What’s the difference…

This post is a detour from my usual ramblings. This is because is was originally written for my old company’s blog.

The differences and similarities between B2C and B2B marketing.

B2C Marketing

Even though the channels that B2C and B2B marketers use are the same, the way in which they market to their target audience is increasingly different.

The motivation behind making a purchase is different in B2C, hence the information the consumer requires also being different. As a consumer, we are more interested in how the product or service benefits us personally. For example, L’oreal’s iconic slogan “because you’re worth it” doesn’t tell us about the product. Instead it’s about how it makes you feel. Their marketing strategy is all about how it benefits you. Why?

 

B2C marketing campaigns are also shorter in duration and need to capture the customer’s emotional interest instantaneously. Consider that the goal of an email campaign for a B2C company is to get consumers to buy the product straight away. Taking us on the shortest possible journey to the checkout from the email does this.

However, B2C companies have started to realize the importance of loyalty. Amazon, for example, combines merchandising and education to keep customers coming back.

As consumers, we will look for the best price and research the competition, but more important that this is trust. B2C marketing needs to convince us to buy through gaining our trust and loyalty.

customer loyalty

Customer service is essential to customer loyalty and although it isn’t catergorised as “marketing”, bad customer service will make all of your marketing efforts useless.

We, as consumers are motivated by desire, style and prestige. We buy ‘status’ brands like BMW, Mercedes, or Nike, even if they cost us more. So as a B2C marketer you need to understand what motivates us, and the emotional stimulation behind our decisions. You need to create a marketing program that speaks to and emotionally engages with your target audience.

B2B Marketing

The B2B buyer is an information seeker. Therefore, your most effective marketing message will focus on how your product or service saves time, money and resources.

As a B2B company you need to focus on building relationships and communication using marketing techniques that generate leads, which can be nurtured during the sales cycle. B2B companies use marketing to educate their target audience because the decision to purchase is a multi-step process involving more than one person. For example, the goal of an email campaign for B2B is to drive traffic to the website so to generate leads.

This is usually the first step in a longer campaign that may include direct mail, webinars, telemarketing and newsletters as well as follow ups by sales representatives who will move the prospect through the sales cycle.

Content is king for B2B marketing i.e. white papers, newsletters, information blogs etc. For example, a London-based B2B technology company B1 Banner, have a fantastic information blog, and host Huddles around hot topic issues within the industry among using other content led techniques. This is B2B marketing at it’s best.

Like in all marketing, a quality brand is needed in any business to make a good impression, but spending lots of money on building brand awareness is not what counts in B2B marketing. You want to help your target audience find the value of the product and service you offer through testimonials, marketing materials and other activities that build credibility.

marketing

Similarities

Both B2B and B2C buyers are interested in quality customer service. Customer service isn’t marketing per say but it is integral to your marketing strategy.

The three p’s of marketing are “product, price and promotion”. I want to add my own three p’s: “personality, passion and persuasion”. In both sectors having a personality is important, and I don’t just mean a brand personality.

Whether you’re a B2C or B2B Company personalizing your communities’ experience is important. On B1 Banner’s Twitter account they have a ribbon representing the people who tweet. Personalizing the conversation puts you in a strong position. Whether this be face to face, in an email or phone call, the more personality you have the more personalized the experience, the better the response.

Passion is key to any marketing strategy. If you are passionate about who you are, and what you do so will everyone else be. You have to believe in your brand before anyone else does.

Whatever obstacles you face in either the B2C or B2B sector, you have to be consistent and constant. Consistently interacting with your target audience, and constantly engaging in the conversation. Listening to your consumer or prospect builds relationships, and communication is essential. This is where you need to be persuasive, the more information you acquire about the wants and needs of your target audience, the better your ROIs will be. After all,knowledge is power.

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