As a digital marketer or a business owner, Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) marketing is most likely not alien to you.
However, what you might not be aware of are the somewhat distinctive features the two business models have or even their different marketing styles and approaches.
So, what is it about these two concepts that make them different? Well, right off the bat, B2B and B2C may sound different but they are not mutually exclusive. The two can, indeed, be combined to achieve the desired goal. So, yes, in some situations, B2B and B2C strategies can be executed simultaneously for a specific purpose.
But despite the intersection of both marketing styles, it is crucial for digital marketers and marketing teams to understand the differences. By doing so, you will be in a better position to structure your marketing strategy accordingly, target the right audience and ultimately achieve your goal.
Did you know that the SyncApps by Cazoomi integrations are ideal for both B2B and B2C companies? We can help you reach your audience easier and get more insights from your campaigns.
First, let’s dive in and break down B2B vs. B2C marketing:
B2B vs B2C Marketing
While B2B focuses primarily on the selling of products and services to other companies, B2C specializes in serving individual consumers. However, there are a couple of similarities in their marketing styles.
What exactly is B2B marketing?
B2B marketing is any promotion strategy that spends its marketing budget on a business or an organization. B2B marketing will create content meant to attract attention from significant decision-makers in an organization. Here are a few examples of how B2B marketing looks like:
- A web hosting agency that develops websites for businesses (like Kinsta)
- Social media management software that helps businesses manage social media and schedule posts. (like Buffer)
- An integration-as-a-service solution provider that helps businesses integrate their CRM, eCommerce, Marketing Automation, Financial and Support software. (like Cazoomi)
What is B2C marketing?
B2C marketing is the totality of tactics used by a company to sell to individual consumers. Businesses and organizations in this space focus on solving a myriad of consumer problems that they experience in their everyday lives.
Additionally, buyers purchase products based on emotions as opposed to logic as is the case in B2B marketing. The following are some examples of B2C marketing in practice.
- A travel agency that offers travel packages to various destinations to individuals.
- A plumbing company that installs pipes and provides repair services for households.
- A company that sells and supplies dairy products to individuals.
How does B2B marketing work?
The above definition and examples pretty much paint a picture of how these two marketing concepts are used by businesses to reach their target audience. But even though B2B and B2C can be used together, some approaches and strategies only apply to B2B companies.
For example, B2B customers want a product or service that will offer long term solutions while the B2C audience most often wants short-term solutions – those that will solve a certain need immediately.
To put this into perspective, the following factors can help digital marketers and business owners approach B2B marketing right away.
- B2B marketing prioritizes ROI
The B2B audience is mainly made of experts who make purchase decisions on behalf of their organization or business. Such decisions are usually not rushed and do take a considerable amount of time before the actual purchase is made. Such decisions could take weeks and even months.
Well, there will be a series of meetings and presentations conducted so as to explain why such a purchase is necessary and how it will help the business in the long run.
As a result, B2B customers seek efficiency and value for their money. Thus, their decision to make any purchase depends on the financial gains a product can offer. In simple terms, what’s the return on investment on the product/service in question?
The bottom line is that the business needs to be sure that they will, in turn, reap profits from any product or service after they purchase.
- B2B marketing seeks to build a personal relationship with the customers
If you want B2B prospects to give a nod to your offer, then you have to make sure that you give them long term solutions. B2B businesses that understand the importance of building strong relationships with B2B customers enjoy a long-term profitable relationship with their customers.
Because they want to spend on products that will serve their needs and those of their customers for a long time. Furthermore, long term relationships are likely to win your B2B business tons of testimonials and give you a competitive advantage over your competition.
- B2B customers prefer educative content
If B2B customers are to make crucial decisions like whether to buy your product or not, feed them with the right information about your product. B2B clients need to have extensive knowledge of your product or service and how it fits in their business goal(s).
So how do you offer educative content? You need a solid, well-thought-out B2B content strategy. Make sure you provide them with educative content in the form of blogs, social media posts, whitepapers, video marketing, and case studies.
Doing so will help your audience make the right buying decision thanks to value-packed content.
- You have to create in-depth content
B2B customers expect full professional service from your sales team. So you will need to get it right with content marketing. Provide detailed information about your product or service and always get straight to the point.
Unlike B2C marketing, B2B customers expect to have a full review of a product or a service. For instance, you can include the following details:
- How can your product help a business?
- To what extent can it help a business?
- What measures does the customer need to take for the product to work efficiently?
- There is a long chain of command
B2B marketers and salespeople have more than one customer to attend to. Purchases or acquisitions normally require input and even approvals from several departments or managers.
Owing to this, you need a strategy on how to convince the different stakeholders in the B2B company so that they can make a favorable decision – and that is, buy from you.
- The purchase contracts are long term
In B2B sales, it’s normal to see deals that discount for yearly contracts. Therefore, the purchase process requires the parties to forge an ongoing relationship. Under such circumstances, it is difficult for the company to cancel a sale after they have decided to buy.
Therefore, stakeholders will be cautious in the decision-making process, and B2B marketers should put this into consideration. In reality, your B2B clients will need a product that will serve them on a long term basis.
Before money exchanges hands, ensure your clients have a clear understanding of your product or service. Additionally, mention what the future holds for the product and how it will cater to the users evolving needs.
- The B2B buying process takes longer
B2B 500 fortune company, or any other B2B organization for that matter, will not spend $50,000 willy-nilly.
Well, because they have what we like to call checks and balances.
Such decisions will most likely take months. So, make sure that you cover all the angles and be prepared to play the long game otherwise if you are in a hurry to sell then you will be disappointed. Also, also make sure that your product or service aligns with their long term goals.
How Does B2C Marketing Work?
B2C marketing more or less works like B2B marketing but the only difference is that it deals with the end consumer or an individual customer.
Here some unique features of B2C marketing:
- Focuses on emotions/desires
An individual who wants to buy running shoes will make a decision based on how the shoe is going to make them feel. For instance, Jane who works out daily will buy a shoe that makes her feel cozy and comfortable while in the gym.
She also wants people in the gym to notice her shoes and even compliment her. These kinds of emotions are what influence the buying decisions of many consumers like Jane.
So, your content team should make sure it evokes emotions and desires. You have to show the consumer that you understand their pain, fears or even what makes them happy.
- The customer relationship is transactional
First, your customers may be loyal, but they’re not looking to establish a long-term relationship. Theirs is a transactional relationship – you can provide what they need at the moment.
If your services and/or products are exactly what the consumer needs, they will come back. But they are less likely to ditch you for a competitor, especially since they did not invest as much time and energy as B2B buyers into making a decision.
- Say no industry jargon
Unlike B2B marketing where you are can be dealing with experts who understand industry lingo and other technical terminologies, B2C customers have no interest whatsoever in industry jargon.
To be on the safe side of sales, make your content simple, casual and easily digestible. In other words, adopt an informal tone as opposed to a corporate and boring communication style.
So, don’t complicate things with unnecessary jargon. You might end up losing leads. Recent statistics emphasize that 83 percent of consumers want content with a touch of informal tone.
- Invest in advertising as well
A B2B business needs to invest more in content compared to the B2C business. Since the customer is looking for fun, utility, leisure, or entertainment, it makes sense to also invest in advertising to maximize your reach.
The B2C consumer will not need to read a whitepaper or a case study when buying a couch for their living room. They only need to see a few photos on Facebook Marketplace and probably visit a showroom — that’s it!
That’s why B2C companies invest heavily in digital advertising to create brand awareness.
What’s is the similarity between B2B and B2C Marketing?
Despite the differences above, B2B and B2C marketing sometimes share common promotion strategies. Some businesses serve the business audience and the consumer audience at the same time.
For instance, a company making websites for other companies can also create websites for people who want a personal blog. Also, a dairy company can sell products to individual customers while at the same time, it can supply its products to another company in bulk.
In the same light, there are marketing strategies you can use and win customers in both market segments. In other words, B2B and B2C marketers can collaborate and share valuable insights on how to generate leads from each segment.
Handy Tips for B2B and B2C Marketers
- Include storytelling as a marketing strategy (B2B companies ca steal this tactic from B2C ones!)
Who doesn’t love an exciting story? Yes, a fun story related to your product or resonates with your audience is a great way of reaching your target audience. Fun and engaging content have numerous benefits including keeping your customers entertained and informed.
If you are in the B2B space, make sure your content is educative and informative as well. Top decision-makers want content that is not only enriching and insightful but that is also relevant and factual.
- Diversify your content
We all know that content is king and no one’s arguing with that. However, you need to figure out what kind of content works for your B2B or B2C business. While it might seem easier just to generate one type of content, your consumers need diversity.
Even if your content is spot on, it can be boring sometimes. It is, therefore, important that you serve your clientele with a variety of content that they can engage in and also benefit from in terms of knowledge and entertainment as well. Learning how to build an effective B2B content marketing strategy will come in handy.
Social media is one such area that you definitely need to be diverse with your content. It is important that you try different content types and reach consumers and prospects from all demographics.
However, even with diverse content, it is worth noting that some social media platforms work best for B2C and not B2B.
That said, below are some content types that you can incorporate in your B2B or B2C marketing strategy.
- Long-form blog posts
- Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
- Video content (YouTube, Facebook Live, Webinars)
- Product reviews /descriptions
- Press releases
- Case studies
- Always include a Call-to-Action (CTA)
Your content should always provoke prospects to take a certain action like make a buying decision sooner rather than later. This goes for both B2B and B2C clients.
Even if you have excellent content and just leave at that without a call-to-action, there is a high possibility your prospects will leave your website as soon as they are done consuming your content.
CTAs are used to give your prospects that much-needed nudge to buy or at the very least, get in touch with your sales team for more information. Now that’s a lead right there.
CTAs shouldn’t be complicated. Make them simple, straight to the point, and attention-grabbing. A call-to-action should simply direct prospective customers on the next step to take.
You can use a CTA in email outreach, social media posts and blog posts. For example, you can use a simple call to action phrases like – Sign up now, Download a free e-book or Buy now. Make sure you leverage the power of the Call-to-Action.
- Identify your customer and speak their language
Who is your ideal customer? You should take the time to learn about your target audience or prospects. Researching your audience will help you discover their buying habits and what drives or motivates them to buy. Moreover, you can use a more targeted strategy using the checklist below:
- The age of your customer
- Their occupation
- Their income on a monthly or annual basis
- Social media activities
- Their everyday problems
With such insights, you will be able to share the right kind of content and eventually get the desired action from them.
- Leverage social media
According to Status Brew, an average person has up to nine social accounts on different social media apps. Furthermore, the same person spends an average of two hours and 16 minutes on social media.
Your customers are spending a substantial amount of time on social media and so should you. But note that these social platforms will give different results for different marketing styles. For instance, some social apps will work well for B2B companies while others are a good fit for a B2C business.
For example, a B2B marketing expert who works with professional clients needs to leverage on sites like LinkedIn, Quora, Twitter and Facebook and send follow up on emails. For B2C marketers, sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Snapchat will give excellent results.
Here are a few scenarios that explain social media marketing for the two marketing styles in action:
- B2B Company selling HR recruiting software to other HR firms is likely to connect more with potential prospects on LinkedIn than on Instagram.
- Similarly, a B2C company selling gym outfits to youthful customers will gain more customers on Instagram and interest.
- Competitor analysis
Yes, stalk your competitors and get to know what they are up to online and even offline. Competitor analysis enables you to gather valuable data that will help you stay on top of the game.
Competitor analysis, which has lots of benefits, by the way, includes their choice of social media, how they engage customers as well as customer feedback. This way you will know what they are doing wrong and right and also see the kind of issues their customers are raising and how you can capitalize on them.
- Humanize your content
Master the art of generating content for humans. In other words, write in a conversational tone just like the one you use on face-to-face dialogue.
Keep in mind it is humans who will buy your products (yes, even in B2B!), subscribe to your blog and recommend your business to family and friends.
- Create content for your audience not for you
You can easily do this by creating content that highlights how you will help them solve a particular problem. Solving your customers’ pain points should be your priority at every level of marketing, especially when engaging with them via your content.
Show them that you understand their needs and wants by creating and sharing content that showcases your expertise in solving similar problems.
- Get feedback
What are people saying about your brand? Customer feedback is, to a certain extent, a valuable asset and there are several reasons for that.
It is a good way of knowing how customers perceive your products or services.
Every business owner would like to have positive feedback all the time but that’s not possible. There will instances where a customer is dissatisfied with you. Chances are that they will share their discomfort on their social media platform.
So, as part of your marketing strategy make sure you also have a feedback tracking mechanism to help you keep track of what your customers and prospects are saying about you on the web. Tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and Tweet Deck do this very well.
Don’t be afraid of negative feedback. It will help you to improve your customer experience.
- Engage customers & keep tabs with the recent trends
Do you interact with your customers regularly? Well, you should. One simple and effective way of engaging with your customers is through social media.
If they ask questions or comment on your Facebook or Instagram post, make sure you answer their question(s) or acknowledge their comment(s).
And if you can do it almost immediately, even better. When you make a quick response, you display concern, and people will start to trust you. Don’t forget to say thank you to those who share your content and mention you on social media.
Trends keep evolving and it is essential that you keep up with the ones relevant to your business. From new software to industry news, be an informed marketer. However, you can’t try all the new tools in 2020, but you can select ones that are relevant to your business.
Oftentimes, B2B marketing appears complex when compared to B2C marketing. But that’s not really the case.
On the contrary, the only distinctive factor here is the difference in audience and the cycle of buying decisions. At the end of the day, the main aim is to close more sales and build long-lasting businesses. So, it’s essential for marketing professionals to understand the differences as well as where B2B and B2C intersect. Given businesses that offer B2B services and B2C services at the same time.