All types of marketing are not created and carried out in quite the same way. While some basic principals will always prevail, there are many fundamental differences between B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) marketing. Who you are marketing to and for what purpose can greatly change your message and delivery.
In general, B2B marketing is harder and takes longer than the traditional business to consumer marketing, according to DigitalAuthority.me. The purchase cycle is longer for business marketing and involves a chain of command, whereas consumer marketing is a more emotional decision that is made far quicker, usually by an individual.
Here are 5 quick differences you need to know about B2B versus B2C marketing efforts.
- How To Engage Your Target Audience
If you’re in B2C marketing then you’ll want to create an ideal customer persona and analyze where they hang out online. Most likely the best way to target them these days will be through social media like Facebook and Instagram. Consumers also still like email marketing. If you have a large marketing budget you can even look at TV ads.
If you’re marketing B2B however, the game gets a bit harder. Business executives don’t have time to scroll through Instagram while they are working and that’s not their go-to place for information-based content. According to QuickSprout, 76% of B2B marketers publish blog posts, because 96% of B2B buyers stay they crave credible content from authority sources. For social media, you’ll want to use news, technology and business-related platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
Both B2B clients and B2C buyers are infatuated with video on the internet right now. IN fact, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world and that goes for both B2C and B2B. Infographics are also hugely popular, probably because the human brain can process images 60,000 times faster than written content. Also, over 65% of people are visual learners. Providing content that is right for your audience is a critical part of marketing.
- What Level Of Emotion Will Your Marketing Use?
The world of B2C marketing is steeped in powerful emotions and the use of buyer psychology. Individuals are emotional creatures who make choices quickly based often on their feelings. Colors, images, and stories will help you connect and relate to your customer base. You won’t find the same touchy-feely sentiment on the B2B side.
When dealing with B2B buyers, you’ll want to appeal to their rational, logical and technical sides. The decision to buy has to make financial sense, and often it has to go through a lengthy vetting process or multi-step purchasing process. You’ll want to focus on benefits and ROI over raw emotion.
- How Important Is ROI
Consumers rarely think of ROI unless they are buying a house or other real estate property. Consumers want to fulfill their wants and needs. Business buyers, however, are all about the bottom line. You’ll want to make sure that your B2B buyers see the financial sense their purchase makes and why buying from you is their best bet as you will often be competing with other sellers. The larger the purchase, the more important proving ROI will be to stakeholders.
- Understanding The Buying Cycle
The buying cycle for B2B marketing is often much longer and more complex. According to HubSpot, you’ll need to do a lot more lead nurturing to get the sale. That’s why B2B sales usually involve dedicated account managers. A company will go through a multi-step process before making a purchase. Sometimes that process is very official, especially with larger companies.
When you sell mostly to consumers, rather than businesses, you will generally only have to talk to one or two people and the decision will be made fairly quickly. Your marketing needs to be “in-the-moment,” with an emotional trigger that prompts a quick decision. If you sell a product a person might buy multiple times then branding will be very important to keep your business top of mind. Constant reminders of your products without being annoying is one place social media really shines. You can provide great photos and videos that are entertaining as well as informative to your target audience.
- Casting A Wide Net vs. Narrowing Your Niche
B2B marketing generally will involve a much smaller number of prospects, according to an article by Forbes Magazine. Whereas B2C marketing can cast a wide net and market to millions if not billions of individual consumers, there are only a small number of people with buying power inside the auto industry, for example. Your pool of prospects is going to be much more defined and you’ll need to use a variety of tactics to whittle down your niche. If you’re selling TV sets and the majority of American house holdes have not one but multiple TV sets in them, then your target audience is exponentially larger and broader in scope.
Getting in front of the people with the buying power of a large corporation isn’t as easy as posting a few things on social media. You’ll have to email, call and have in-person meetings with a variety of people in order to find your way in. B2B marketing often takes a lot of networking skills in addition to marketing know-how. A great deal of B2B transactions still take place face to face, whereas consumers are moving more and more to online purchases for everything.
From time to time, B2B and B2C marketing do intersect. Sometimes a large brand might sell to both groups. In that case, it will be especially important to be able to segment your audience so that you can take all the differences we just talked about into account with your marketing efforts. If you want to talk to someone in more detail about the differences between B2B and B2C marketing, you can contact some of the best marketing agencies out there which are compiled on this list.