Creating effective marketing designs for business to business (B2B) clients is no easy task. Unlike business to consumer (B2C) companies, those that deal in the realm of B2B are often more complex, may cater toward enterprises, and are very mission-oriented. Wrapping your head around a large SaaS client or understanding a highly targeted B2B campaign may seem like a difficult mountain to climb, but there are strategies and graphic design practices that can make B2B easier to design for.
Before jumping into some best practices for B2B design, we need to first understand what B2B is and why it’s just as important to design for it as it is for B2C. Business to business companies specialize in services and products made for other companies and their business activities. These products/services allow an organization to thrive by giving them the tools they need to build revenue, create efficiencies, and make their operation run better. B2B companies may offer a SaaS solution, consultation services, business strategies, or physical products for their clients.
The biggest difference between B2B and B2C clients is sheer complexity. B2B organizations themselves may be complicated, as well as their products/services. The best way to handle this complexity is to think holistically about what it is you’re trying to communicate to the audience and boil it down to a few key ideas or examples.
For instance, if a B2B company is trying to promote a new SaaS platform, highlighting the benefits, features, and the ease of use of the software might be the key points in your design and messaging. Focusing on the minute details of the platform or getting into the weeds of how the software works may come across as too much information for the viewer to absorb.
The amount of information you include, though, and how you convey it in your designs will depend on a variety of factors:
The audience’s place in the marketing funnel (awareness, consideration, decision)
The type of marketing asset you’re designing (white paper, social graphic, infographic, video/animation, email, etc.)
The goals of the asset (promote brand awareness, move someone closer to a purchase, etc.)
Regardless of what you’re designing, simplifying things will go a long way to effectively marketing the product or offer to the end user.
Brand and audience alignment
When designing for B2B, it’s also a good rule of thumb to follow the client’s brand and to maintain strong brand consistency. Many B2B companies don’t have branding guidelines that are as flashy as B2C companies. To make up for this, it’s important to focus on these three areas when designing for B2B: logo, color, and general aesthetic.
The client’s logo and color are paramount to include when doing design work, since they play a huge role in brand recognition. Many B2B companies are mainly known through their logo and primary color(s), and including those in your designs will give your asset credibility and authenticity. Creating a strong and unified general aesthetic around the brand is also important as the more professional, personalized, and consistent the design is, the more likely the target audience will have a positive reaction to it.
Another key area to focus on when designing for B2B clients is their audience. B2B clients often focus on highly targeted accounts and specific roles—including executive level personnel—within those companies. Knowing your audience and who you’re targeting are both essential to designing relevant and effective content.
Focus on the goal
For some, designing for B2B may seem like less exciting than B2C, but it doesn’t have to be. To feel energized when working on B2B design projects, focus on the goal. What story is this piece of content telling? Where am I driving this piece of content to? Who am I targeting? Understanding the nuances of your clients’ needs and how to best approach them will go a long way to designing something meaningful.
When designing for B2B, the most important thing to keep in mind is that design solutions should always strengthen the brand. As long as you uphold a strong design strategy, you should see success.