Ultimate B2B Marketing Guide For Singapore SMEs

b2b marketing guide for singapore smes

In the dynamic and competitive market of Singapore, small businesses face unique challenges and opportunities, especially when it comes to Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing. As the economic landscape evolves, these businesses must adapt and innovate to stay ahead. This article delves into the world of B2B marketing, tailored specifically for the burgeoning small business sector in Singapore.

Singapore’s economy is characterised by its vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and diverse industries, making it a fertile ground for small businesses looking to expand their reach in the B2B arena. However, navigating the complexities of B2B marketing requires more than just a basic understanding of business practices; it demands a strategic, informed approach that resonates with other businesses in a meaningful way.

In this comprehensive guide, we explore the nuances of B2B marketing strategies that are particularly effective in the Singaporean context. From leveraging the power of digital marketing to understanding the intricacies of the B2B buyers’ journey, this article is designed to equip Singapore’s small businesses with the tools and insights needed to thrive in a competitive B2B environment. Whether you are looking to refine your existing marketing strategies or are starting from scratch, this guide offers valuable perspectives to help you make informed decisions and forge lasting business relationships in Singapore’s dynamic market.

What is B2B marketing?

B2B marketing is a marketing practice where businesses or organisations market their products or services to other businesses or companies. Individual consumers target companies or organisations to resell, use, or support their work or business relationships.

B2B marketing and business-to-business marketing: B2C and the b2b marketing mix Business-to-business marketing’s key distinction from consumer marketing is that while B2C and consumer marketing focus on the consumer, B2B marketing targets individual consumers, and business-to-business marketing, or B2B marketing, targets businesses.

It also differs from B2C marketing campaigns in the sense that it’s more logical, informational, and straightforward. The reason is that businesses base their decisions on the bottom-line revenue impact.

In other words, it’s all about the returns they’re getting and little about the emotional roller-coaster.

Who Engages in B2B Marketing

B2B marketing is a business-to-business marketing strategy and practice for companies that want to sell to other businesses or companies. The products sold come in many forms: SaaS subscriptions, tools, security solutions, office supplies, raw materials, office supplies, accessories, and so on.

website design banner

An organisation can still fall under the B2C and B2B umbrellas.

A real-world Example of B2B Marketing’

To understand B2B marketing, you have to look beyond the consumer market and into the value chain of business buyers. Everything starts with consumer market to business to consumer to business to business demand, with dozens of products or services required by business buyers in between.

Let’s take a simple example of a shirt. No shirt company is an island. They have to go into business with a series of other businesses before they’re finally able to produce a shirt that you can buy.

First, they have to get cotton or any other fabric that they can weave into the shirt. That makes them a target customer for fabric companies.

get low cost monthly seo packages

It’s a long chain of complexities, starting with the cotton, then going to spinners, weavers, tailors, and distribution before the shirt finally gets to the consumer. All the people or companies involved add value to the previous product, hence the name “the chain of derived demand.”

Businesses buy these products to add value to them and move them down the demand chain through multiple channels until they reach the consumer.

B2B Marketing vs. B2C Marketing

B2B and marketing teams and B2C and both marketing teams and sales teams aren’t the same or a slight variation of each other. But there are two different marketing teams, sales teams, and marketing teams and fields, with different marketing tactics, marketing strategies, and applications.

First, a B2C account-based marketing strategy targets individual consumers and the interests, challenges, and needs of individuals. B2B account-based marketing strategy will target companies who, on the other hand, make purchases on behalf of their organisations or for themselves. So, technically, the organisation is the customer in this account-based marketing strategy.

Examples of B2B marketing:

  • A business that leases co-working space to freelancers and remote teams, like WeWork

  • On-demand order fulfillment, screen printing, and warehousing services, like Printful

  • A software company with a SaaS product, such as lead generation software, or a social media management tool such as Hootsuite

B2C marketing, on the other hand, targets the interests, challenges, or needs of individual consumers, individuals making purchases for themselves. In other words, the individual is the customer of e e-commerce company.

Examples of B2C:

  • An e-commerce company selling a range of household commodities or products

  • Music streaming services such as Spotify

  • A brick-and-mortar store for fashion

The Difference Between B2B Marketing and B2C Marketing

 

engaging the top social media agency in singapore

Here’s a chart comparing the two:

 

B2 Marketing

B2C Marketing

What goals do they have?

B2B customers tend to be more interested in ROI. They’re more interested in making enormous returns for the investments they make

Customers want deals and to be entertained. They want to feel an emotional connection and have fun while at it

What motivates their buying Decision?

B2B customers are motivated by financial incentives and logic.

Customers make their buying decisions based on emotions

What drives them? 

B2B customers want to be educated. They want to learn and understand something. In comes B2B content marketing

Customers still appreciate education. But they’re more about connecting with you

What’s their preferred purchase process?

B2B customers are more direct. They’d rather engage salespeople and account managers directly, with no hoops

Customers don’t like it when you complicate the buying process. They prefer buying directly from you

What’s their purpose for purchasing your products and services?

B2B customers are all about sustainability and long-term contracts. They’re interested in long-term relationships. They’re also more likely to make repeat purchases

B2C customers, on the other hand, aren’t interested in anything long-term. But a solution or product that can sort out their immediate needs

What goals do they have?

B2B customers tend to be more interested in ROI. They’re more interested in making enormous returns for the investments they make

Customers want deals and to be entertained. They want to feel an emotional connection and have fun while at it

What motivates their buying decision?

Financial incentives and logic drive B2B customers.

Customers make their buying decisions based on emotions

What drives them? 

B2B customers want to be educated. They want to learn and understand something. In comes B2B educational content marketing and marketing technology and educational content marketing and marketing technology and marketing content marketing and. marketing

Customers still appreciate education. But they’re more about connecting with you

What’s their preferred purchase process?

B2B customers are more direct. They’d rather engage salespeople and account managers directly, with no hoops

Customers don’t like it when you complicate the buying process. They prefer buying directly from you

What’s their purpose for purchasing your products and services?

B2B customers are all about sustainability and long-term contracts. They’re interested in long-term business relationships too. They’re also more likely to make repeat purchases

B2C customers, on the other hand, aren’t interested in anything long-term. But a solution or product that can sort out their immediate needs

The two might differ, but they do intersect at so many points. Meaning, that a B2B marketer has so much they can learn from a B2C marketer, and vice versa.

B2B Marketing Strategies

get google ranking ad

There’s nothing like a one-size-fits-all B2B marketing strategy. The strategy you choose will always vary depending on your target market, audience and a few other external factors.

ALSO READ
SEM Investment Winning Strategies For Persuading Clients To Allocate Budget

We’ll try to uncover a few of key differences between these different various of marketing strategies and of marketing strategies and of marketing tactics themselves, and the different of marketing strategies and of marketing strategies and tactics and strategies themselves, and the specific target audience you can reach with each one of them.

But before we get to that, we’d like to expose you to the B2B buyer’s journey.

B2B Buyers’ Journey

It’s a five-stage brand-building brand awareness and brand loyalty-building process that begins with personal contact with a customer and the first builds brand awareness next stage building brand loyalty and then the awareness stage builds brand awareness.

Awareness ~> Consideration ~> Decision ~> Purchase ~> Retention ~> Advocacy

Customer Journey Maps

  • Awareness – The Stage where customers become aware of the need for a particular service (Say Electrical Installation, Web Design, SEO, etc.)

  • Consideration – At this Stage, customers would begin to consider and compare between Service providers. It is therefore key to come up with a strong list of considerations that customers would go through before deciding on a service provider.

  • Purchase – Customers would then make a purchase decision at this stage.

  • Retention – At this junction, customers would then decide if they would continually patronise the Service provider’s service or change.

  • Advocacy – A Lot of customers don’t make it to this stage too often, it is at this stage that the customer becomes a referral to you. (You can quickly achieve this stage by incentivising customers who refer)

This is a General User Journey Chart that is easily applicable to many businesses regardless of Industry. Below is a more in-depth User Journey Chart that is designed specifically for B2B.

SME marketing journey chart

Overall, it is important to understand these steps throughout the customer servicing journey to understand which point pain points and awareness stages of customer relationship interaction lead to higher conversions and a longer sales cycle. Therefore, it is highly recommended to perform an internal audit of the consideration stage and pain points of customer relationships and how your potential customers would interact with your Company and the Market.

B2B Email Marketing

Here’s what makes B2B email marketing interesting.

Email marketing is actively used by 93% of marketers.

Email marketing has better engagement, which translates to a longer sales cycle and to more leads and customers.

But unlike B2C email marketing customers who are all about emotions and entertainment, B2B email marketing customers respond best to logic. They’re all about positive ROI.

Essentially, all you’ll be doing is helping them understand how your marketing efforts, brand identity, marketing efforts, brand positioning, marketing funnel, and loyalty business model are likely to help them grow and generate more revenue.

The emails and promotional material you send must resonate with your B2B customers while also focusing on things that matter to them. In this case, B2B customers only care about money, time, and resources.

More Stats on This:

  • Newsletters are standard with B2B companies and used by about 83% of B2B companies.

  • 40% of B2B marketers say newsletters play a central role in their B2B content marketing success.

Best B2B Email Marketing Practises:

Attention-grabbing subject line: Always think of your headline as Netflix trailers. How best can you capture your prospects’ attention? The biggest mistake email marketers make is to treat headlines as an afterthought.

We suggest you spend as much time as you spend on writing the actual email in writing headlines.

  • Only One CTA Per Email: Don’t confuse your subscribers by having more than one CTA. We suggest you stick with only one CTA per email. Try to be straightforward with what you want them to do or what link you want them to click instead of sending them in a link frenzy.

  • Segment Your Emails: Don’t just mass shoot your email to everyone on your list. Instead, try to segment them based on what stage they’re in the sales funnel. Not only will this help you relate with your target audience, but it will also give your email the much-needed personal touch.

  • Use Responsive Email Designs: Your emails will mostly be read on mobile. And any email that fails to load up on mobile correctly is likely to be ignored or deleted almost immediately.

  • It’s Okay to Cold-email: There’s nothing wrong with cold-pitching your B2B prospects. As long as the pitch is right and your products and services are the real deal, there’s a fair chance of it landing.  

B2B Digital Marketing

what is b2b marketing

Whether B2B or B2C, your business needs a solid digital marketing presence.

This includes paid ads, a website, search engine optimisation and other search engine optimization, your social media account-based marketing, channels, social media management tools, marketing campaigns, industry events, social media management tools, and any other digital channel with your prospects.

Here are a few digital and marketing automation marketing strategies and tactics to employ in your B2B marketing strategy:

Define Your Target Audience: That’s where it all begins. You need to define your target audience by creating a buyer persona. The psychographic and demographic information you collect at this point in your digital marketing funnel is to inform your marketing mix and every other digital marketing activity you engage in.

Create Your Website: You need a professional and well-designed website to represent your whole business to business, online. Keep in mind that 80% of potential customers, will want to check out your website before deciding on anything.

Remember: the whole B2b marketing and sales cycle involves a long list of key players (decision-makers, gatekeepers, and other folks). So, you want to make sure your website is easy and straightforward for everyone involved in the decision-making and buying process.

Optimise Your Digital Presence

Your website must be engaging, relevant, informative, and, most importantly, discoverable.

This can only be achieved through on-page, off-page, and technical SEO tactics.

  • On-page SEO includes everything you do to your site to make it discoverable in the search engine result pages. It involves things like page speed, alt-text, meta descriptions, and structured data, among others.

  • Off-page SEO is of the same importance here. It refers to the external links that your site gets from other sites, as well as social sharing.

Run PPC Campaign

PPC campaigns on search engines allow you to reach new customers.

They allow you to place your content on top of search engine pages, where they can be easily found.

Maximise your PPC investment by advertising your brand identity, personality, and company tagline, and your social media channels sold promotion and marketing content more than your specific products and services.

B2B Content Marketing

B2B customers, as we said, tend to be more concerned with expertise, logic, and desire to learn or be educated.

Now, what other marketing automation tool satisfies these priorities better than B2B content and marketing automation?

First, content marketing doesn’t interrupt potential customers’ day-to-day activities with promotional materials. Instead, it’s meant to inform the customer by supplying them with valuable information—precisely what your B2B marketing prospects want from you.

Content marketing works for SEO. First, you have to anticipate what your target audience queries into search engines, using search engines as a content marketing back funnel for SEO (and PPC), help them through search engine optimisation discover your relevant content (or website), and ultimately convert them to customers.

80% of B2B consumers say they prefer to get information via content and no ads.

ALSO READ
How to Make Money Online In Singapore: 23 Easy Ideas

Here’s what a B2B buyer’s journey looks like:

 

Attraction

For B2B

Checklists           

Whitepapers

Industry reports

 

For B2C

Viral Content

Infographics

Blogposts

 

 

 

Consideration

For B2B

Webinars

Case studies

ROI calculators

For B2C

Videos

Buyer Demos

Buyer Guides

 

Conversion

For B2B

Testimonials

For B2C

Reviews

 

B2B Social Media Marketing

Here are some interesting stats for you:

84% of C-suite executives and 75% of B2B customers use these three top social media channels and marketing social media marketing channels to make their buying decisions.

You read it right: social media marketing isn’t just for businesses and consumer markets looking to connect with customers—but also for other businesses, business-to-business, brand positioning, business-to-consumer, and brands looking to connect with other businesses.

However, for B2B marketers, social media marketing is the hardest channel to connect with business customers, especially because it has one of the most prolonged sales cycles and chain of command you’ll ever come across.

Social media is also not where the bulk of your customers convert. But it’s a powerful marketing tool, especially at the beginning of your customers’ buyer’s journey.

Developing a B2B Marketing Strategy in 5 Easy Steps

B2B marketing isn’t exempted from this.

You’ll be competing against a multitude of other B2B marketers, and the only way to beat them and stand tall is by developing a results-driven marketing plan and strategy.

This is not something you can pull out of thin air. Everything has to be thoughtfully planned, executed, and managed.

Here’s a well-thought-out process you can use to develop a solid B2B influencer marketing strategy:

Step 1: Define Your Business Objectives

There’s no strategy without a goal in mind. What do you wish to achieve by the end of it all? What are the key differences in your business objectives? You want to paint a clear picture of where you want the strategy to take you. Lay down a clear framework with specific and measurable goals you can track.

Step 2: Define Your Market

After analysing various industry publications and your industry publications’ promotional material, building brand awareness, building your business internally, and establishing your goals and objectives, it’s time to shift your focus to your target market and target audience. While a B2C marketer will have more general and broader market research and target audiences, B2B markets and target audiences tend to be more concentrated and distinct. They’re a bit narrow, which makes them easy to define and reach.

The best approach would be to create a buyer persona for this based on your contact information, market research done, analysis, and the people you’ve interviewed or interacted with. You have to compile different attributes that you can use to match your prospects and qualify them.

Step 3:  Identifying Your B2B Marketing Channels and Tactics

After gathering enough intel on your next target audiences and audience, the next thing you want to do is determine how to reach them and where. The information and valuable insights you collected from the previous step should guide you in this consideration stage.

But first, here are some of the questions you need to answer about your ideal prospects business model, marketing team, potential buyers, and customers:

  • Where do your B2B customers spend the bulk of their time online?

  • What questions are they querying in search engines?

  • Which social media channel are they most active on?

  • What opportunities are your competitors leaving open, and how do you intend to fill the gap?

  • What industry events are they fond of?

Step 4: Gather all the Resources You’ll Need

Now it’s time to put your marketing plan into action. Keep in mind that each channel has its own best practices.

Most importantly, you want to work on the message that you want to see your marketing team spread, which is typically tied to your desired action.

Your strategy must comprise a creative approach, sophisticated targeting, useful and valuable insights, and most importantly, a compelling CTA.

Step 5: Measure and Improve

B2B marketing is an ongoing process. It’s your job to make sure that everything stays on track, come what may.

You have to track and analyse everything, starting with the best-performing content on your website. Why is it performing?

The same applies to low-performing content.

Why is it so?

Analytics should inform every decision you make about the marketing funnel. At first, there’ll be a lot of guesswork, but the more you gain substantiative data on engagement and conversion across multiple channels, the more you’ll be able to make calculated adjustments to your marketing funnel strategies and moves.

Types of B2B Marketing

With your B2B marketing, marketing campaigns, and influencer marketing, you’re not just limited to one approach or channel. You have options.

That said, here are a few common types of B2B marketing strategies and marketing channels:

  • Blogs: Blogs are a mainstay for almost any content marketing strategy. Blogs are essential for SEO. They drive inbound traffic, thus increasing your online visibility. Blogs can accommodate any content: written copy, infographics, case studies, videos, and so on.

  • Search: Google’s algorithm changes a lot, and so are SEO best practices. It’s a complicated territory to operate in when you come to think about it. But it’s something you’d want to account for. As it turns out, the focus has lately been shifting away from metadata and keywords and more towards searcher intent signals.

  • Social Media: You’re to establish a presence on social media. Speaking of which, you need both paid and organic social media traffic. Social media platforms allow you to engage your prospects where they’re most active. Moreover, B2B buyers find these channels more conducive to researching potential investors.

  • Whitepapers/eBooks: These are standalone assets with valuable information to B2B customers. They’re downloadable documents that can either be gated or ungated.

  • Videos: Videos are the fastest-growing type of content. They work with almost any marketing channel out there (blogs, emails, and social media).

  • Email: Spamming and inbox shock may be a real thorn in the flesh of email marketing. But that’s not to say that email marketing will be going away any time soon. When dealing with an overloaded inbox, you should consider working with LinkedIn In Mail – a perfect email marketing tool for lead generation.

 Conclusion

Small businesses in Singapore looking to excel in B2B marketing must embrace a mindset of continuous learning and adaptation. By understanding the specific needs and behaviors of business clients, leveraging the power of digital and content marketing, and maintaining a focus on building long-term relationships based on trust and value, small businesses can carve out a significant place for themselves in the competitive B2B marketplace.

Remember, the key to successful B2B marketing lies in the ability to align your marketing strategies with the specific context of your industry and the unique landscape of Singapore’s business world. It’s about striking the right balance between innovative digital tactics and the traditional values of business relationships.

In summary, for small businesses in Singapore venturing into the realm of B2B marketing, the path ahead is filled with potential. With the right strategies, a deep understanding of your audience, and a commitment to adapting to the changing market dynamics, your business can not only survive but thrive in the bustling world of B2B commerce. Keep learning, keep evolving, and let your business be a testament to the vibrant spirit of Singapore’s B2B marketplace.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

Share:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media

Technology

Branding

Business

Most viewed Articles

Other Similar Articles