Business-to-business advertising is where your business uses advertising to attract custom from other businesses rather the general public.

Picking the right media

Unlike advertising to the general public the choice of media for a B2B campaign is limited. You need to select trade magazines and newspapers that talk to decision-makers in companies. This means devising a very targeted campaign using your specialist knowledge of your customers.

Expensive radio and television advertisements that talk to a broad spectrum of people are unlikely to be very useful. Instead, stick to specialist magazines, local newspapers or the broadsheet newspapers that have a large number of company decision-makers among their readers.

Target market – Ask yourself some questions to determine your target market:

  • Who are you trying to reach through advertising?
  • Who normally buys from you or is likely to buy from you?
  • Who in a company usually places the orders? (e.g. the office manager or the finance director?)
  • What types of businesses are likely to buy from you? (e.g. do you normally sell to high-tech companies?)

Customer satisfaction surveys or market research information can help you to evaluate your target market more effectively.

Message – Using information from the analysis of your target market, consider what motivates customers to buy from your business. Also use your unique knowledge of your customers to consider their attitudes and values. Use this analysis to devise a message to include in the advertisements that reflects their motivations, attitudes and values.

Goals – Define the aims and objectives of your advertising campaign and set goals. Make sure they are measurable to ensure you can gauge its success.

Media audit – Consider all the trade magazines or newspapers that your customers are likely to read. Telephone their advertising sales representatives and ask them to send you a rate card and demographic details of their readership. This will help you assess if your perception of a title's readership is correct.

Value for money – The cost of advertising space varies enormously from title to title. Assess the value for money each magazine or newspaper gives you by calculating how much it costs to reach 1,000 readers. This will allow you to compare your options more effectively. However, decisions on where to place your advertisements should also take a publication's readership into consideration.

Schedule - Once you have a clear picture of who you are targeting with advertising and which publication(s) you are going to use to advertise your business, draw up a schedule. It is unlikely that you will be able to afford to advertise week-in-week-out so draw up a long-term schedule that reflects your business needs. This gives you negotiating power when you book advertising space.