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What is B2B marketing?

Business to business (B2B) marketing is the process of marketing one company’s product, service or SaaS to another. It is often a complicated demographic to market to, as B2B organisations typically purchase products to solve a very specific set of needs.

To achieve success in B2B marketing, campaigns need to be devised, including content in the form of blogs, eBooks, webinars, social media, videos and emails. These campaigns should be aimed at the person or persons in an organisation who hold decision-making power.

The end goal is to create content that targets the right people, informing, educating and delighting them, and thereby bringing them into your company’s sales funnel.

This knowledge hub contains a number of resources that provide information and insights into B2B marketing. Use the links below to navigate around this page.

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What does a successful B2B marketing strategy look like? | How does B2B marketing differ from B2C? | Who conducts B2B marketing? | What is the B2B marketing process? | What are the main B2B marketing activities? | What are the most important B2B marketing metrics? | How important is data in B2B marketing? | What technology can help with B2B marketing? | What is the future of B2B marketing? | What other B2B marketing resources are available? | Smarter, faster marketing with Cognism

B2B Marketing

What does a successful B2B marketing strategy look like?

Cognism's Senior Video Marketer, Emily Liu, explains how you can ace the B2B marketing game - by turning the traditional marketing funnel upside-down! Press ▶️ to watch our video.


How does B2B marketing differ from B2C?

There are a number of key differences between B2B and B2C marketing, from targeting to tone and style. B2B marketing looks at the pain points of companies and offers a solution that's targeted to the decision-makers within them, taking into account their needs and interests.

On the other hand, B2C marketing targets an individual on their needs, interests and challenges. It entices the individual to buy based on desire or a whim, rather than facts or an expected ROI.

So it goes without saying that the same demand generation strategies can't be used for both. The major differences to consider are:

1 - ROI is important

B2B buyers are looking for products and services that offer a return on investment. They're more financially inclined than the B2C buyer, who'd be more interested in a good deal.

2 - Multiple decision-makers

While B2C involves one person choosing to buy, B2B has numerous decision-makers who all have to sign off on the deal. What's more, while the number of potential buyers is large in B2C, B2B has a much smaller pool of interested customers. Therefore, B2B marketing has to be very carefully planned.

3 - Facts and finances play a big role

B2B buyers need to know everything there is to know about a product; for that reason, content needs to be more detailed. Purchasing decisions are often arrived at rationally and collectively. In any B2B organisation, there will be others beyond the decision-makers who influence every decision, such as financial and legal departments. This is the opposite of B2C, where purchases are invested in by only one person and are often emotionally driven.

4 - More time invested in relationships

B2B sales cycles last much longer than B2C; brands have to spend more time building relationships between each other’s companies. This involves a good deal of customer research and lead nurturing. Content also needs to be adapted for every stage of the B2B buying cycle.

5 - Closer attention needed

Not only do B2B marketers need to pay close attention to their prospects, but their products as well. B2B products are constantly being updated with new features. Content plans and campaign strategies need to be reviewed, revised and adapted throughout the year to reflect this.

Who conducts B2B marketing?

B2B marketing has a whole slew of people working behind the scenes to make sure everything goes according to plan, from campaign and content marketers to performance and product marketers. 

Here’s an overview of the 4 major roles in B2B marketing:

  • Campaign marketers - They work with your sales team to plan and execute campaigns that meet your company’s lead generation goals. They launch marketing campaigns and constantly measure and optimise them to increase their effectiveness. 
  • Content marketers - These marketers create content to attract quality leads to convert into customers. They plan, create and share content that will be of value to their target audience.
  • Performance marketers - Their focus is on building brand awareness and generating more revenue for a company. They do this by managing digital advertising on platforms such as Google, LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Product marketers - They develop messaging and promotional activities based around a company’s product. A key part of their role is to align the wider marketing and sales strategy to the product team’s annual roadmap.

What is the B2B marketing process?

Basing your marketing strategy on your customers' journey is the most effective way to generate quality leads while improving their overall experience - a bonus, as it creates brand loyalty at the same time! 

Here is a breakdown of Cognism’s marketing process:





Your customer realises they have an area that needs to be improved, so they start scouring the internet for a solution. Strategies such as SEO and paid ads will help you get discovered quickly.

After you've been discovered, your lead is going to want to compare you with your competitors. Remind them of the value you offer and keep your name in their minds with a combination of content and email marketing.

Your customer is about to come to a decision. It's your job to make the choice easy by providing them with highly relevant and informative content, sent at the perfect time. 


Now you’ve got your client, you want to keep them satisfied so they’ll refer you to others. Do this by gathering feedback; use their insights to prioritise future content and product developments.

What are the main B2B marketing activities?

B2B marketing isn’t cut and dry. There are many different disciplines involved, all requiring varied skill sets and attributes.

The most important B2B marketing activities are:

  • Campaign marketing - The planning and execution of marketing campaigns. This is normally conducted via email. Analytics are drawn from the results to measure effectiveness. 
  • Content marketing - The planning and creation of marketing content, on channels such as blogs or social media. B2B content needs to be enticing, informative and of value to your audience.
  • Performance marketing - The management of a company’s digital advertising spend. The major platforms in B2B are Google, LinkedIn and Facebook. The goals are to generate leads and build engagement with a brand.
  • Product marketing - Generating awareness of a B2B product or service and promoting it at scale. It involves the creation of content such as customer case studies, webinars and sales collateral.

What are the most important B2B marketing metrics?

If you want to revolutionise the way you do B2B marketing, you’ll need metrics. Tracking your metrics helps you measure your performance and become a better, data driven marketer.

You can measure everything from email open, read and success rates to your followers and engagement on social media.

Some of the most important metrics to track are:

  • Email - read rates, open rates and success rates.
  • Social - followers, shares, likes and engagement.
  • Paid search - impressions, ad position, cost per impression and click rate.
  • Website and content - content downloads, page views, conversion rates, ROI and leads generated.

We asked our marketing team for a list of their must-track marketing metrics. Then, we collected them together in an easy-to-digest infographic. Click the image below to download it!


How important is data in B2B marketing?

B2B data helps you connect with your customers on a much deeper level - especially when it comes to marketing. 

Not only does it ensure that you reach the right people and gain the right B2B leads, high-quality contact data can help you drive marketing decisions and track how effective each stage of your buyers' journey is. 

By knowing your clients intent, you essentially know what they want and how to market it to them before they even realise they need it! It also helps you remove content or parts of your strategy that won't work for that specific customer, making their experience with you feel more personalised and better connected.

What technology can help with B2B marketing?

B2B marketing solutions have only gotten smarter and more efficient over the years. They help you save time on tasks that used to take hours and hours to do. 

We’ve curated a list of the very best martech tools available right now, applicable to every stage of the marketing funnel.

Click to see the ultimate B2B marketing tech stack.

What is the future of B2B marketing?

B2B marketing is always evolving - from direct mail and trade catalogue ''industrial marketing”, as it was called in 1929, to the launch of smart data, search and social media. New products and innovative technologies are revolutionising the way we do business. 

The coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated trends such as remote working, events going virtual and the wider application of video content. These evolutions will require marketers to become more agile and react more quickly to a changing world and industry. This will make tracking data more important than ever.

What other B2B marketing resources are available?

Cognism has published several unmissable eBooks for B2B marketing leaders. You can download them here:

Data driven marketing: the path to predictable growth

Our latest and greatest eBook. 97 pages of B2B marketing knowledge, covering everything from building a high-performing team to developing your tech stack.

Data Driven Marketing eBook
The No Fluff Guide to Inbound Marketing

An exhaustive guide to B2B marketing, including world-class advice and guidance from frontline, expert B2B marketers.


Demand Generation: How to create demand that drives growth

Covering a range of tactics from growth hacking to content marketing, plus the scaling strategies used by top B2B marketing teams.


And, if they’re not awesome enough, we publish great content daily on the Cognism blog - be sure to add it to your bookmarks.

Smarter, faster marketing with Cognism

Cognism is the world’s best sales intelligence solution.

Trusted by 700+ B2B sales and marketing teams worldwide, Cognism can help you identify best-fit prospects, launch smarter campaigns and boost conversion rates - all from within one single, user-friendly interface, powered by globally-compliant data.

Better data equals better marketing. Want to know more? Click 👇 to book your free demo.

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