It’s about time we address the nuances of B2B vs B2C marketing. Marketing professionals often find themselves having to cross the border from one side to the other of this rift, and they are often apprehensive about what practices and constants differentiate between them and which ones don’t. We’ve hinted at these differences and similarities in the past, but we’ve never really spent a lot of time talking about these differences as forethought.
So, today, we’re going to compare B2B vs B2C marketing directly, and see what has to change and what doesn’t, in order to master both, when you’re used to one or the other ahead of time, or neither at all. You’re going to be surprised, I think how many basic tenets are universal between them, but with altered context.
#1 – Marketing Channels
B2C marketing is more diverse, especially these days, in the channels it will work through. Very rarely do guerilla marketing, social marketing and multimedia marketing actually prove that effective with B2B marketing (though there are shining exceptions to this rule). However, B2C marketing works quite well with a whole host of these. Since consumers are drastically more diverse than businesses, the marketing needs to be as widespread and diverse as possible.
In contrast, B2B marketing channels are primarily print and online advertisements where the targeted customer will be. Along with this, email marketing is another consistent channel to market through for B2B, where email marketing via B2C can be tentative at times. Though B2B often gets a “boring” stigma, it can be that much more challenging because of the competition in the few channels. For instance, most successful B2B companies do some form of content marketing, so how do you make yours stand out?
#2 – Emotions in Question
Emotions play heavily in marketing, be it appealing through shock and awe, selling on the convenience of a product or service, sex, or even catering to fear as motivation. These work well for B2C.
It’s a common mistake to assume that B2B marketing doesn’t play to any emotions, and that it’s all about numbers with this case. That’s not true though. It’s all about different emotions – ones tied to that financial bottom line. The emotions related to a department head being lauded for their great decision, or the prestige and success of a company, possibly bolstered by using the product or service being marketed.
Emotions still matter, it’s just a different set of emotions.
#3 – Documentation
B2C customers still want documentation and data showing the pros, cons, advantages and other related concerns regarding the product or service, but it’s more of a personal convenience, brand identity and affordability on a user level with them. But don’t be mistaken and assume ROI means nothing for B2C marketers.
In B2B marketing, though, this is a different situation. With B2B, white papers, case studies, and other campaigns are closely monitored for ROI. Brand awareness isn’t as important as sales for most B2B companies.
It’s important to mention the difference in tone with which you market. B2C customers want to be razzled and dazzled by pretty logos, catchy slogans and a big show, while B2B needs to be straight forward and clearly display your products’ value over alternatives.
Businesses are more sober, and want professional, even-keeled and competent conveyance. Don’t mix these up!
In B2B and B2C marketing a lot of basic things are consistent, just the inflection and context shifts. But despite them sharing a lot of basic tenets, mixing these up would be disastrous, so take these differences to heart and never forget them … at least if you want to succeed.