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 learn from their marketing cousins?

B2C companies have become fantastic at using cleaver data sources and DMPs (Data management platforms). This is to sell their services and products to customers alike. B2B has become stale, relying on old techniques such as cold calls and email follow-ups to generate and tweak up business. This tactic has not only become time-consuming but doesn’t produce the desired results. This can be expensive, so how can B2B companies learn more from B2C experiences!

Want to learn more about DMPs? Read up here on previous blog installment ‘CDPs and DMPs: Demystifying Data Management For Marketers’

It’s easy to declare B2B and B2C companies as separate things; however, both can learn lessons from one another. With small changes, you can take B2C marketing tactics and apply them towards any B2B audience. Getting stuck in an infinite loop of marketing concepts can leave you unsure about where to go next. Marketing strategies that increase company growth could be precisely what you need.

Multi-billion dollar companies such as Amazon have dipped their toes into B2B marketing. However, companies such as Just Eat and Uber pride themselves on being personal. They 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 possible customers, clients and leads. Everyone needs clothes; for example, however, not everyone is going to need software worth thousands of pounds.

Their goals are different. At the same time, B2B focuses on website traffic and turning that traffic into leads. B2C looks towards brand identity and building its brand among mass audiences. Marketing techniques, such as brand influencing are standard with B2C organisations. With new-age technology such as social media and brand events, large amounts of viewers 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 potential customers. So how can a B2B company learn more? Compared to a B2B company where the funds per possible customer are going to be much larger. The pool of potential clients is much less. This is where automated and personalised marketing comes into account. 

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

Focus On Your Customers. The Customer Always Comes First

Getting to know your customers is crucial! This should be your primary concern 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 worrying on workflows and focus on what your customers desire; without customers, you won’t have a business. Knowing who you are marketing too is crucial, as then you can define workflows, e.g. if a phone call straight away follows up after a customer opened their last email.

Compared 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 found, 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 essential logical thinking that, if you know the specific problems and pains of your customers, then you are going to generate more sales.

Reputation

Both B2B and B2C companies rely on a strong brand. This is what drives sales B2B companies can often find themselves putting the idea on referrals from current work and repeat business.

B2C companies go crazy over user experience. B2C customers that are shopping online expect an excellent user interface and secure checkout process and making the best user experience available.  

Customer Communities

Customer or client communities are a perfect base to build up from. Companies alike are now creating groups and communities that are based around their products and services. Let’s take motor lovers, for example. Social media groups, meet-ups and events between like-minded people are an excellent 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 groups to promote themselves and their products further. Increase the noise around your product. This is where the power of social media takes place.

Personalisation  & Content

Personalised content has become relatively familiar with B2C sites and companies in particular. DYNAMIC is the keyword here. Making the content on your website dynamic and change to your user’s choices 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 a fantastic step towards custom content.

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

Targeting activity around personal email and special calls are perfect ways to create 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 personalization installments here ‘Personalisation Through Marketing’ & ‘Hello %%FirstName%%: Why Personalisation Matters’

Privacy & Data

Privacy and data play an exciting role around the debate with B2B vs B2C. Issues and concerns have arisen around B2C marketers gathering massive amounts of data on customers while 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 companies 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 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 consults can share their ideas and results within the community. They are featuring pieces about their products and how their business has changed.

Social Media & Industrial Marketing

You can always tell a B2B brand from a B2C through social media. If like most B2B brands, 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, while limiting direct contact 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 serve as a platform to answer questions, respond to comments and also joining in conversations acting as a support account. B2B companies are much more interested in generating leads and conversions but can B2B companies learn more from this.

– 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 show your desire 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 looked at for your media strategy. It also helps with the building of your links and more importantly helps with your SEO. Relations remain one of the most critical factors in search engines, allowing you to appear in the highest positions within Google. 

A great way to promote not only your brand but also your services and products is through influence. 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. 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

So how can B2B companies learn more from B2C experiences? It’s easy to see the difference in their marketing worlds between B2B & B2C companies. 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, broad audiences in comparison.