Business-to-business marketing (B2B) focuses on directing product advertising towards other companies. It’s a much different process than B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing. While they may seem the same on the surface, the fact remains that there are fundamental differences between the two marketing methods. A company that focuses on a business clientele will cause a stir and attract customers differently than those who market to individual consumers.
Some marketing principles apply to both areas. Both B2B and B2C marketers need to recognize their consumers as individuals and try to add value to them by delivering products and services. However, compared to B2C, several principles apply to B2B. Elements such as scale, tone, and the type of information the customer needs to make a decision differ between the two.
These eight experts from Ad Age Collective are very familiar with the differences between B2B and B2C campaigns. Here they try to explain these differences and why they are so fundamental to comparing B2B and B2C marketing efforts.
1. Develop a long-term strategy.
B2B is a long-term strategy that offers solutions to exponentially increasing KPIs, aiming to reduce friction and function seamlessly as an integral part of your strategy. B2C marketing is more immediate, with short term results and measurements. It focuses on a larger audience and constantly changing behavior. It is more experiential and emphasizes immediate reward in the short term. – Oz Etzioni, Clinch
2. Think about the different target group levels.
It’s more what I would do for B2C to address B2B. B2B marketing is all about the customer’s customers. But ultimately, customers either sell to consumers or are consumers themselves. So, when creating a marketing plan, keep the different target audience levels in mind. Always look at how your activities are affecting the end user and how the events in their life can affect the business. – Maggie O’Neill, Peppercomm
3. Above all else, focus on the channel.
The biggest difference between B2B and B2C marketing is the critical choice of platform and message distribution for B2B marketing. Channel is perhaps the most important decision for a marketing mix: where, when and how can important decision-makers be reached and influenced? Narrowing these decisions down to get as close as possible to the decision maker and decision point is the greatest key to B2B success. – Marc Landsberg, SOCIAL DEVIANT
4. Consider the customer’s product and / or service goals.
With a B2B campaign, you need to remember that you are talking to a company or small business owner who needs a product or service that will improve operations or help generate significant leads for the company on a larger scale. A B2C campaign focuses on a single product or service that helps improve the needs of the individual. Therefore, it usually has a more unique focus. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Publicity
5. Identify the right avenues for engagement.
These days B2B has a lot in common with B2C. In both cases one has to surprise and emotionally involve someone with the best argument for an expensive choice. The main difference is how to surround that person with enthusiasm and peer-made recommendations – the ways to achieve that enthusiasm in the consumer industry may be more diverse, but B2B goals are as social and on-screen as anyone else. – Scott Montgomery, Bradley and Montgomery (BaM)
6. Consider a team’s expectations.
The B2B buyer is a purchasing team in which around 10 people make the final decision. Each of these buyers has expectations of the consumer for a personalized omnichannel experience. Not to mention that sales cycles can last over a year and things get complex quickly. This is why AI is critical – no human can take signals of intent across channels and connect them to buying teams to orchestrate great experiences. – Latane Conant, 6Sinn
7. Integrate evidence and statistics.
B2C can use emotional appeal tactics extremely effectively. While B2B can also use this tactic to build a relationship, it is not enough. B2B customers are looking for a demonstrable result that is not always applicable in B2C. This could be ROI, sales growth, or increased subscriber numbers. Regardless, your messaging needs to have proven evidence and statistics to back up your claims. – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap
8. Don’t be afraid to add more technical details.
When it comes to B2B marketing I would add more technical details than I would with B2C marketing. B2B customers care about getting the right product specifications for their needs and helpful customer service, while B2C customers care about the bottom line. Because of these differences, I would approach B2B marketing with more data and facts. – Syed Balkhi, WP beginner