A Brief Guide to B2B Marketing, Part 1: What is B2B Marketing?

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This is the first in AIMCLEAR‘s 3-part series covering B2B Marketing. We’ll conclude the series by wrapping up all the information and resources into a complete guide that will be available for download. 

Developing an effective marketing strategy is no small ask for any small/solo in-house marketer, consultants or full marketing teams, and business-to-business (B2B) marketing is no exception. Executing a sound strategy requires balancing creative demands, sales and marketing alignment, a clear definition of success metrics, and most importantly, understanding the needs of your audience and how to develop the right assets that speak to those needs. Marketing to businesses vs consumers often requires very different strategies and tactics. By the end of this guide, we hope you’ll gain a strong understanding of the fundamentals of B2B marketing, and which strategies and tactics are right to move your business forward.

Part 1: What is B2B Marketing?

B2B stands for business-to-business marketing, which differs from B2C (business-to-consumer). B2B marketing sells products and/or services directly to other businesses and B2C sells products or services directly to consumers. More specifically, B2B marketing sells their products / services to key decision makers within the target market. A few high-level differences of understanding B2B vs B2C selling:

  • B2B tends to sell with rational, logical language while B2C sells with emotional language
  • With B2B, it is critical to prioritize developing trust through the business relationship; B2C relationship building starts out as transactional
  • Audience targeting in B2B generally focuses on smaller, more niche audiences, and B2C efforts focus on scale and efficiency

Demand Generation vs Lead Generation 

We have often seen & heard these used interchangeably – no good! 

Demand generation is the art of creating genuine public interest. For B2B marketing purposes, we might typically do this for a brand & its associated products or offerings via banner ads, content marketing, pre-roll video etc. Savvy marketers may also look to generate demand for a category of products or an industry as a whole; What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…

At the end of the day, effective demand generation increases the overall potential pool of leads. 


Lead Generation is the art of maximizing leads within a given pool of demand – whether or not you have actively influenced that level of demand. 

Running search campaigns to lead gen forms on landing pages/ad units, gated content & CRO are all marketing activities primarily focused on lead generation. 

Both are essential to effective B2B marketing & it would be a mistake to narrowly focus on only one. 

Throwing a pile of money at an awesome branded awareness campaign with no consideration to conversion rate or funnel optimization will quickly expose the limits of a demand gen-only focus.

Conversely, if you have ever run non-branded search campaigns for your “core” keywords & have observed CPCs & number of competitors increase in the auction year over year while impression volume & Google trends search data flattens, you will have experienced the limits of Lead Gen only marketing. 

Formulating objectives / defining measurement

B2B campaigns without clear objectives are bound to fail. Loose goals often result in communication issues among stakeholders; everyone should generally be able to agree on some measure of success.

In an ideal world, you would have access to your industry’s benchmarks, historical performance data & martech infrastructure that allows you to correlate every marketing dollar to every dollar of revenue & industry benchmarks to drive all marketing decisions. Oftentimes, you just have to set a goal & throw sh*t at the wall in order to calibrate your marketing efforts.

Next up: Part 2 of our 3-part series will take a look at the different B2B channels available to marketers. In the meantime, be sure to reach out to us if AIMCLEAR can help grow your business -  contact us  for a free consultation! 

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