Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing is fundamental in how successful a business is by concerning itself with the marketing of goods and services to customers. The nature of the customer, which is another organisation, is the key distinguishing feature between B2B and business-to-consumer (B2C). What should B2B marketing strive to achieve? In its most simple state B2B marketing should do, at the very least, two things. It should reduce the costs of doing business and enhance the relationship between trading companies by being more reliable, more accurate and more adaptable through the exchange of information. In trying to achieve these minimum requirements, if not more, B2B marketers face a variety of problems, these being the ability of identifying the customer, understanding the customer’s needs and creating value for the customer. In order to eliminate these problems four important concepts of B2B marketing can help the marketer. These are identifying customer value, segmentation, establishing and maintaining relationships within a network and the dimension of business ethics. The importance of these concepts can be divided into two main aspects. Firstly, we have the fundamentals of B2B marketing which are customer value and relationships, without these closely intertwined aspects there is no business as a company lacks, in simple terms, associations with customers and suppliers. Secondly, the strategy of an organisation is crucial and includes the implementation of the correct segmentation process, which means finding and serving the correct market. Responsible business ethics are also important because business partners set great value upon it. Together these concepts should explain and find a solution for the problem statement: Wavin needs to keep in close contact, not only with distributors, but also with end users and professionals with referencing power in order to create close relationships, which in return increase sales and help innovation.
Identifying customer value
The definition of customer value by Zeithaml (1998): “Perceived value is the consumer’s overall assessment of the utility of a product based on perceptions of what is received and what is given.” The exact value a customer might seek can either be low price, the quality one gets for the price, the fulfilment of everything one wants in a product or what one gets for what one gives. The fundamental view value portrays is a trade-off between the sacrifice to be made and the benefits that can be gained. Segmentation
A company must view a heterogeneous market as a number of small homogeneous markets with differing preferences. This marketing technique targets a group of customers with specific characteristics and then applies a differentiated, undifferentiated or niche strategy. Relationships and the position within a network
Relationships in B2B are of core importance for organisations to enhance their own ability, reduce uncertainties and be more competitive in the marketplace. The parties within a B2B relationship interact with each other. There are different degrees of interaction dependent on the importance. Naturally one assumes interactions to take place because of the nature of the product/service offering and financial exchanges between two companies. Relationships also consist of information exchange on technical details. Not to be forgotten is the social dimension marketers need to maintain in order to evoke trust. Business ethics
Creating new and building on existing relationships requires ethical behaviour. In a business sense, ethics concern themselves with corporate social responsibility such as the responsibility of satisfying stakeholder needs and sustainable behaviour regarding the environment.
The following analysis of Wavin, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of plastic pipe systems and...