return (10%), they often end in mutual benefit. And the contact with the seller can be a complete surprise for the buyer: a meeting in a shopping centre, in a subway, on the street or a phone call. Formation of the need for a product occurs right at the moment of communication.
Active sales are used to attract buyers and partners, to form a client base and plan potential transactions. So do sales representatives, traveling around retail outlets and selling goods in small wholesale. So do entrepreneurs on a start-up to promote the company. In the same way sales are made to other cities and countries. One of the remote ways of active sales of goods and services is telemarketing.
This method, to comparison with Active sales, deprives sellers of active actions. The predominant initiative (90%) comes from the buyers themselves. “Hot” customers ready for the purchase of the goods comes to the sales representative, to the firm, shop or organization. The only thing that can be required from the seller, so this is advice.
Illustrative examples of passive sales – markets, supermarkets, shopping centres, where the consumer goes for a specific purchase.
This sale is due to personal communication with the client. Employees of the company or individual entrepreneurs contact the end user directly, without intermediaries. This is trade at the market, exhibition, presentation or client office. Remote communication is also possible in online store, a telephone, a media outlet, when the product itself has interested the consumer.
This is characteristic of large organizations that have proved themselves in the market, when they sell goods through intermediaries to increase the distribution and develop their business processes. There is no personal contact between the seller and the buyer. Examples of indirect sales: dealership, merchandising, franchising.
Theoretical sources describe not only basic, but also additional types of sales. For example, B2B (business to business, selling goods to legal entities) and B2C (business to consumer, sale of goods to individuals). Those kinds of sales combine all basic 4 types in different proportions and ways. That means that all the principles of sale generally correspond to the 4 basic types.
1.3.1. Project Management commitment to B2C sales
The commitment of PM to the B2C is much lower then to B2B. However, need for PM is present. Project managers mostly play the role of inside consultants. They constantly reviewing processes/operations and then create the project that will bring the change. The milestone is that change should be implemented without any disruptions for the already existing processes. Also, such consultants are responsible for education of employees, so they create workshops, those also could be considered as projects.
1.3.2. New methods
Digital trends invade into everything around us and Sales isn`t exclusion. I as gamer particularly interested in sales in the digital entertainment. There could be mentioned two popular trends and strategies: Microtransactions and Subscription plans. 
Microtransaction or micropayment – is a business model for distribution of digital content. It bases on low price and perceivable high value of content. Such model created F2P (free-to-play) with IAP (In application payment) distribution when you download application or register on the web-page, but to unlock all the content you should always pay small fee (often less than 10$).
Also, IAP got its popularity in MMO (mass multiplayer online game) games where for affordable payment you can get advantage over other players. IAP achieved incredible popularity in Asia, where based on this mechanism of sales, financial empires were built, bringing huge amount of money to those who created them.
The main problem with F2P games that are totally dependent on IAP, – it is a disproportionable division of audience by those who pay and those who not. According to a study by Swrve, 50% of the profits from in-game sales in F2P are brought by only 0.15% of mobile players. Dependence of the industry on this 0.15% is generally seen as a negative trend. There is a situation when some users constantly invest in the project, and others do not pay anything. And at the same time, they both can easily reach the highest level.
Ubisoft conducted an analysis of the Ghost Recon Online audience and found that those who pay tend to spend money meaningfully, and not spontaneously, as previously thought. They want, their payment to bring a maximum of bonuses. That’s why paying users try to make purchases on sales, tracing the schedule of discounts. Similarly, Steam customers buy hundreds of digital copies of games on Christmas or spring sales.
The huge gap between low paying players and high paying players leads to the fact that many developers misjudge their own capabilities and incorrectly form an average price. Today, one of the main tasks for the gaming industry is to destroy the dependence on high payers and make the purchases interesting for a wider gaming audience. Probably, at the same time, the average price will become smaller, but developers will get a stable and long-term game that will be able to bring money for a longer period.
To solve this problem, you need to rethink the two most important aspects of the modern F2P-game: “payment walls” and “payments in one click.”
“Payment walls” – artificial barriers that arise in F2P-games. To overcome them, the user must either pay or involve new gamers in the game. This method is most actively used in social entertainments. In one or other way, such barriers are present in any conditionally free game. To avoid user losses at this stage, as well as to increase the average check, developers should try alternative ways of earning. Among them – the sale of visual content, premium materials.
The second most crucial point is simplification of payments. For successful earnings on an entertainment project, it is necessary to achieve that to acquire a virtual product was as simple as possible.
1.3.4. Subscription plan
The subscription sales model has long been popular in some stores. For example, the famous Dollar Shave Club sells shaving machines in this way. There are many other examples – Japanese Candy or Dutch Waffles, there are even delivery services for guitars by subscription.
Internet services are full of subscription models. For example, Netflix propose subscription by time and Google Drive propose subscription by time and packages (amount of space in the cloud).
Which goods can be distributed by subscription? Classic online store – this is the directory where the client chooses the right products, pay for them and waiting for delivery. So he does every time when he wants to buy something.
But there are some products that are bought on a regular basis. For example, socks, razors, guitar strings, animal food and so on. One and the same, in the same amount, with the same periodicity. In this case, the subscription sales model works well.
How it works:
- The customer buys a subscription for a long period: six months, a year – for the right to receive goods with delivery “on schedule”.
- Pays at once for the whole period.
- Gets the goods with delivery to the house with a certain periodicity: once a month, once a week, depends on the goods.
- A subscription product usually costs less than just a product in the catalogue – the seller agrees with the supplier about the reduced price, making a profit on the volume and guaranteed “payment in advance” for a large batch of goods.
- The buyer receives a competitive price and regular deliveries of the goods, which is also needed with a certain periodicity.
There is nothing new in the subscription model itself. We subscribe to newspapers and magazines, TV channels, buy abonnements to fitness clubs and so on. But there become more products that are sold by this model. And this format is beneficial to both the buyer and seller. Buyers get their favourite goods without leaving home. In conditions when employment is continuously growing, it is not surprising that such sales model is gaining popularity.
The figure below shows the ratio of LTV (total revenue from the buyer for his life cycle) to customers by subscription and regular customers (by transactions), a sample of retailers who work with both sales models. The value above the green line indicates that customers subscribing to these companies have a higher LTV rate than regular customers.
Stores that work with an average check value of up to $ 25 have an LTV of 1.78 times higher for subscribers then regular customers. Likewise, more winning positions in stores with an average check of 25-50 and 50-75 dollars. Stores that have an average check above $ 75 have a higher LTV for regular buyers, and not subscription customers.
Which industries are leading in the field of subscription sales? This is “food and drink” and “health”.
It is expected, as in consumer goods, as well as in medicines and cosmetics, buyers have a need with a certain periodicity – the subscription model for these segments is an ideal.
Advantages of the subscription model
- It’s easier to get a higher LTV. In the traditional sales model, the first purchase is just the first step to turn a customer into a permanent one, the store needs to do a lot of work with loyalty, sales, re-sales, remarketing. LTV is difficult to predict and calculate: some buyers are returning, others are not. It is not so easy to determine which type of client is worth the effort, and which is not.
- The subscription model has a much clearer idea of the value of each customer. You just need to calculate the average time that the customer remains subscriber – and you will already know the value of LTV (and therefore you can estimate how much you can afford to spend to get them). What is more important – although the customer pays every month, he must take a decision to buy only once. That is, the load associated with making decisions, when sold by subscription from the client is automatically removed.
- More predictable monthly income and growth. With a higher return rate and a clearer idea of how long a customer will stay with you on average, it becomes easier to forecast monthly earnings. You can know exactly how much you can spend on attracting a new customer to ensure sales growth.
- Simple delivery process. Most stores that operate on a subscription model have only one product, sometimes with several “subscription” levels. These limits the number of parcels that must be collected and delivered per month. The delivery process becomes predictable, transportation costs are easily predictable.
- The choice is minimized. The abundance of options produces a paralyzing effect on customers, the subscription model eliminates this problem.
- Buyers are easily identifiable. Usually buyers of the goods by subscription – some separate segment of the audience, so their behaviour is easier to model, and their desires – easier to guess.
Types of Subscription
There are several basic models.
- Consumables. If you are selling something that requires constant replenishment, subscription will be an excellent way to tie shoppers to your store. Another option for increasing the sales of consumables, also popular on the market, is automatic trigger mailings. The good examples are:
The company Death Wish Coffee, which sells the strongest grain coffee, pursued two goals: scaling the business and finding ways to get customers to return for shopping. Coffee is bought regularly, that is why the subscription model has become an appropriate solution – soon the company reached a 20% increase in revenue due to repeated purchases.
Second case it that with the help of the ReCharge application, the energy drinks producer “5-hour Energy” managed to achieve an excellent result: today 45% of sales are subscription orders from Shopify. A few months after the launch of the subscription, the company reported that the base of their subscribers grew by about 10% each week.
- Surprise in the box. A specific subscription model: a box with individually selected goods in a certain category. According to this model, for example, Birchbox works – they deliver a box every month with perfume probes to the client’s door. Service Cratejoy offers sets of “surprise boxes” of various subjects: gifts for moms, books or even, for example, boxes for fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. The peculiarity of such a subscription: the client receives not just goods with delivery, but also pleasant emotions from intrigue.
- Closed clubs. Subscription is also seen as a way to increase loyalty. Customers with a higher status get exclusive access to products, content and services. The good example is Harvard Business Review that offers you to read 4 articles for free and then ask for paid registration.
- Premium service. There are some customers for whom the price does not play a significant role, while they do not want to wait for their turn of service, delivery and so on. Specially for them, stores sell a premium subscription (Amazon Prime).
- Grace period by subscription. There is another model of subscription work: the customer buys a “grace period” during which he can buy goods on the site at a wholesale price. And pays for storage and delivery. The seller does not profit from the sale of marginal goods, but due to a large flow of customers and the projected life time value.
Such a system has an online food and household goods hypermarket Naturamarket.ca: the store offers subscription products at a reduced price – 25-50% below market prices. This is possible due to large volumes of sales and clearly predictable risks. To stimulate customers to buy more, the store guarantees free delivery when ordering more than $ 75 (as we remember, this is the upper threshold when LTV subscribers are even higher than LTV ordinary buyers).
B2C is a very versatile market. We, as regular consumers, are surrounded by it everywhere. From groceries shop with its primitive marketing that lean on low prices, to complex internet media projects that target specified group of consumers. During my research, I found out that there are plenty of academic information about old-fashioned marketing and sales (4P, SWOT, Active sales), but there is real shortage of academic literature about SMM, IAP, Microtransactions. Most of high quality information sources were an internet pages that are administrated by private marketers or consultants.
B2B abbreviation for business-to-business: describing or involving business arrangements or trade between different businesses, rather than between businesses and the public.
The term “B2B” is often understood as any activity of some companies in providing other manufacturing companies with services, additional equipment, as well as goods intended to produce other goods, goods for professional use, etc. Such a sphere of activities focused on obtaining profit from the provision of services or sale of goods, where “objects” are products or services, and the “subjects” – the organizations, that interact in the market. As a “seller” and “buyer” of services or goods here are the organization and (or) individual entrepreneurs.
The term “B2B” contrasted with the term “FMCG” (Fast moving consumer goods), i.e. business aimed at the end consumer. For example, if negotiations are being conducted with a company that produces goods of daily demand, then this is the sphere of “FMCG”, even though the company is a legal entity.
2.2. The main differences of B2B vs B2C
Most of the products are specific to B2B (e.g., pipes, metal, equipment, engineering services …), but some may fall into both categories. Napkins are typical B2C products on the market, but their wholesale supplies to hotels rather an example of B2B. Therefore, many FCMG companies (e.g., Proctor & Gamble) are operating both in the B2B and B2C markets.
Almost all authors point to the same differences of B2B and B2C:
- Larger volumes of purchases and (in many cases) significantly higher risks of purchases (this is because the products in B2B market are technically complex).
- Accordingly, to reduce these risks, organizations develop procurement rules. So the procurement process (and accordingly sales) are formalized and multistage.
The procurement process at B2B market:
- more complex
- in them take part much more people from both sides
- cause an increase of sale cycle time (in B2B the sales cycle can last from one month to several years)
- characterized by a much closer personal relationship between both sides
- Also, B2B market is more complex due to many other factors, above all, legitimate and conjecture, the impact of which determines state and global markets. A typical example is the situation in Ukraine for grain or oil.
- For the same reason lobbying at various levels of government or large structures is a typical tool for promoting your business in B2B – at least in some areas. One of the most illustrative examples is Gazprom.
- Factor of personal relationships with a narrow circle of Decision Makers also important because the number of B2B customers rarely exceed a few dozen (small-medium) or hundreds (large) businesses.
As for B2B marketing functions, according to the above conditions – rules of doing business and marketing are significantly different from B2C:
- Significantly higher salesman role: that is why personal selling is the most effective way of promoting and selling in B2B. Budgets for salesman maintenance are directly proportional to the budgets for advertising in B2C. The problem of cooperation and coordination between marketing and sales is one of the most important in B2B.
- Accordingly, the role of advertising, branding and other popular ways of promoting in a B2C, in B2B reduced in most cases to zero. There are many examples when even large companies with substantial budgets can fail to create marketing campaigns for branding.
- Tools such as the promotion by seminars, webinars, and other modern methods provided by Web 2.0, are popular in the world of B2B. In CEE they are common. Most marketers that work in B2B is not using content marketing as a way of promotion. However, B2B actively use dedicated events as a way of promotion: organize theme parties and trips for directors and clients (with appropriate “cultural” programs), seminars – these events are popular and effective. To some extent, this imbalance in mass marketing is explained as total slowness of B2B Marketing in comparison to B2C. But the key role is played by the role and importance of personal relationships in B2B. That is because seminars, parties and other event are the abilities to communicate. This is a real opportunity to solve tough questions, because quite often due to busy schedule that directors have – the communications are often being delayed and take a lot of time.
- That is why relationship marketing is significantly more effective strategic approach to B2B marketing than the marketing mix, that is widely used in B2C. Note that we are not talking about CRM-systems, that in the most cases have the practical applications in the relationship marketing, and share the set of values, rules and policies integrated into the work of commercial marketing units and other business units.
The key features of B2B (business-to-business), in contrast to B2C (business-to-customer, “business for the consumer”), are that buyer choice is mainly based on rational considerations, and the decision to order is made not by an individual, but by a team of specialists, often called the “procurement centre”.
The main differences between the B2B and B2C market that were mentioned before:
- The decision to purchase is often taken collectively,
- A preliminary study of prices and suppliers,
- Often conducted competitive bidding,
- In almost all cases there are negotiations
- and many others.
In the B2B area, due to the availability of many specialized professional publications, and especially thanks to the development of the Internet, customers are well informed about the product or service, basic characteristics and additional capabilities. In these conditions, the role of the image (reputation) of the company, information in publications of specialized press and reviews of other corporate customers will increase. It is not a secret that many industrial consumers in the period preceding the large purchase of durable goods, conduct a kind of industrial exploration (the so-called marketing of suppliers).
2.3.1. Project Management commitment to B2B marketing
In B2B marketing to contrast with B2C, Project Managers have the back-office role, right as in B2C sales. However, there are more place for essentials of Project Management. The process of advertisement of the product can be divided into two groups: Advertisement for a selected client or advertisement to make market acknowledge with latest solutions.
For the first type of advertisement, PMs are playing support role by doing such kind of activities:
- Goals definition
- Priorities definition
- Human resources managing
- Metrics measurement
While for the second, the PMs are getting full area of activities to manage.
- Goal definition
- Operations management
- Human resources management
- Project budget management
That happens because market acknowledgement is a project. Sometimes small one (local market), sometimes big one (entering foreign markets).
2.3.1. Main features
B2B marketing is very complex, but it consists of many small and simple points. However, it is especially important to pay attention to all of them and ensure their existence.
As example, such a classic persuasion factor as a unique trade proposition – the USP (unique selling proposition). For B2B marketing, it is extremely important that the concept of the USP is carefully prepared. USP can be, for example, the production of medicines from domestic raw materials by a patented technology, in which the prime cost is several tens of times lower than the world average. In this case, of course, it is important not to lose sight of the appropriate protection of intellectual property. In such cases, other factors of marketing impact may be more poorly worked out, but the advantage of a unique worldwide method will clearly prevail.
For B2B products and services (for example, information technologies), such a UTS (unique technical solution) can be the availability of a competence centre in a certain direction, the possibility of testing unique equipment, conducting an objective examination, in the process of which objective data are automatically recorded.
For the decision of the corporate client is characterized by an increased level of exactingness to the availability of technical justification. Especially effective is the technical justification, supported by objective calculations, measurements, instrumental expertise, automatically recorded test protocols and other objective data. In the field of information technologies, such objective examinations are conducted in the Competence Centres in the relevant areas, which is already common for large foreign enterprises.
Experts constantly conduct free seminars on latest technologies and solutions and, in close cooperation with the Training Centre, are themselves instructors of technical courses. The main task of the Competence Centre is to provide qualitative expertise of a wide range of solutions in the field of information technologies, including methodological and practical support of IT projects. Within the framework of the Competence Centre, it is possible to simulate the customer’s tasks and test software and hardware complexes of varying complexity. Thus, the customer can choose the best solution based on the results of an objective examination.
Other feature is an importance of the reputation. In the B2B, the positive image of the organization and the credibility of the supplier organization, according to various sources, are mainly formed based on the following components (the abbreviated version is given):
- Quality of activity.
- Financial position of the firm.
- Technological improvements.
- Image of the head and staff (team).
- Fame (the same point can be attributed to the availability of reviews).
- The cost of goods or services.
- History of organization, traditions.
- Features of business communications, etc
As we can see the reputation of the firm and its services becomes more significant than in B2C for comparison, the responses of those who are best informed practically and unbiased – that is, real consumers. Almost all potential consumers most of all trust the opinions of consumers who already use this product (service). The more complex the product and the longer the period of its use, the more attention potential customers give to the study of feedback. Here, the time of application “six years of successfully using …” always causes more confidence than “last month we acquired …”, and the level of the person quoted is the head of a large enterprise, an influential person in industry, of course, is preferable to a graduate student, who does not yet have practical experience. For B2B, the reputation of “by word of mouth” is especially important, that circulates among specialists.
It is common for the B2B marketing area that special attention should be paid to the thoroughness of the company’s image development in general in all corporate materials, such as reports, prospectuses, etc. Each marketing element trust trusted executors or those who confirm experience in this area. It is desirable to have real recommendations, real samples of the executed works (projects). Where an individual decides to purchase, small deficiencies in promotional materials can sometimes escape the attention of this one person. In the case of corporate procurement, the decision is made by the procurement centre, therefore, if the group of responsible persons is repeatedly considered, any error or inaccuracy can have a strong negative impact. The marketing service should check the unity of the image created by the text and graphic part of advertising messages in corporate materials. Since the procurement centre includes representatives of various professional groups (for example, financial director, chief technology officer, head of the IT department, etc.), for some important persons of the procurement centre some of the highly specialized terms may not be known. Therefore, for technically complex products, especially for software, it is necessary to carefully balance the accuracy of specialists’ terminology with the availability of wording of arguments in corporate documents and reports.
As in the case of B2B materials are not simply glimpsed, but carefully studied many times by a whole group of specialists of the purchasing centre, the smallest shortcomings will be noticed, even unconsciously, and can nihilate the efforts of marketers to create a successful image of their firm. Company should be very attentive to all the trivial things, because despite the control of many people, there are still often such inexplicable facts as the mistaking of the company name within the same module.
2.3.1. Modern Consumers
B2B-consumers are ordinary people who experience emotions and have certain needs. This obvious fact is often forgotten by the content marketers of the B2B sector – in addition to the fact that marketing experts do not often analyse the person of the ideal buyer, they prefer generate content for business, not for alive people.
During deal making process, sales representatives in the B2B market are guided by the same principles as the audience of the B2C-sector, therefore the content for converting the first(B2B) should correspond to the two basics, but important criteria: to present value to the target audience and inform about the benefits of the offer.
Criteria of effectiveness of the content marketing in the B2B-sector is much higher than expected, but when you consider that today’s consumers are much more demanding, then the problem that arises is not an easy task.
To understand the nature of B2B consumers and thereby ensure the effectiveness of lead generation with the help of content in the future, I used the Forrester Consulting research (consulting firm in the field of marketing) and summary based on its results.
Forrester Consulting interviewed 1,500 employees of companies with a staff of 500 employees who are representatives of the B2B market:
- 85% of B2B-buyers, starting with ordinary employees, ending with vice-presidents, make purchases during working hours.
- 25% of final buyers make transactions on consumer resources.
- 52% of respondents purchased a product related to online business for a period of more than 6 years.
- 64% of respondents make deals without preliminary approval by the procurement department at least once a month.
Respondents were asked to assess how their buying behaviour changed over the past 18 months (the survey was conducted in August 2014):
Number of online purchases related to work
- Increased – that’s what 55% of company employees think.
- Decreased – 3%.
Average value of transactions
- Increased – 44%.
- Decreased – 4%.
These statistics shows that the frequency and value of purchases made by the target market of the B2B industry are increasing.
B2B-consumers, as well as representatives of the B2C-market, use various devices for search and purchase from off-sites:
- 90% of final customers feel confident using laptops/PCs in the process of purchase
- 69% – tablets
- 51% – smartphones.
Below are the results of the IDG research (research organization) that indicate the purposes for which B2B-customers using mobile devices:
Summarizing the above information: the landscape of the B2B market has changed (and continues to change). From that follows: to win a competitive position in niche in the future, B2B companies must provide customers with a high-quality product/service, backed by valuable content and high-quality customer service.
Next question to be researched “Will B2B consumer look for an offer?”
The answer to this question may seem obvious regarding to previous topics in thesis, but the results of the study indicate the opposite:
35% of B2B customers are looking for offers in search engines
Looking for what is necessary with the help of a search engine is entirely logical, but the important question is why 65% of buyers do not do this? The answer is simple: they start to look for information on their well-known resources, which they trust.
27% of buyers start looking for off-sites on the corporate website
This means that by gaining loyalty, social media and word-of-mouth marketing, B2B marketers attract a quarter of the leads without financial costs.
18% start a search on consumer resources
Surprisingly, almost 1 in 5 B2B-buyers immediately goes to a resource known to him as a consumer.
Because a modern B2B buyer thinks like an ordinary consumer, his decision to buy is based on the criteria that guide the B2C audience.
35% of B2B users prefer to interact with a brand that they know and trust
To win the loyalty of the whole company, you should satisfy its individual employees.
28% of buyers are looking for the lowest price
This shows how the ability to make transactions online affects the nature of shopping. Moreover, do not forget that B2B buyers are also prone to price sensitivity – ignoring this fact can adversely affect the competitiveness of the offer.
Also, it should be noted that optimization of the price policy helps to strengthen relations with current customers.
28% of B2B customers want technical information
Providing valuable information to consumers through content marketing will increase customer loyalty and the attractiveness of the offer.
27% of customers want to get a quick support service
The time of B2B consumers it is their money. In addition to providing customers with quality technical support, they want to receive the opportunity to contact company representatives on social networks – 54% of end customers are loyal to businesses that provide a positive experience of interaction.
27% of B2B-buyers consider valuable information about additional costs
Obviously, the B2B audience wants to know the full cost of the offer, since the additional costs are critically important for the calculation of many indicators related to the activities of the enterprise.
Other very important thing is what type of business content is most valuable for consumer?
Accordingly to the Forrester research, the utility of content looks like that:
Technical brochures and manuals (61% of B2B-buyers are interested in them)
Since the demand for this type of content is the highest, company can provide it in a simple White Paper for assimilation and distribution.
The manuals for using the solution(product) are giving excellent value to the customers, since it helps in achieving the best results.
Classical format of training content, helping to quickly master the product.
Traditional type of material for content marketing in B2B. To make reports attractive to a wide audience, it should be done in the format of e-books or presentations.
An online seminar is a cheap alternative to an individual presentation of a sales proposal.
Infographics is a more attractive version of the report, in which training manuals or valuable statistical data are presented.
Social networks (25%)
Some B2B consumers turn to their colleagues in social media to make a final decision about the transaction.
Mobile services (22%)
Since mobile devices are used for shopping on the go, B2B consumers, whose working days are mostly spent at the computer, rarely use a smartphone / tablet to search for and purchase off-boards.
Business events (21%)
The limited number of people willingness to attend business events is present due to the two reasons: first, webinars replace live presentations and seminars, and secondly – lead generation through meetings and presentations has lost its effectiveness.
In addition to the content types described above, B2B consumers also expect to receive the following information:
- Price – the display of value is important for 73% of consumers.
- Technical information – 64%.
- The cost of shipping is 53%.
- Information about the presence of the product – 49%.
- Exclusive offers and discounts – 48%.
- 3D image of the product – 46%.
- Term of delivery – 44%.
- Recommendations of relevant proposals – 37%.
- Demonstration videos of the product – 30%.
A modern B2B consumer is an experienced and advanced buyer who knows exactly what he needs to decide about a deal.
Competitive pricing policy, high-quality customer service, and, finally, high product quality, valuable content are the keys to high conversion and retention rates for customers this year and for the foreseeable future.
2.3.1 Web-Marketing Effectiveness (Case study)
The exact time when consumers will feel an urgent need to buy product / service cannot be predicted. However, there are periods of time when any person is very receptive to what psychologist’s call “selective attraction” – this is a state of mind in which he is open to receiving messages and actively responding to them.
Web marketers instinctively realize that they cannot accurately determine when a potential customer will respond to offer and will be willing to make a direct purchase, become a lead, etc. That is why it is important not only to maintain a constant connection with the target audience, but Present proposal in all “right places” where potential customers will see it.
The combination of “the right message placed in the right place at the right time” will strengthen inbound marketing strategy, attracting to company side the so-called “factor of foreseen chance” (in management theory this method is called “managed intuition”).
Consider how this approach will work in the development of a web marketing strategy for the B2B area (of course, all that is said will be true for the B2C marketing industry).
Suppose we are promoting a high-tech product during a B2B campaign. In this case, the most effective marketing strategy should include the following 8 elements:
- Communication with the public.
- Evidence of leadership in the niche.
- The web-page.
- Customized landing pages.
- PPC and SEO.
- Social media.
Remember that implementing of such an integrated strategy will require you to closely monitor all notifications of customer actions through the CRM system: from the first contact to sales and subsequent technical support.
Here is an approximate sketch of how to put together 8 ingredients of our inbound marketing strategy.
1. Communication with the public
Before starting a PR campaign, make sure that it is properly targeted: from the outset, the campaign should broadly cover the target audience, targeted at consuming your goods and services. Statistics argue that in search of a potential supplier, 74% of senior executives of large companies and 51% of medium-sized business owners keep track of reports in industry media.
Note that the methods of incoming marketing do not include buying up advertising strips in newspapers and magazines – these are expensive techniques of old, dying, costly outgoing marketing. You should be interested in reports from presentations of your product, reports on press conferences of your representative on public relations, mention of personal awards and awards received by company, the media covering the in your business area, etc.
Not very much can have the same positive impact on the success of the promotion of the product, as the approval of a disinterested person, an outside analyst, and even a reputable expert in the related field of activity. Of course, you should not slide down to falsification of reviews and attempts to bribe experts/clients, but any honestly obtained approval of your product should be mentioned in press releases, landing pages and websites.
3. Evidence of Leadership
So, you and your employees for years of work have accumulated a lot of knowledge and skills that you can offer your customers, all your products are superior to competitors’ counterparts on your head. This is all excellent, but now you face the challenge: how to prove to ordinary consumers (even top managers – they are most likely not experts in everything at once!), Why they should buy your products/services. You will have to work hard to make such a “learning material” easily accessible for understanding of real and potential customers.
Conducted by the media resources of Forbes or other magazines, a survey of top IT managers says that “big people” state your leadership by the following criteria:
- Are you up to date with the latest trends in your industry? (76%)
- Do you provide detailed information about your product / service? (69)
- What does your product look like when compared with competitors’ offers? (50%)
- What is the advantage of your product? What is my profit from this purchase? (42%)
- Are you able to summarize in a concise manner all the “advantages” of your proposal? (33%)
In today’s information world – “content – the king, and multichannel – the queen.” Demonstrate knowledge and skills by creating official guides, electronic textbooks (eBooks), analytical studies, articles about the product you are offering. Then use this material as blog posts, podcasts, as educational videos on the YouTube channel, publish the content in social networking accounts so that customers will get the impression of you as a knowledgeable expert.
Is website optimized to find the right content on it? Is there a mobile version?
Days of slow-loading, over-saturated graphics sites have passed. Users want to receive the information they need “in three clicks”, and from this point of view web-page should be something of a digital dispatcher directing the visitor to the information he needs on the shortest path.
5. Customized landing pages
Much more efficient than surplus sites of companies with unnecessary information, from the point of view of incoming marketing, there are segmented landing pages that are personalized for a specific type of user and traffic channel.
The base of lead generation for the B2B sphere: people hate filling out long forms, so for most cases it will be enough to have such form fields as “name”, “company name”, “e-mail address” and “phone number”.
Target pages should convert segmented streams of incoming traffic, generating leads, and thereby creating long-awaited work for the sales team.
6. PPC and SEO
About 90% of users searching for products and services through Google search engine will never look outside the first page of search results, and 75% of “searchers” will focus their attention only on organic search results (Organic SERP). If the name of company or product does not appear in the results of organic or paid search (PPC), at least on the key queries of your potential customers – your business is bad.
I already mentioned that “search advertising is still a vital part of any web marketing strategy,” but you should not miss the opportunity to improve and rank the main website through SEO, frequent blog updates and regular posting of materials in the leading social media, Such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube.
According to the BlogPulse service report, there are almost 200 million active blogs in the world, and this number continues to grow at an astounding rate. Specialists at the Social Media Examiner claim that 65% of bloggers regularly monitor the actions of their favourite brands on social networks, and more than 72,000,000 businesses regularly update their blog, which has a huge positive impact on their SEO and the creation of external incoming links.
8. Social Media
The main reason why leading world companies got themselves accounts in social networks is to attract traffic to landing pages and websites. YouTube’s video hosting by the number of search requests is second only to the Google search engine, and you can attract some of this huge traffic flow to your site / landing page by simply posting your video (and related links to your web resources) on this hosting.
Placement of content in social media takes very little time, the price of advertising in social networks are relatively small, the potential target audience in social networks, presumably, is huge.
Sales in B2B are old fashioned one. The still most common model “seven steps selling” was mentioned first time in 1920s and consists of those stages:
- Overcoming objections
It was modified a several times in 1976, 1980, 1999, 2008. The main problem that sales in B2B are very personal and simple.
The 2008s model(Ingram) describes that very good, steps are:
- Initiating customer relationships
- Developing customer relationships
- Enhancing customer relationships
Personally, I interpret that as:
- Tell the client about product and its features
- Negotiate its specification and price, sale
- Keep contact with client and develop the products quality
Were mentioned before the main difference in Sales between B2B and B2C, this is decision making power. In case of B2B this is the procurement centre.
The procurement centre usually refers to the array of persons or groups of persons who participate in the procurement decision-making process. Participants in such a procurement centre have several common goals (but they do not always fully coincide) and share the risk responsibility because of the decision. The marketer should take all possible measures to reduce the risks of the purchasing centre.
Each procurement centre has its own hierarchy of supplier-relevant characteristics, ranked in order of importance(example!):
- Availability of technical assistance.
- Prompt delivery.
- Quick response to requests.
- Quality of goods (services).
- Reputation of the supplier.
- The price of the product.
- Completeness of the product range.
- Personnel qualification.
- Possibilities of granting a loan.
- Personal relationships, etc.
2.4.1. Project Management commitment to B2B Sales
Managing a sales opportunity as a project could help to reduce risks and increase the probability of success. If we can accept the definition of project management as applying knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to help achieve a goal; then, to decide if managing a sales opportunity as a project makes sense, we need to understand if a sales pursuit can be classified as a project or not. A sales opportunity is not an ongoing operation – it is temporary. Effectively managing the sales cycle can help reduce the frustration caused by the feeling that there is no end in sight. Even for a longer sales cycle, such as that for a sale of a complex enterprise software solution, there is a definite end: when the deal is either won or lost. A salesperson offering a solution that is differentiated by the product or by associated services, such as support, then that solution is unique.
Sales pursuits that require multiple meetings with key stakeholders and involve the deployment of significant resources to compete for high-value contracts may be managed effectively by using the principles and techniques of project management. Many salespeople do not manage their own budgets and need approval for expenses from their sales manager. Most sales managers come from a sales background and do not have experience with project management. The idea of managing a project for sales may seem to some people like a lot of extra work. Effectively managing the triple constraints of time, scope, and cost can help to reduce risk and increase success rates in the following ways:
- If a salesperson knew exactly when his or her customer was going to decide, he or she could align the sales process with his or her purchasing process and enter a peak performance state when it was time for you to make a final presentation.
- If he or she knew how a solution overlaps with a customer’s business needs, he or she could effectively present the solution based on his or her customer’s decision criteria.
- If he or she knew exactly what was required to demonstrate to the customer that selecting the solution is in his or her best interest, he or she would be efficient and not spend any more than was necessary.
Sales Project Phases
In sales projects, as in all projects, there are two distinct phases:
- The feasibility phase
- The acquisition phase
In the first phase, activities are related to determining if there is an opportunity to help the customer and defining exactly what that opportunity is. In the second phase, the focus shifts to demonstrating how a solution would help the customer to solve his or her problems and achieve the business results he or she wants to see. The distinction between these two phases is critical in determining when to present a solution.
If a salesperson provides too many details about a solution prematurely, the customer may think he or she has enough information to decide against a solution even before he or she has a clear idea of exactly what needs the solution would address. By preparing for a presentation properly, salespeople use time more efficiently and increase the odds that they will win the deal.
- Managing Constraints. The key to successfully managing sales projects is to maintain the focus on quality while managing changes to time, scope, and costs.
- Changes in Time/Schedule. Many salespeople readjust their forecasts without understanding the reasons for date changes; managing the constraint of time means aligning sales activities with the customer’s purchasing cycle.
- Changes in Scope. When the size of a project grows, salespeople need to keep in mind that “bigger is not always better.” They might be imagining what they will buy with a bigger commission check; however, as the scope increases, they need to work harder to confirm what is involved, not just with their customers, but also with potential competitors. Having an agreement on the scope creates focus by ensuring that the required solution is no more than is required and no less than is necessary.
- Changes in Cost. Cost is giving up something in exchange for something else. Often a knee-jerk reaction to handling a customer objection is to provide a discount. Many salespeople make concessions on pricing too early, without a straightforward vision of what needs to be sacrificed to reduce costs and what the potential negative consequences may be. When the objection does not have anything to do with the price, the customer is very likely to continue resisting. Using resources efficiently helps to control the cost of the sale, which can result in savings passed along to the customer.
- Gaining Support. Executive support is the linchpin to successful project management. Because no one wants to expend political capital fighting for a project that is unpopular and not worth the potential investment, executives need to be convinced that backing a purchase is a clever idea.
- Putting it All Together. Almost all salespeople recognize that time is their most precious resource. Many salespeople do not have a strong understanding of the technical details of the products they sell and they may not possess the necessary business acumen to calculate profit margins. They do realize they shouldn’t waste time on deals they cannot close, which would be better spent on other sales
For B2B marketing in general, a complex decision-making process is typical:
- Collective, not individual (procurement centre),
- Based not on personal emotions, but on objective facts and technical characteristics,
- More time-consuming,
- Significantly more powerful reputation.
In B2B the supplier’s reputation factor has a greater role in the decision-making process than everywhere else. For marketers, this means the need for special attention to the availability of feedback, as well as to improving the quality of corporate presentation materials of the company. A significant role in the positive perception of the company the unity of the concept of marketing in all aspects, including negotiating arguments of the team of managers of the firm. Of course, it is necessary to strictly observe copyrights, legislation in the field of advertising, etc., there are no trifles here. Terms and images should be original, but understandable to all participants of the procurement centre.
3. B2B models
This chapter include business models, case studies and summarize all the bachelor thesis
3.1. Classical sales model in the B2B market
The sale of goods and services in the B2B market has its own characteristics. The B2B market works perfectly according to the rules different from the consumer market, which means that the strategy, techniques and sales tools for the B2B market should be different. In this model, I will tell about the results of the interesting research in the field of technologies and methods of sales in the B2B market.
The main reason for the study
A new revolution in methods and techniques of sales is brewing on the B2B market. Over the past 30 years, the basic methods and techniques used in b2b sales have remained virtually unchanged. Sales managers have learned to use the methods of consultative sales in practice to solve problems of clients. But no more.
But the conditions for b2b sales of goods and services have changed. Broad development of the Internet significantly increased competition in all markets and the degree of commercialization of all goods and services. The result: standard tools and b2b sales techniques began to work less efficiently. Against the background of these changes, companies emerged who developed new successful sales technologies and became leaders in their markets.
The objectives and the research participants
The purpose of this study is to study the actions of successful companies, through which they manage to become absolute winners in their industries. The research was attended by companies in such B2B market sectors, in which it is quite difficult to negotiate:
- Highly technological industries
- Consulting and professional services
- Financial services markets
- Industrial goods markets
Because of the study, more than 700 individual B2B transactions were studied. The survey involved companies with a combined annual turnover of $ 3.1 billion.
Features of the study
Most of the b2b sales methods look efficient and work from the point of view of sales managers, but not from the point of view of customers. The reason for this is that most research on the effectiveness of sales methods is focused on interviewing sales staff, recognized leaders and leading experts in sales.
This study looks at the effectiveness of sales from the point of view of customers. This approach allows you to identify the really working techniques and tactics of successful sales, determine the reasons for the effectiveness of leading companies.
The clients of the companies were offered to evaluate the techniques, methods and tactics of the companies-winners and backward players on the following 6 issues:
- What are the winners of the transaction?
- What actions of the company-winners are made by more often lagging companies?
- What should stagnating companies change in their behaviour, so that customers can choose them more often?
- What actions cause satisfaction with the buying process of the buyer?
- What actions cause a repeat purchase or prolong cooperation?
- What actions cause a desire to recommend a company?
Because of the analysis of the responses received, a clear model for the success of attracting and retaining customers in the B2B industry was built.
Evolution of the sales concept
If earlier, to attract attention and convince the client, it was required:
- Clarify the client’s problem
- To diagnose
- Suggest a solution
At the moment, clients are becoming more educated and well-read. Even if they are not completely versed in the subject matter, rest assured: they have already made their own diagnosis. And they want one thing: to tell about their problems, difficulties. Find a competent partner who will help with the resolution of detected problems.
Therefore, a new formula for effective b2b sales is as follows:
- Demonstrate willingness to help
- Listen and understand the need
- Suggest a solution
- Get an opportunity for cooperation
Because of the research, 10 factors were revealed, according to which the activities of winning companies were different from those of backward companies.
|Leadership factor||Description of the Factor|
|Factor 1||Increase my knowledge and competence in the industry: introduce innovative ideas, the latest innovations in the market, growth opportunities|
|Factor 2||Cooperate with me|
|Factor 3||They convince me that together we will achieve the results|
|Factor 4||Can listen and hear me|
|Factor 5||Understand my needs (what I really need)|
|Factor 6||Help me to avoid possible mistakes|
|Factor 7||Develop attractive offers|
|Factor 8||Describe the process of buying or completing a transaction in detail|
|Factor 9||Communicate with me in person|
|Factor 10||The value of cooperation with the company is so high that it exceeds the shortcomings in the work and is not comparable with other offers on the market|
A working model of attracting and retaining customers in B2B markets
The results revealed a three-stage model for attracting and retaining customers in the B2B segment. The developed model can become the basis of the sales system for any b2b company. The model includes 3 stages of development of b2b sales.
Stage one: Build a close relationship with the client
- Starting Point
- Obligatory, but not enough
The first level of interaction with the client. At this stage, two competencies are required:
|Competence No. 1||Correctly draw a link between the needs of the client and the company’s offer. The result of this work is an irresistible offer.|
|Competence No. 2||Demonstrate the ability to listen and understand the needs of the client. Personal contact and attention to specific problems and difficulties of the client.|
Stage two: Convince about the result
- Minimizes the probability of postponing the decision
- Maximizes competitiveness
Winning companies best convince their customers in three areas:
- Demonstrate the return on investment, which proves the need for cooperation
- It is best to convince in the absence of risks or in minimum risks
- They prove that their companies are the best choice of all alternatives
Clients have identified several factors that they believe can significantly reduce the perception of the riskiness of the transaction:
- Respect for the company in the market and within the client organization, positive experience of cooperation
- Availability of experience in the necessary industry for a supplier of goods or services
- Professionalism of the supplier company (perceived + real)
- Reliability of the supplier company
- Detailed and accurate description of the transaction process
- The ability of the supplier company to instill confidence
- Recommendations and tips for preventing possible errors
Stage three: Demonstrate cooperation
- Develops demand
- Increases loyalty
- Become an indispensable criterion of success
The results of the research showed that the winning companies, due to their methods of work, are perceived to be more prompt, proactive, accessible.
At the third level of cooperation with clients, it is necessary to work with the client together to achieve the goal, to demonstrate interest in the success of the client.
Such actions have their advantages:
- This behavior is likely to make the company unique
- Allows you to demonstrate more effort than the client expects. So, he feels himself “in the black.”
- It builds a close relationship and allows you to influence the customer’s opinion in the future, increases trust and simplifies the work.
3.2 Add-on B2B model
This model is very like those that were described in the first part of bachelor thesis about B2C and shows how B2C models could be adapted.
In the Add-on business model, while the core offering is priced competitively, numerous extras drive up the purchase price. In the end, customers pay more than originally anticipated, but benefit from selecting options hat meet their specific needs.
The Add-on pater generally requires a very sophisticated pricing strategy. The core product must be effectively advertised and is often offered at very low rates. Online platforms support this kind of pricing since they allow customers to compare prices. Such hard price competition promotes a winner-take-it-all philosophy.
As described, customers pay a hefty premium for extra features, which may cover anything from additional attributes, accompanying services, product extensions, or even individual customization of the product. It is up to customers to decide whether they want to spend additional money on add-ons or whether they will settle for the initial basic value proposition. This is where they can derive benefit from the Add-on pattern, being free to choose whether they want to customize their product according to their individual preferences or prefer to disregard superfluous extras. Conversely, customers may wind up paying more for the final product than they would have for similar competing products because they choose additional optional features.
When creating a value proposition, businesses generally need to determine which selection of product features will yield the highest marginal utility for the greatest number of customers. Starting with the core functions of the basic product, each customer can then choose his or her preferred add-ons to derive an optimal level of utility from the product.
The Add-on business model is especially well-suited for hard-to-segment markets, where customer preferences often diverge vastly. Simply dividing products into various levels or versions is insufficient and no optimal value proposition can be guaranteed for many customers. Thus, it has become standard in the car industry to offer optional features and extras at a premium in addition to versioning the basic product.
There are two notable examples:
The German manufacturing company and automotive supplier was unable to serve the market in a comprehensive way and was forced to create a new business model for its engine production unit. Because, a central part of each engine is Electronic Control Unit, which is a combination of software and hardware that must be customized for each type of engine and car. Previously, Bosch had sold such hardware and software as a package for car manufacturers. That was suitable for mass production, but not for a custom project like sport cars.
To resolve this problem, Bosch founded a completely new legally separate entity that is called Bosch Engineering. In 1999, it employed just 10 people. The company sells standard product, but offers customization as a separate service. Sometimes large-scale orders are customized by Bosch itself. The decision had a remarkable success and BE grew to over 1800 employees in 2013 and revenue of 300 million of euro per year.
Second example is SAP.
It is German software company that provides ERP and other management solution for business. The company offers its standard product for a reasonable price, but charge huge amount of money for extensions that allows to feel full power of SAP. Such things as Customer Relationship Management, Product Life cycle management are available for an extra charge.
3.3. Guaranteed Availability
The essential aim of the Guaranteed Availability business patter, is to reduce the costs incurred by the breakdown of technical machines or equipment by ensuring almost zero downtime. Its implementation generally involves a Flat Rate contract entitling customers to all the services necessary to guarantee constant product availability. In addition to providing replacement equipment and machines, this generally also involves the provision of repair and maintenance services. Because customers value such steady availability, business typically build up strong long-term relationships with their customers.
In the private economy, the Guaranteed Availability model has gained popularity through fleet management concepts: the planning, administration, and control of fleets of trucks, cars, ships or trains. One of the first companies to provide fleet management was PHH corporation, an American outfit that among other things provides customers with leasing and fleet management services with more than 580000 vehicles based on Guaranteed Availability. PHH Corporation offers to manage a company’s entire fleet of vehicles in such a way that the customer has access to the required number of vehicles always, handling acquisition, finance, maintenance, safety, insurance, security, vehicle tracking, and all logistics and administration associated with the customer company’s fleet. PHH Corporation draws on its huge experience and expertise in fleet management to offer its services at competitive rates, thus boosting its customer base and revenue. Customers are attracted by the ready availability of vehicles and the outsourcing of fleet management to experts in the field. Fleet management has now become an integral part of the business activities of transportation and logistics companies.
A considerable number of companies have adapted the Guaranteed Availability pattern in recent years. IBM, the American producer of hardware, software and infrastructure, is responsible for many IT inventions and business innovations, offering a wide variety of products and services in the field of communications and information technology. The rapid fall in computer pricing in the 1990s put the company in serious financial trouble, and its difficulties peaked in 1992 when the company reported historic US 1.8 billion loss. To ensure the company’s survival, then-CEO, Lou Gerstner, undertook the company’s conversion from a straight product vendor to a solution-oriented service provider. In the PC division that resulted in giving up the old hardware-focused business in favor of Guaranteed Availability solution to the clients, and in fact IBM became responsible for maintaining the infrastructure of banks, businesses and other types of organizations. Such change of approach gave IBM much more flexibility and liquidity, independence within very competitive computer market. Nowadays it is again a high profitable corporation that makes 20% of its profits from hardware sales.
Other good example of Guaranteed Availability pattern is construction service company Hilti(Liechtenstein), ten years ago it launched Hilti Fleet Management scheme for hammer drills. Hilti’s role in fleet management is managing, repairing, maintenance of tools that acquired by customers. In case of tool damaging, Hilti repairs it or replace with other one. For client, this is a very profitable to have possibility to switch damaged tools in a brief period without any problems, that is crucial for construction industry especial where companies have budgets and plans that aren`t very flexible.
MachineryLink is an American company that offers IT and “hard” solutions for rent in the agriculture businesses. Customers rent harvesters and farming equipment and get access to the FarmLink analytics service, this service gives current harvest information about weather, crop conditions, prices on the market and trends. With MachineryLink rental services, customers can spend their capital more efficiently, because harvesting equipment is much cheaper to rent then buy it on its own due to Depreciation and low liquidity. All that information gives us a clear insight why MarchineryLink is a leading harvester provider in USA.
3.4. From Push to Pull
Many entrepreneurs are aware of shift from vendor market to buyer market with following changes in business processes. The “Push to Pull” model focuses on the power of customer, making it central to all decisions within the enterprise, even R&D, production, sales, marketing, logistics and more.
We can imagine the customer who pulls the rope that sets all company processes into motion and shape product. This is an absolute contrast to the push strategy, that use “make-to-stock” approach. If company wants to adapt for Pull strategy, it should have flexible value chain. And in a result inventory costs will fall and unprofitable activities will be eliminated. The most difficult is to shape production processes in an efficient way to produce what customer want as fast as possible and with the lowest costs. A pull strategy can be applied to the other processes of a business, product development processes as example. Engineer-to-order projects and innovations are the ways to satisfy the customer at the earliest phases of development without any third parties. Other example is when customers often asks for a service or a good that isn`t present yet, exploiting of that can be considered as pull strategy again.
The term “Push and Pull” developed in logistics and supply chain management. Toyota is active user of pull strategy in production and logistics. During Second World War, Toyota developed a production system that was a key why company became one of the world biggest car manufacturers. In 1940s Japanese economy had very low domestic demand and massive shortages of resources. The solution was to produce goods as efficiently as possible. The Toyota Production System adapted the Supermarket model to set off demand-driven production, shifting the inventory on demand that resulted in reduction of inventories stocks to the minimum. The decision to introduce the Toyota Production System obliged company to reorganize its all entire value chain in way to reduce waste and costs, but to maintain and maximize the customer focus. Strategies such as just-in-time production, minimizing of cycle times, reducing inventory by applying Kanban, TQM were central to customer-oriented manufacturing. In a result Toyota can react rapidly to change in customer trends and market fluctuations. As far as Toyota produces only what customer order, each production step is initiated one by one the entire process starts just after customer order. In addition, the reduction of inventory costs allows to allocate capital more efficiently.
The Toyotas model with all its instruments and methods was tested with time and was fairly valued by many other manufacturers that adapted it for themselves. As example, Volvo with its Volvo Production System and BMW with production of its models.
3.5. Ingredient Branding
Ingredient Branding is a branding of a product that can be bought just as an ingredient of another product. And ingredient cannot be bought individually. The ingredient is advertised as a notable feature of the final product. The target goal is to make customer see the brand within the brand of the final product. The brand awareness created in such way decrease chance of substitution by other manufacturers and gives bargaining power in dealing with end product producer.
In a concept Ingredient Branding results in a win-win scenario where both component producer and end product producer get the positive attributes, increased desirability by the customer. For the Ingredient Branding principle, it is important for the ingredient to fulfill essential needs and functions of the end product, and be better than competing products on the market. In the other case, it will be extremely difficult to convince customer in advantage of the product over the competitors one.
The Ingredient Branding gain its first popularity about century ago. The first was DuPont de Nemours, an American chemical company that developed polymer polytetrafluoroethylene, that most of us know as Teflon. Teflon gain its popularity as extremely versatile synthetic material that is useful for many industries. The recognition of this material with high quality motivated many companies to include it into their new products to increase their sales. The most known example is frying pan with Teflon coating, frying pan manufacturer benefits from coating that is desired by customers and DuPont benefits without need to produce those frying pans.
Other good example is American semiconductor producer Intel that is another pioneer in Ingredient Branding. The “Intel Inside” campaign was launched in the 1990s with goal to increase brand awareness. PC manufacturers agreed to advertise Intel processors on their PCs in exchange Intel covered part of advertisement costs. Rapidly, Intel independently created number of advertisement campaigns to rise consumer awareness about importance of hardware of PC. Such step increased Intel sales, PC sales and Intel became the world leader in the market of semiconductors. More than 20 years since Intel launched their campaign, the Interbrand rates Intel as one of the world’s ten most valuable brands.
Let’s sum up everything from 56 pages. The best way to do that from my perspective is to briefly answer all questions from introduction.
- What are common marketing and sales frameworks? – There are plenty of them, but the classical are: 4P, SWOT. Also, the 4C and 3C frameworks are present, but to cover all of them (7P, 4E, 6P and many more) the other bachelor thesis is needed.
- What are the trends in B2C? – Absolute digitalization of everything. SMM and Microtransactions (IAP, Subscriptions) has never been so popular and still grow, become more complex.
- What B2B is? On what does it focuses? – B2B is a business strategy that focuses on trade between the two legal entities
- How b2b strategy affects sales and marketing departments? – Marketing department changes its specificity from product promotion to the brand promotion. However, if it comes to the product promotion, the main criteria’s that content should be detailed and informative (technical information). Sales department should be prepared to simple, but very long sales process during which client will have tons of technical questions.
- What the difference between B2B and B2C? –
- Larger volumes of purchases and (in many cases) significantly higher risks of purchases (this is because the products in B2B market are technically complex).
- Accordingly, to reduce these risks, organizations develop procurement rules. So, the procurement process (and accordingly sales) are formalized and multistage.
- The procurement process at B2B market:
- more complex
- in them take part much more people from both sides
- cause an increase of sale cycle time (in B2B the sales cycle can last from one month to several years)
- characterized by a much closer personal relationship between both sides
- Also, B2B market is more complex due to many other factors, above all, legitimate and conjucture, the impact of which determines state and global markets.
- For the same reason lobbying at various levels of government or large structures is a typical tool for promoting your business in B2B – at least in some areas.
- Factor of personal relationships with a narrow circle of Decision Makers also important because the number of B2B customers rarely exceed a few dozen (small-medium) or hundreds (large) businesses.
- Does E-commerce work for B2B? – Not at all, the WEB 3.0 allows people to look for necessary information, but the buying process is formalised and don`t look like internet shopping.
- Big data analytics application in sales and how it will develop? – the MachineryLink in US use the Big Data for their agriculture equipment, the IoT that is a part of Big Data is applicable to the Pull strategy to effectively use inventory. Future is a positive one, it is developing.
- Successful B2B business model and what they are about? – the answer is the whole part 3.2.-3.5
B2B with all its specifics successfully edits B2C solutions and sometimes discovers them first. The application of those often isn`t that direct one. However, creative people can find solutions that make their companies the world leaders.
List of references
- Chaffey, «E-Business and E-Commerce Management», 2007. P.26
- Lucía Melián‐Alzola, Víctor Padrón‐Robaina, (2006) “Tangibility as a quality factor in electronic commerce b2c”, Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 16 Issue: 3, pp.320-338
- Porter, Michael E. (1980). Competitive Strategy. Free Press. Chapter: General Analytical Techniques
- Joshua Yindenaba Abor “Entrepreneurial Finance for MSMEs: A Managerial Approach for Developing Markets” Springter 2016, P.55
- Dave Chaffey,Fiona Ellis-Chadwick,Richard Mayer,Kevin Johnston “Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice” Pearson Education, 2009. P.17-19
- Paul Fifield “Marketing Strategy” 2012, Routledge. Chapter: XVIII
- Rohit Deshpande “Developing a Market Orientation” 1999, SAGE Publications. P. 7-44
- Douglas West,John Ford,Essam Ibrahim “Strategic Marketing: Creating Competitive Advantage” 2015, Oxford University Press. P. 126-135
- Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach by E. Jerome McCarthy 1960
- Kotler, P., Marketing Management 2009, P.421
- Kenichi Ohmae, The Mind Of The Strategist: The Art of Japanese Business, McGraw-Hill, 1991 P.83-88, 93-105, 105-111
- Kotler & Keller„Marketing Management, 14th Edition” Pearson 2012, P.310
- Humphrey, Albert (December 2005). “SWOT Analysis for Management Consulting” (PDF). SRI Alumni Newsletter. SRI International.
- Philip Kotler „Marketing Management” Pearson Education, 2009, P. 101-102
- Martin Mendelsohn “The Guide to Franchising”, Cengage Learning EMEA, 2005 P.206
- Christian Homburg,Heiko Schäfer,Janna Schneider “Sales Excellence: Systematic Sales Management” Springer Science & Business Media 2012 P.46-48
- Ray Wrigh “Business-to-business Marketing: A Step-by-step Guide” Pearson Education, 2004, p. 2
- Peter Cheverton “Understanding Brands” Kogan Page, 2006. P.43
- Oliver Gassmann, Karolin Frankenberger, Michaela Csik “The Business Model Navigator: 55 Models That Will Revolutionise Your Business” Pearson UK, 2014 P. 176
- Philip Kotler,Waldemar Pfoertsch “Ingredient Branding: Making the Invisible Visible”, Springer-Verlag 2010 P.2-3
- International Scientific Publications: Economy & Business, January 2016 p. 94-102
- Lucía Melián‐Alzola, Víctor Padrón‐Robaina, (2006) “Tangibility as a quality factor in electronic commerce b2c”, Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 16 Issue: 3, pp.320-338
- Michael John Valos, Fatemeh Haji Habibi, Riza Casidy, Carl Barrie Driesener, Vanya Louise Maplestone, (2016) “Exploring the integration of social media within integrated marketing communication frameworks: Perspectives of services marketers”, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 34 Issue: 1, pp.19-40, doi: 10.1108/MIP-09-2014-0169
- Rick Ferguson, (2008) “Word of mouth and viral marketing: taking the temperature of the hottest trends in marketing”, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 25 Issue: 3, pp.179-182, doi: 10.1108/07363760810870671
- M.L. Emiliani, (2006) “Executive decision‐making traps and B2B online reverse auctions”, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 11 Issue: 1, pp.6-9, doi: 10.1108/13598540610642411
- Moncrief, W.C. and Marshall, G.W. (2005), “The evolution of the seven steps of selling”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 34, pp. 13-22.
- Lars‐Johan Åge, (2011) “Business manoeuvring: a model of B2B selling processes”, Management Decision, Vol. 49 Issue: 9, pp.1574-1591, doi: 10.1108/00251741111173998
- C.M. Sashi, Vaman S. Kudpi, (2001) “Market selection and procurement decisions in B2B markets”, Management Decision,Vol. 39 Issue: 3, pp.190-196, doi: 10.1108/EUM0000000005450
- John Kevin Ashton, (2016) “Add-on goods, contingent services and product bundling: How behavioural economics has affected the regulation of overdraft and payment protection insurance markets”, Review of Behavioral Finance, Vol. 8 Issue: 2, pp.94-113, doi: 10.1108/RBF-11-2015-0046
- Thomas Puschmann, Rainer Alt, (2004) “Enterprise application integration systems and architecture – the case of the Robert Bosch Group”, Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 17 Issue: 2, pp.105-116, doi: 10.1108/17410390410518754
- G. Wilshaw, B. Dale, (1990) “Hilti sells total quality”, The TQM Magazine, Vol. 2 Issue: 5, doi: 10.1108/eb059504
- Torbjørn H. Netland, Arild Aspelund, (2013) “Company-specific production systems and competitive advantage: A resource-based view on the Volvo production system”, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 33 Issue: 11/12, pp.1511-1531, doi: 10.1108/IJOPM-07-2010-0171
- Anna Kochan, (2005) “BMW uses even more robots for both flexibility and quality”, Industrial Robot: An International Journal, Vol. 32 Issue: 4, pp.318-320, doi: 10.1108/01439910510600173
- Michael S. McCarthy, Donald G. Norris, (1999) “Improving competitive position using branded ingredients”, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 8 Issue: 4, pp.267-285, doi: 10.1108/10610429910284210
- Rajiv Vaidyanathan, Praveen Aggarwal, (2000) “Strategic brand alliances: implications of ingredient branding for national and private label brands”, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 9 Issue: 4, pp.214-228
- Donald G. Norris, (1993) ““Intel Inside” BRANDING A COMPONENT IN A BUSINESS MARKET”, Journal of Business &Industrial Marketing, Vol. 8 Issue: 1, pp.14-24, doi: 10.1108/08858629310027560
- http://rlauterborn.com/pubs/pdfs/4_Cs.pdf Personal webpage of R. Lauterborn
 D.Chaffey, «E-Business and E-Commerce Management», 2007. P.26
 International Scientific Publications: Economy & Business, January 2016 p. 94-102
 Lucía Melián‐Alzola, Víctor Padrón‐Robaina, (2006) “Tangibility as a quality factor in electronic commerce b2c”, Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 16 Issue: 3, pp.320-338
 Porter, Michael E. (1980). Competitive Strategy. Free Press. Chapter: General Analytical Techniques
 Joshua Yindenaba Abor “Entrepreneurial Finance for MSMEs: A Managerial Approach for Developing Markets” Springter 2016, P.55
 Dave Chaffey,Fiona Ellis-Chadwick,Richard Mayer,Kevin Johnston “Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice” Pearson Education, 2009. P.17-19
 Paul Fifield “Marketing Strategy” 2012, Routledge. Chapter: XVIII
 Rohit Deshpande “Developing a Market Orientation” 1999, SAGE Publications. P. 7-44
 Douglas West,John Ford,Essam Ibrahim “Strategic Marketing: Creating Competitive Advantage” 2015, Oxford University Press. P. 126-135
 Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach by E. Jerome McCarthy 1960
 Kotler, P., Marketing Management 2009, P.421
 http://rlauterborn.com/pubs/pdfs/4_Cs.pdf Personal webpage of R. Lauterborn
 Kenichi Ohmae, The Mind Of The Strategist: The Art of Japanese Business, McGraw-Hill, 1991 P.83-88, 93-105, 105-111
 Kotler & Keller„Marketing Management, 14th Edition” Pearson 2012, P.310
 Humphrey, Albert (December 2005). “SWOT Analysis for Management Consulting” (PDF). SRI Alumni Newsletter. SRI International.
 Philip Kotler „Marketing Management” Pearson Education, 2009, P. 101-102
 Michael John Valos, Fatemeh Haji Habibi, Riza Casidy, Carl Barrie Driesener, Vanya Louise Maplestone, (2016) “Exploring the integration of social media within integrated marketing communication frameworks: Perspectives of services marketers”, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 34 Issue: 1, pp.19-40, doi: 10.1108/MIP-09-2014-0169
 Rick Ferguson, (2008) “Word of mouth and viral marketing: taking the temperature of the hottest trends in marketing”, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 25 Issue: 3, pp.179-182, doi: 10.1108/07363760810870671
 Martin Mendelsohn “The Guide to Franchising”, Cengage Learning EMEA, 2005 P.206
 Christian Homburg,Heiko Schäfer,Janna Schneider “Sales Excellence: Systematic Sales Management” Springer Science & Business Media 2012 P.46-48
 Picture source: http://www.pocketgamer.biz/monetizer/57703/monetizer-special-comparing-three-f2p-games-with-7-band-iap-economies/
 Ray Wrigh «Business-to-business Marketing: A Step-by-step Guide» Pearson Education, 2004, p. 2
 Peter Cheverton «Understanding Brands» Kogan Page, 2006. P.43
 M.L. Emiliani, (2006) “Executive decision‐making traps and B2B online reverse auctions”, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 11 Issue: 1, pp.6-9, doi: 10.1108/13598540610642411
 Moncrief, W.C. and Marshall, G.W. (2005), “The evolution of the seven steps of selling”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 34, pp. 13-22.
 Lars‐Johan Åge, (2011) “Business manoeuvring: a model of B2B selling processes”, Management Decision, Vol. 49 Issue: 9, pp.1574-1591, doi: 10.1108/00251741111173998
 C.M. Sashi, Vaman S. Kudpi, (2001) “Market selection and procurement decisions in B2B markets”, Management Decision,Vol. 39 Issue: 3, pp.190-196, doi: 10.1108/EUM0000000005450
 John Kevin Ashton, (2016) “Add-on goods, contingent services and product bundling: How behavioural economics has affected the regulation of overdraft and payment protection insurance markets”, Review of Behavioral Finance, Vol. 8 Issue: 2, pp.94-113, doi: 10.1108/RBF-11-2015-0046
 Thomas Puschmann, Rainer Alt, (2004) “Enterprise application integration systems and architecture – the case of the Robert Bosch Group”, Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 17 Issue: 2, pp.105-116, doi: 10.1108/17410390410518754
 Oliver Gassmann, Karolin Frankenberger, Michaela Csik “The Business Model Navigator: 55 Models That Will Revolutionise Your Business” Pearson UK, 2014 P. 176
 G. Wilshaw, B. Dale, (1990) “Hilti sells total quality”, The TQM Magazine, Vol. 2 Issue: 5, doi: 10.1108/eb059504
 Denis R. Towill, (2010) “Industrial engineering the Toyota Production System”, Journal of Management History, Vol. 16 Issue: 3, pp.327-345, doi: 10.1108/17511341011051234
 Torbjørn H. Netland, Arild Aspelund, (2013) “Company-specific production systems and competitive advantage: A resource-based view on the Volvo production system”, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 33 Issue: 11/12, pp.1511-1531, doi: 10.1108/IJOPM-07-2010-0171
 Anna Kochan, (2005) “BMW uses even more robots for both flexibility and quality”, Industrial Robot: An International Journal, Vol. 32 Issue: 4, pp.318-320, doi: 10.1108/01439910510600173
 Philip Kotler,Waldemar Pfoertsch “Ingredient Branding: Making the Invisible Visible”, Springer-Verlag 2010 P.2-3
 Michael S. McCarthy, Donald G. Norris, (1999) “Improving competitive position using branded ingredients”, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 8 Issue: 4, pp.267-285, doi: 10.1108/10610429910284210
 Rajiv Vaidyanathan, Praveen Aggarwal, (2000) “Strategic brand alliances: implications of ingredient branding for national and private label brands”, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 9 Issue: 4, pp.214-228,
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