B2C marketing has focused on the power of data and the impact it has. B2B has steadily been catching up but slowly. So what can B2B companies and organisations learn from their marketing cousins?

B2C companies have become exceptional at using sophisticated data sources and DMPs (Data management platforms) to sell their services and products to customers alike. B2B has become stale relying on old marketing techniques such as cold calls and email follow-ups to generate and strum up business. This tactic has not only become time-consuming but doesn’t produce the desired results and can be expensive.

Want to learn more about DMPs? Read up here on previous blog instalment ‘CDPs and DMPs: demystifying data management for marketers’

It’s easy to declare B2B and B2C companies as separate entities however both can learn important lessons from one another. With small adjustments, you can take B2C marketing tactics and apply them towards any B2B audience. Getting stuck in an infinite loop of repetitive marketing strategies can leave you unsure on where to go next, so why not take a more innovative approach and perspective towards the issue. Marketing strategies that increase company growth could be exactly what you need.

Multi-billion dollar conglomerates such as Amazon have dipped their toes into B2B marketing, however, organisations such as Just Eat and Uber pride themselves on personalisation and have become titans in their industry while others have fallen victims to the digital age. 

B2C vs B2B Marketing

So the first thing we need to understand is that B2Cs are usually going to have a larger pool of potential customers, clients and leads. Everyone needs clothes for example however not everyone is going to need bespoke software worth thousands of pounds. This makes a difference straight from the word go, as the marketing campaigns and processes have to be tailored differently according to who is being targeted and marketed.

Their goals are different. While B2B focuses on website traffic and turning that traffic into leads, B2C looks towards brand identity and building their brand among mass audiences. Marketing techniques such as brand influencing are prolific with B2C organisations, with new-age technology such as social media and brand events, large amounts of audiences can be targeted at once.

A B2C company is going to have a much larger marketing budget on hand as the money is being spread across millions of potential customers across the globe. Compared to a B2B company where the money per potential customer is going to be much larger because the pool of potential clients is much less. With a much less per-customer expense B2C companies have to be much smarter with their budget and how it is spent. This is where automated and personalised marketing comes into account. 

So how does this compare with B2B organisations and companies? The sales staff, that’s how. Since the budget per customer is much larger than B2Cs, the approach can be more conservative, and more generic. If B2B companies put more strategic planning and effort in their marketing ‘one campaign fits everyone’, they could be more effective in capturing their leads and target audience.

Focus On Your Customers. The Customer Always Comes First

Getting to know your customers is important! This should be your main priority rather than planning email campaigns straight away. If you don’t know your customer then how are you going to know what they want? Stop obsessing on workflows and fixate on what your customers desire, without customers, you won’t have a business. Understanding who you are marketing too is crucial, as then you can define workflows e.g. if a phone call immediately follows up after a customer opened their last email.

In comparison towards B2C companies, B2B organisations, unfortunately, take less interest in their customer base. B2C companies collect masses of data about their customers for marketing resources and research. B2B companies don’t always know who they are marketing too, as, within niche industries, the audience has already been established, but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do their research homework.

Not only do B2C companies take control of their research but it’s pumped back into marketing towards their customers as well trying to find the best strategic process. It’s basic logical thinking that, if you know the particular problems and pains of your customers, then you are going to generate more sales. Your customer should be at the centre of every business decision that is being made.

Reputation

Both B2B and B2C organisations and companies rely on a strong brand reputation however as this is what drives sales. B2B companies can often find themselves putting the emphasis on referrals from current businesses and contracts and repeat business. This is where B2B strives as the repeat rate is much higher than B2C companies depending on the product that is being sold.

B2C companies go crazy over user experience. B2C customers that are shopping online expect a flawless user interface and easy checkout process and coordinating the best user experience available.  

Customer Communities

Customer or client communities are a perfect base to build up from. Organisations and companies alike are now creating groups and communities that are based around their products and services. Let’s take motor enthusiasts for example. Social media groups, meet-ups and events between like-minded individuals are a great promotion for the products as that is the main focus. The music industry is a perfect example of how artists are now turning their fan bases in communities to promote themselves and their products further.

This is how forums are deprived, as a passionate customer base is a great platform for customers to buy products, ask questions and provide feedback on products. Increase the noise around your product. This is where the power of social media takes place.

Personalisation  & Content

Personalised content has become fairly common with B2C sites and organisations in particular.  DYNAMIC is the keyword here. Making the content on your website dynamic and change to your user’s preferences could be what captures them. It becomes convenient for them.

Let’s take a look at the example below. Different shipping options can be displayed based on the user’s location, and when in question, they would receive their products which are based on their location and time zone. If your products can be sold online through an e-commerce site, then this is an amazing step towards custom content.

Related products is another brilliant tool to recommend associated products towards the customer, and help prompt them into purchasing. Techniques like these help to increase conversion rate. 

Personalisation can be done in plenty of ways to deliver a personalised experience towards the user. Targeting activity around personalised emails, remarketing and special calls are perfect ways to implement personalised content. Within context to B2B marketing, a growing trend at the moment is account-based marketing. This helps to increase ROI over the typical traditional marketing campaigns focusing on marketing efforts towards a clearly defined set of customers within your market.

Interested in personalisation and want to learn more? Have a look at our personalisation instalments here ‘personalisation through marketing’ & ‘Hello %%FirstName%%: why personalisation matters’

Privacy & Data

Privacy and data play a very interesting role around the debate with B2B vs B2C. Privacy issues and concerns have arisen around B2C marketers gathering massive amounts of data on customers, whilst entering an era within the digital age where it is also sensitive and has a price.

B2B marketers never collect the same volume of data compared to B2C companies because their customer pools are much smaller. This limits the amount of personal data on customers being collected. The question continues to be asked, as to whether the collection of data crosses the line over privacy issues and data laws.

Brand Identity

B2C organisations, companies and brands often use the art of storytelling and brand identity to engage their audience and influence them. The majority of B2B companies shy away from storytelling as it’s less important to get conversions and there is not much use for it within the B2B world, but are they wrong? Statistics show that 50% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase if they connect to a brand or product on an emotion scale.

Take Salesforce’s Success Stories page as an example, with the concept in mind that clients and consultancies can share their experiences and results within the community. featuring pieces about their products and how their business has transformed.

Social Media & Industrial Marketing

You can always tell a B2B brand from a B2C through social media. If like most B2B brands, organisations and companies, you will likely come across a stream and feed of pre-scheduled content, promotion of products and services, with links to take traffic back to your website as an outcome. B2C brands lack this however, whilst minimising direct interaction with followers. B2C brands don’t just use social media as a method to share their content, it acts as a middleman between them and their audience. For example, let’s take the Twitter account of a supermarket company. This would act as a platform to answer questions, respond to criticism and also joining in conversations acting as a support account for the organisation. B2B companies are much more interested in generating leads and conversions.

– 94% of buyers conduct research on products before they make a purchase (source)

– 55% of buyers use social media to search for information about a company and its products (source)

Social media in many cases acts as the first thing customers look for and search. A first impression if you will. This makes social media even more important for both B2C and B2B companies. You are able to showcase and demonstrate your commitment to customer service and maintain a professional online presence across all platforms. 

Influencer Marketing

Linked to social media, influencer marketing is an area well covered by B2C brands, however, less so by B2B companies who are targeting a whole different kind of business. Despite this, it should be considered for your media strategy. It also helps with the building of your links and more importantly helps with your SEO. Links remain one of the most important factors in search engines allowing you to appear in the highest positions within Google. 

A great way to not only promote your brand but also your services and products is through influencing and brand ambassadors. Brilliant for B2C companies and alike as celebrities can be attracted to promoting products for a fee. This attracts a wider demographic that can be targeted for marketing as well. This also works for B2B companies through competitions for example. Having an incentive for the winner to become a brand ambassador or win something always gives the audience a little push. Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter provide the perfect medium for this to be undertaken. A great way to connect with your customers is to find an attractive mutual interest such as an influencer.

What Can We Take Away From B2B & B2C Companies

It’s easy to see the difference in their marketing worlds between B2B & B2C organisations. Each to their own, they deserve to be recognised for the strategy they present as both can take away aspects from each other.  Marketing comes down to experience and your audience, so the end goals of every B2B & B2C company are the same. You can argue that B2B companies need to strike a better balance between content and how each audience is dealt with, while B2C companies appeal to vast wide audiences in comparison.