B2B Versus B2C Marketing: What You Need to Know in 2022
Updated: Nov 14, 2022
While putting up a billboard with an attractive celebrity can make clothes fly off the shelves, or a discount voucher can make you instantly order a meal from your favorite delivery app, it isn’t so easy to get people to buy enterprise software or consulting services or industrial equipment.
This is why B2B marketing requires a different approach than B2C marketing. While both may follow similar disciplines and use similar channels, the strategies, processes, marketing mix and even technology stacks will be quite different.
Here are some points of comparison between B2B and B2C marketing:
1. Decision Makers
B2B product and service offerings can affect a whole branch, department, or enterprise, so multiple stakeholders and executives may be involved in every purchase decision. To successfully market your solution, you need to know who is involved in the buying journey, understand their personas, and design hyper-segmented messaging to appeal to the needs and considerations of each persona.
For organizations with priority accounts or customers, account-based marketing is a must. This means employing marketing strategies that are customized per account. Executions can include small, exclusive events or tailored communications. Account-based marketing requires in-depth customer knowledge. When done correctly, it can drive strong customer connections and deeper engagement.
B2C messaging, on the other hand, is more straightforward since individual buyers and their families are the only ones affected.
2. Sales Cycle
Because investments in B2B solutions can be significant, and the choice of product has far-reaching effects within the business, purchasing decisions aren’t made lightly. The sales cycle can take months or extend beyond a year. Successfully converting a new lead will require patience. Consistent follow-ups and targeted messaging to nurture leads are needed at every stage of the customer journey. You also need an equally dedicated and skilled sales team, which is not always necessary for B2C.
The B2C sales cycle is much shorter. It can take just a few minutes from first contact to the point of sale. The goal is not to carefully lead a prospect through an extended sales funnel; it is to attract as many prospects as possible to the top of the funnel, hoping that more will convert.
3. Content Marketing
We’re all familiar with B2C content— think of exciting TV ads and billboards trying to convince us that a specific product is a must-have, regardless of profession or social status.
B2B content may not be as flashy as B2C, but it’s time to break the stereotype that B2B marketing is bland. It’s not. It still needs to catch attention while addressing customer concerns and needs. All assets you use in each stage of the buyer’s journey – from whitepapers to web pages to social posts and videos -- must be consistent and carefully curated. Educational pieces that incorporate proof points, such as statistics, ROI studies, or even customer testimonials, can help establish the credibility and effectiveness of your brand.
Because of the nature of B2B offerings, perhaps even more creativity is needed to make the products stand out from the rest of the pack. Each asset must be written and designed with the target persona in mind to make it easy for your audience to appreciate. Prospects tend to spend more time comparing alternatives instead of buying impulsively, so your value proposition needs to be crystal clear.
4. Influencers and Affiliates
With B2C, the focus is on mass appeal, so famous personalities or influencers with mass appeal are preferred, even if they don’t have comprehensive knowledge of the product. Influencers in B2B do not need to be famous; instead, they must be respected and trusted by the target audience. Peer recommendations are highly prized in a B2B set-up, so your happy customers may be the best endorsers for your product.
Working with industry associations and user groups, especially those with active members, can also give you a way to showcase your products to companies who may not yet be familiar with your brand.
Choosing the right B2B marketing partner
Given the nuances of B2B marketing, companies who wish to outsource marketing to a third party should consider choosing an agency that specializes in B2B marketing. When selecting a marketing partner, some pitfalls you will want to avoid are:
Lack of understanding of the B2B customer journey
Ads that don’t appeal to executive decision-makers and other stakeholders
Content marketing that lacks credibility
Using the wrong marketing channels to reach your audience
Lack of knowledge on the leads management process and collaboration with lead catchers or sales teams
Ineffective nurture strategy with your prospects and customers
Why not go for a marketing partner that understands your business and your audience better?
Beeline can help grow your business with radical and empathic B2B marketing. We combine modern marketing strategies and data-driven insights with decades of B2B marketing expertise to help you establish meaningful connections with your customers. Want to learn more about our services? Book a call with Beeline now.