Market types

There are many ways digital marketing can support business-to-business organisations. All of these can be relevant components of B2B site:

- Transactional e-commerce site

- Service-oriented relationship building site

- Brand-building site

- Portal or media site

- Social network or community site

To understand how digital marketing can be best applied to B2B companies, we need to consider how the buying process operates in different B2B organisations.

Traditionally there are three main types of organisational markets in which business primarily trade with businesses: industrial, reseller and government. Analysis of the main organisational markets reveals variations in company size, trading requirements, investments and trading potential. The three main types are described below.

Industrial markets

Generally comprise organisations which are heavy dependent on raw materials and actually producing tangible goods e.g. agriculture and hunting and forestry, fishing, heavy manufacturing, engineering, vehicle industry, electricity and gas supply and construction. Due to capital investment required in many industry sectors, markets tend to be dominated by a small number of very large companies. This is particularly noticeable in areas of manufacturing that require major capital funding and investment (e.g. ship building and manufacture of chemicals). It should be noted that this does not mean all manufacturers operate on vast scale. In the case of specialist engineering companies, they can be quite numerous, small in size and widely dispersed.

Reseller markets

Made up of organisations that buy products and services in order to resell them e.g. wholesalers, retailers, hotels and restaurants, transport, storage, communications, financial institutions, estate agents and letting. This covers a very diverse collection of organisations and as a result company size and market sector structures vary considerably.

Government markets

Consists of government agencies and bodies that buy goods and services to carry out specific functions and provide particular services e.g. public administration, education, health services, armed forces, community, social and personal services activities. Government agencies control vast funds of public money generated from direct and indirect taxation. In many instances purchasing requirements exceed those of large private commercial organisations.

Adapted from

Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F., 2012. Digital marketing: strategy, implementation and practice (Vol. 5). Harlow: Pearson.

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