Industrial or B2B products are manufactured by one business and are sold directly to another business can be used as raw material or in manufacturing process. Industrial Lubricants, Bearings, Steel products like CR sheets, Automotive Components etc fall into this category.
Traditionally, these products are being sold for a specific use in a manufacturing or allied process and therefore the packaging of these products has never been given importance in past. The only role of the packaging in this category of products was to protect the product during storage and transportation.
Now the time is changing, with the arrival of many MNCs and increasing competition, various options are available in B2B product markets. More products are available with similar quality and it is increasingly becoming difficult to differentiate products merely on the basis of product quality.
The marketers of B2B products are struggling to bring differentiation to their products and are looking for some innovative ways to offer appeal to products which can establish some brand association and can play a critical role in customer’s decision making process.
In order to handle these challenges and to differentiate products, it has become a necessity to focus on the brand value of their products in B2B. The brand value or the brand association of the product could be successfully created by the product positioning, advertisement, quality of the product supported by product packaging.
Most of the companies in B2B markets have been traditionally ignoring the importance of packaging and were limiting it only to offer the product a safety during storage and transportation. With the changing markets and new emerging trends, now various new ideas are being experimented to bring innovation on packaging. It is for the first time that the B2B Companies are now aligning their product quality, market positioning with the brand association with their customers and trying to meet these objectives through product packaging.
B2B products have been earlier manufactured and packed by their manufacturing teams independently and marketing-sales team merely involved into the selling of these products. The price, credit terms, product availability, references and quality used to be the only buying criteria earlier and the role of sales and marketing team was just to be a co-ordinator or order collector. Now the trends are changing and there is a huge pressure on sales and marking team to offer something more than the traditional parameters to differentiate their products and to enhance the perceived value.
Increasingly, the sales and marketing team is getting involved in decision making of the packaging of their products and wanting to create product value thru the packaging innovation.
For Example, during the old days, tooth paste (B2C Product) was being sold in a tradition pack and the objective of the packing was only to store the product. Since then, lot of innovation has been brought to package the product to create product differentiation. It has taken a long time, a journey of many years to bring this change.
And Perhaps, B2B products have also begun the same journey now and packaging is becoming an unavoidable stage in product marketing mix. It will not be an exaggeration to say that packaging in B2B products are all set to become 5th P of Marketing Mix.
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