B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2C (Business-to-Consumer) are well-known markets. They’re relatively simple and marketing to these sectors is relatively easy because there are few restrictions as to how they go about it. The B2G (Business-to-Government) market, on the other hand, is less well known and marketing strategies are bound by stricter regulations.
We’re going to look at the B2B and B2G markets, how they stack up against one another, and which marketing strategies are suited to public sector procurement.
B2B vs. B2G
B2B marketing is when businesses aim their marketing efforts at other businesses. There are many types of B2B marketing strategies that are developed to meet different goals. The most common goals include brand awareness, website traffic, customer engagement, lead generation, and establishing a good reputation for things like innovation, hi-tech advancement, research, and being an industry influencer. Provided they are not obscene and don’t violate rules regarding fairness and business ethics, B2B marketing plans are bound only by the limits of the marketing team’s creativity.
B2G marketing is aimed squarely at the public sector, which is basically the Government divided into segments, like healthcare and housing. It’s a largely untapped market as far as SMEs are concerned because it has a reputation for complexity and there’s a perception that it’s just for big business enterprises. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The government has taken steps to encourage SMEs to join the B2G marketplace by increasing the number of low-value contracts available and introducing procurement reforms that make it easier for SMEs to compete with larger businesses and bid for their share of the £300 billion public sector market.
One of the biggest advantages is the length of contracts. B2G tenders tend to run in excess of 12 months. Some contracts can be for as long as five years or more.
Another great advantage is that public sector organisations or associations pay on time. Some businesses in the private sector delay payment until the last possible moment or pay invoices later than the due date, this can be days or even months. There isn’t this uncertainty in B2G contracts, which means businesses can invest in employee and product development so they’re always at the top of their game.
Experience counts for a lot in B2G transactions. One or two successful contracts make it easier to win future tenders and business owners who reinvest a portion of their returns into their enterprise will be able to bid on larger contracts and continue to grow over the years. This doesn’t necessarily apply to the private sector where it takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to develop new business relationships that deliver similar results.
Thanks to the new Public Procurement Bill (due to be enacted in the first or second quarter of 2024) tenders aren’t won on price only. Social value and public good come into play and this favours SMEs that might not be able to compete with larger enterprises money-wise but can offer better value for money.
What types of marketing work best in B2G commerce?
B2G marketing works best with a multi-pronged approach that uses several types of marketing activities to achieve results.
When done correctly content marketing is one of the most effective strategies across all business sectors, including B2G. The difference is the tone and quality of the content. B2G content should be highly professional and gleam with quality. Quality in this instance includes proof. It’s not enough to claim to have a 98% success rate. There must be evidence to back this up. Case studies are a great way to establish credentials and white papers are a great way to showcase innovation and thought leadership. Highly rated webinars, guest articles in trade magazines, and portfolios all showcase skill and professionalism.
Social media marketing
Opinion on the effectiveness of social media marketing in the B2G sector is divided. LinkedIn is about the only suitable platform marketers can agree on, due to the fact that it is aimed at professionals and professional networking. Instagram is also used to give businesses a human face with pictures of award ceremonies, team building events, fundraising for charities, and unveiling new products or works.
On a human note, it’s easy to overlook the person behind the decision-maker; the hiker, avid baker, dog mom (or dad), horror movie buff, etc. That person is on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. Targeted, paid ads on these platforms will attract attention and maybe even arouse interest, so they shouldn’t be discounted.
Search engine marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) encompasses a range of online marketing activities, including search engine optimisation (SEO), paid advertising (PPC), and digital and mobile marketing. All of them are designed to establish an online presence, increase brand awareness, generate website traffic, and lead to goal conversions.
The bottom line is that email marketing works. In fact, it doesn’t just work, it provides excellent ROI. The trick is to do it correctly. This isn’t as easy as it might seem. It takes planning to create an email marketing campaign that doesn’t end up in the Trash unread. It’s a delicate balance between professionalism, creative engagement, affability, information, and compelling content.
A good email marketing campaign has the potential to go viral, in which case it also embraces social media and content marketing.
The B2G Market is Full of Opportunities
Now that the public sector is opening up to business enterprises of all sizes, SMEs have the opportunity to make their mark. However, you need a team of B2G marketing specialists to really crack the sector, which is something that not all SMEs have.
B2G marketing agencies like Cadence Marketing can take the reins and deliver results through market research, email marketing, webinars and more. If you want to find out how Cadence Marketing can propel your business into B2G success, all you have to do is book a free consultation.
You’ll see for yourself how well B2G markets compare to B2B markets and wonder why you waited so long to get into public sector procurement.