Digital Marketing

Key Concept of B2B Marketing in Japan

In the past, in most cases, only steady sales activities by salespeople have been successful in the Japanese B2B business scene, but over the past decade or so, marketing activities have finally become more and more powerful in the B2B field as well.
This article summarizes the basic concepts of B2B marketing in Japan that companies entering the Japanese market from overseas should keep in mind.

We provide marketing and sales support to foreign companies entering the Japanese market, so please feel free to contact us if you are a company interested in the Japanese market or a marketing manager. We are the best partner for you.

#1 Start with the assumption that you have customers similar to existing customers in your home country/market

It is most important to deepen understanding of existing customers

Especially in B2B business, there is rarely a significant discrepancy between the personas of potential customers in Japan and your existing customers. Therefore, even when entering the Japanese market, it is extremely important to deepen your understanding of them.

We begin our marketing strategy planning by understanding your existing customers’ company size, business activities, and the channels through which they gather information, and by assuming that the potential customers in Japan have similar personas.

The first attempt is rarely successful

After understanding the existing customers as described above, we will consider how to approach potential customers in Japan. What must be kept in mind here is that it is impossible to find the optimal solution the first time, and continuous localization for the Japanese market is necessary.

We have seen many companies try to apply the same marketing methods they used in their home country to the Japanese market, but it did not work, and they withdrew from the market without making any minor improvements. What is important is the attitude of improving the minor details for the Japanese market.

#2 Clarify what you can and cannot do

It is impossible to implement all measures

If there were vast resources available, many measures could be implemented both online and offline to ensure that no customer is left behind, but in reality, no company has such excess resources.

In Japanese B2B business, there are certain measures that should be taken in each field (i.e., measures that are relatively easy to achieve successful results). It is recommended that you first thoroughly implement such typical measures to see how the market reacts.

The worst case scenario is to try out a variety of measures and fail. In such a case, it will not be clear whether the measures were wrong or whether the measures themselves were correct but could not get successful results due to lack of resources.

Just because it’s the latest method doesn’t mean it will produce results

Rarely (if ever) do the buzzwords that emerge every few years actually produce results. It may seem as if the latest method will solve everything, but this is not the case in Japan, especially in B2B marketing. As mentioned earlier, you can get certain results just by following the typical marketing measures, so we recommend that you put the latest fad methods out of your mind.

#3 Do not expect an immediate decision, but lead to contracts step by step

Japanese companies require step-by-step consideration to make decisions

Sales representatives of foreign companies seem to be constantly bothered by the fact that Japanese companies do not make immediate decisions, but it is a fact that Japanese companies need to go through several processes before making a decision (although this lack of speed is the reason for our country’s declining international competitiveness).

We have seen many foreign companies try to win a contract without going through such a process only to fail. Conversely, as long as we provide them with a thorough process, they will proceed with their own in-house studies and eventually become loyal customers.

Set up a few more low-hurdle CV points in between the CV points that customers tend to leave out

Instead of trying to jump to a contract, set multiple CV points where the hurdle is low (CV points that customers are more likely to take action easily).

Instead of trying to immediately initiate a concrete business discussion, you can improve the customer conversion rate through white papers, webinars, trials, and so on. Especially in digital marketing, once you have created these kind of system, customers will experience these steps on their own, and in the long run, you will be able to reduce your resources significantly.


We don’t need completely different marketing approach for Japanese B2B market. The most important thing is to continuously localize your marketing, paying attention to the following points.

  • Start by deepening your understanding of existing customers in your home country
  • Select and focus your resources on the right areas
  • Japanese companies do not make quick decisions. Set up detailed steps

We provide marketing support to foreign companies looking to enter the Japanese market. We can provide services ranging from the development of marketing strategies to the actual implementation of marketing on behalf of our clients. Feel free to contact us.