B2B vs B2C marketing is a very different proposition. Or is it? The growth of digital media means that there is an increasing number of channels and methods from which to choose. So how should marketers approach the task of engaging and winning customers? It’s a bit like learning a dance.
Comparing B2B vs B2C marketing
Businesses that Sell to Consumers
The B2C marketing challenge is to build product awareness and convert browsers into buyers. As it’s usually a ‘low involvement’ purchase, say to buy a confectionery bar, thus marketing campaigns must capture the consumer’s interest immediately. Typically mass promotion activities like TV and press advertising are employed. Special offers such as discounts or vouchers also ‘activate’ the purchase. The challenge is therefore to establish an effective one-step routine.
In the online world, an email or search marketing campaign encourages consumers to click and buy. The email or advert encourages consumers to a website landing page designed to sell the product. If the purchasing process takes more than a couple of clicks then this risks the customer shopping elsewhere. So make it simple and easy, for example, by integrating the shopping basket and checkout page.
Businesses that Sell to Businesses
The goal of B2B marketing is also to convert prospects into customers. However the purchase is usually more considered. More decision makers are also usually involved. So the challenge is to engage and educate the target audience and build relationships with them. To succeed a B2B company must generate and nurture leads over a longer time period. A careless or quick step could mean a lost partner (or customer). The challenge is to therefore also to establish an effective multi-step relationship building routine.
In the online world, an email campaign or online advertising campaign also drives prospects to a website. However it is less likely to achieve an immediate sale. A more realistic aim is to secure a meeting with a sales representative to discuss the customer’s business requirements and also influence him, her or them to buy (i.e. complete a sale). By providing information about the products and services, benefits, features, possibly pricing, and also contact information, reassures customers and wins trust. Conceiving marketing activity as one of several steps in a longer, integrated, multi-step campaign is more likely to persuade. So consider awareness and relationship building via direct mail, newsletters, video promotion, webinars, virtual exhibitions, conferences or live events and also social media such as Twitter or LinkedIn .
While there are differences between B2B vs B2C marketing, engagment and relationship building principles remain the same. So use market research to understand the customer journey from the customer’s point of view. In particular, the sources of information and the selection criteria that the customer uses, and the triggers and barriers to building awareness, relationships, and drive sales. At each step along the journey, learn how your brand experience compares with your competitors. And if it is no different, then improve it.
This information will then help you build a better marketing communication strategy. Specifically the key messages, media and timing to attract and engage customers at each step on the journey. If you are a B2B marketer, learn how to dance the marketing 2 or 3 step. And while B2C marketers may be 1 step routine masters, learning a 2 or 3 step routine may help you to build stronger customer relationships. In so doing you will better invest your resources to really make a difference.