The type of business you operate largely determines your marketing activities and also the types of customer acquisition processes you use, so it's important to know what works best, where. If you're not sure where to start, this guide is here to help you make sense of it all.
Think of it as two streams, running parallel. The first stream is B2B (b2b) marketing, the second B2C (business to consumer). B2C is going to be targeting the end-user of their product or service – essentially you, me and also the guy next door. However, B2B enterprises market many and services to other businesses, which requires a significant different approach.
For B2B marketing, the number one priority is lead generation – searching for prospects to target and interact with in order to make the sale. When a client has been onboarded, B2B marketing focuses on continuing this relationship and educating the buyer.
B2C traditionally takes a more humanistic approach, which is fitting, as these enterprises are targeting individual consumers purchasing for themselves or their families. Using emotions to market their products or services is effective, as people are prone to impulse purchases based on how they are feeling at any given moment, whereas businesses take time to consider a product before buying in.
There's also more room for humour and tongue-in-cheek methods to marketing for B2C, while B2B is anticipated to be straightforward and professional, setting foundations for long-lasting relationships. At the heart of it, B2C is focused on transactional relationships, efficiency and raising brand awareness inside their marketplace.
But in the digital chronilogical age of the 2021s and beyond, are these distinctions still as cut and dry? The reply is no.
While traditionally these streams have run parallel, nowadays they intersect. The best brands incorporate values from both B2B and B2C to achieve their business objectives. How can this be? Because businesses and consumers alike want to purchase from brands that interact with them. Increasingly, emotional qualities for example engagement, personalisation and entertainment are experiencing a substantial impact on purchasing decisions.
This shift is reflected in the data as well. Google discovered that 71 per cent of B2B researchers begin their research using generic search engine – which is the same method as B2C customers. Social media is also having a huge impact in this space, influencing marketing happy to embody immediacy, relevance and interaction. Both B2B and B2C enterprises take advantage of how they are perceived on the internet and are able to form stronger relationships with their buyers through the interaction and communication social media platforms facilitate.
While the most popular social platform is LinkedIn for B2B and Facebook for B2C), there are a significant number of B2B marketers blurring the lines with active accounts across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, with B2C enterprises jumping around the LinkedIn and Twitter bandwagons as well. It's now becoming perfectly viable that you should retarget to your audience on traditionally B2C platforms, such Facebook and Instagram -it's cheaper, in the end – and you'll likely be obtaining the same eyeballs on these ads because the ones on your LinkedIn. This is because the modern buyer is increasingly self-educating through online research, peer opinions and social networking -and this applies across the board for both B2B and B2C.
Looking towards the future, the most successful brands – whether or not they be B2B, B2C or a mixture of both – will be the ones that are able to maintain a professional reputation, provide educational content and build an emotional brand connection, using the best from both schools of marketing thought to bring a holistic brand experience to a savvy, engaged consumer.