There are two categories of marketing in business, and you’ll fall into one or both of them: B2B and B2C. These terms stand for ‘business-to-business’ and ‘business-to-consumer,’ respectively.
B2B refers to companies creating and selling products or services to other companies. It entails wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, developers, and suppliers. Here, businesses deal with raw materials, components, technology, or niche services.
An excellent example of B2B activities can be found in the car industry. Manufacturers who build branded cars install various equipment made by other companies, such as tires, music systems, and interior materials. That means the carmakers and product developers have to market to each other.
B2C involves companies selling products or services directly to individual consumers.
The smartphone industry is a prime example. Phone companies make high-end and budget phones and market these options to the consumer. Once the consumer identifies what they prefer, they’ll buy it.
Key Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing
Business marketing focuses on engaging customers, enhancing your brand, and promoting your products. These high-quality strategies will bring in many customers and earn you a lot of money.
Even so, B2B and B2C marketing require different approaches to achieve those goals. Here are the key differences:
Business-to-Business relationships are more personal than Business-to-Consumer relationships. That’s because B2B has a smaller pool of options to sell to. You’re marketing to a few companies that need your products or services, whereas, in B2C, you have a broader marketplace.
The most common method for building personal relationships in B2B marketing is through events. These include trade shows, exhibitions, and brand parties. Research shows the global trade show market value could be more than 40 billion dollars by 2023.
Aside from events, trade publications provide opportunities for businesses to promote themselves.
Shaping opinions by engaging businesspeople is part of your branding and relationship building. Maintain a consistent message and position your business well. It will protect you from potential critical reviews and help you get referrals.
B2C marketing takes a more transactional approach with the ultimate goal of selling products. The interaction can be generic, but automation tools make it possible to customize interactions. In the end, if you deliver lovely products and experiences, people will buy from you again.
The larger pool of customers will bring you many service reviews. Respond to negative comments promptly to show you care about your customers and want to improve. Sort out their issues quickly to assuage fears about product quality. These actions will assist your marketing efforts.
Set up a system in your e-commerce store for spotting a customer’s uncompleted checkout. Use that information for remarketing, by gifting discounts or other goodies in case they complete the purchase.
Engage customers in every stage of their journey. Present information and guide them through the process where necessary. Install chatbots to auto-respond to queries or transfer customer concerns to the customer service team.
Build authority and loyalty by interacting with customers regularly. For example, use video marketing to connect emotionally with viewers. Discuss the benefits and functions of the product or service and build rapport with customers as the brand’s face.
In B2B marketing, your target audience will consist of the decision-makers in the industry, that is, CEOs or senior executives.
These leaders know what their companies need and control the spending of resources. Your approach, therefore, should be formal and professional.
Understand your niche and audience, and find out about the company gatekeepers. Consider setting up meetings with officials to learn more about their needs. This will tell you whether your product fits their business.
Even if it doesn’t, you might get lucky, and they may recommend you to another place instead.
In some cases, you may need to customize your B2B products to suit each business. Get affiliates to help you promote your business and products to related niche markets. Have landing pages for all the leads you bring to your website.
The target audience for B2C is consumers. Understand buyer personas and narrow down which demographic suits your product. It’s easier to sell to a broader base if the market fits your buyer profiles.
Adjust your marketing strategy if you are selling a product intended for children. You may need to target the decision-maker in the home to make a sale.
Find influencers to promote what you’re offering and to enhance your company brand.
Make use of social media to engage with potential customers. Facebook is the preferred choice of most B2B and B2C marketers worldwide. Other platforms include Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Businesses expect a return on their investment. They want your product or service to solve an issue or improve their performance. They aim to boost their communication, automate some processes, or conduct data analytics.
Most importantly, their goal is to bring in money. Your B2B marketing plan should explain how your product or service meets one of these concerns.
In some cases, you will be able to offer mutually beneficial products or services. As an example, e-commerce encourages business-to-business solutions. That means if a company like Grammarly and QuickBooks makes a deal on their editing and financial software, respectively, they can each expect a specific ROI.
The B2C marketing approach should highlight what the consumer will gain. For instance, Netflix can market itself as delivering entertainment and fun.
Other brands can offer the consumer affordable pricing or discounts for individual purchases. Hammer home the benefit, and customers will buy from you.
Content marketing is a cost-effective approach for both B2B and B2C companies.
It supports other marketing strategies, boosts your company awareness, and converts many visitors. It informs your audience and uses search engine optimization (SEO) to position your company online.
Display your knowledge of the industry jargon, culture, and systems when it comes to B2Bs. Educate potential customers on product and service benefits. If there’s a way to tailor your product to specific queries, explain it to the executives.
Your marketing tactic should appeal to the rational mind of your audience. They want solutions, and your products or services should deliver. Show them you are providing a scalable solution and one that can adapt to their growing business needs.
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. Use various content types to answer the questions they may be asking themselves before they bring it up. Address the positives and answer questions about the few negatives. Include SEO to boost your visitor responses and appear in online search results.
Remember, people buy from people they like. Thus, ensure your brand has an excellent reputation.
For B2Cs, you are appealing to the customer’s emotions. Check online and learn the language of your target buyers. What are their pain points? Include that language in your content and turn it into keywords for your blog posts.
Using their words and offering solutions makes you appear relatable. If they feel you care, your readers will want to buy from you and promote your products to their friends.
Solidify your relationship by creating user guides to help them even after the purchase. Consider creating new content to bring attention to products or services that may go well with previous purchases.
The Decision-Making Process
The decision-making process for B2B differs from that of B2C companies because of the number of people involved. The former will include plenty of input from several executives, whereas the latter is about the individual.
Develop a marketing pitch for your B2B clients showing the mutual gains. It would be best if you won over most executives by pointing out your product or service features.
Think from the perspective of the customer and apply those insights when you approach them. What value are you bringing them?
Create digital ads with this value-based marketing approach. These ads are effective in reaching target businesses and delivering your message. And according to market experts, digital advertising spending is only expected to grow.
Make sure you avoid wasting anyone’s time. If your pitch is unprofessional or poorly executed, you risk hurting your brand. Not only will those people refuse to buy from you, but they may also tarnish your reputation in the industry. This will harm your marketing and branding achievements.
When marketing for B2Cs, your goal is to make it look easy for an individual to buy from you. Let your strategies, campaigns, and tactics showcase a fast, secure, and enjoyable purchase experience.
Make sure to compare what your rivals are offering and market yourself as a better alternative.
Another effective strategy is to improve your website speeds and optimize your website for mobile users. Simplify the product selection and checkout process, and offer reasonable prices.
Write reviews and read customer comments to discover their feelings about your business. Conduct surveys to find customer pain points and use their language in your marketing.
By boosting customer experiences, you’ll attract repeat customers and make their future purchase decisions simpler. Allow them to create their own content to increase brand loyalty. This will bring more leads.
With the differences listed above in mind, you’ll be able to choose the correct marketing strategy for your business. Some companies handle both B2B and B2C clients, and they vary their marketing approaches to suit each group.
Each marketing approach comes with a sizable risk and at a specific cost. Avoid the danger of blowing your budget without getting the intended results. Otherwise, you may fall behind in this competitive business world. Think about your target audience and the relationship you should have. Consider who the decision-makers are and choose the best content that appeals to them. Finally, monitor your ROI and adjust your marketing strategies. These actions will help you reap greater benefits.
Guest Submission by Heather Reddings. Reach out to her on Twitter.