The marketing mix in B2B markets

A marketing mix includes multiple areas of focus as part of a comprehensive marketing plan. The term often refers to a common classification that began as the four Ps: product, price, placement, and promotion. Effective marketing touches on a broad range of areas as opposed to fixating on one message.

Again remembering that there are several different types of B2B market, and again with the caveat that even within each of these markets the marketing mix will differ even between companies in the same category of B2B market, the following represent some of the considerations and differences in applying the marketing mix in B2B markets compared to B2C.

In short, marketing mix involves decisions regarding products to the made available, the price to be charged for the same, and the incentive to be provided to the consumers in the markets where products would be made available for sale. These decisions are taken keeping in view the influence of marketing forces outside the organization (e.g., consumer behaviour, competitors’ strategy and government policy).


Product: in B2B markets buyers frequently choose on technical product specifications. Products are often customised to individual customer requirements, with quality assurance, and product after-sales and technical services being of particular importance. The reliability of the product, together with the degree of back-up service being offered are crucial elements of the marketing mix in B2B markets.

Promotion: in terms of the promotional element of the mix in B2B markets, much more emphasis is likely to be placed on personal selling as opposed to the advertising element, something we shall return to in more detail in later chapters. As in consumer markets, however, sales promotion is used extensively in B2B markets and especially when marketing to distributors/intermediaries. Publicity is also a valuable promotional tool in B2B marketing, especially when launching new products. Finally, direct marketing can be a very effective promotional tool in B2B markets as mailing lists tend to be more accurate and the message can be tailored more closely to individual customer needs.

Price: although price is a major factor in B2B markets, it would be a mistake to assume that all B2B customers buy only on price. They do not. In fact, as in consumer markets, it is overall value that counts. However, price is always going to be a key factor in the marketing mix in B2B markets. Prices are much more likely to be negotiated in the B2B market and we may get different processes for pricing and particularly quoting prices, such as tendering.

Place: with regard to place in B2B markets, although intermediaries are used, distribution is often direct. The logistics aspects of distribution are particularly important in B2B markets as speed and, above all, reliability of delivery are vital. This emphasis on reliability of delivery has increased in recent years with the introduction of just-in-time (JIT) and flexible manufacturing systems in purchasing and production.

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