Understanding B2B vs. B2C Marketing: Marketing Ideas for Both Types
Marketing for B2C (business to consumer) is much different from marketing for B2B (business to business), and it's important to know these differences as it can make or break your marketing efforts. While a product or service is sold in both cases (you should also know these differences too), understanding your marketing plan is vital to the success of your campaign. Here is a quick overview of the main differences and similarities between B2B vs. B2C marketing... but first, let me explain what each type of marketing is.
What is B2B Marketing & B2C Marketing?
B2B means "business to business", and B2B marketing focuses on trying to get businesses to purchase your products and services. B2C means "business to consumer" and focuses on directly attracting customers to buy your offerings. A good example of B2C would be a travel agency selling flights directly to individual customers. To put it simply, it is a relationship that involves one company and at least a consumer. B2B is the relationship you create with a business, which can be of any size.
Depending on your goals, offerings, target and how large your company is your business could even focus on both of these types of marketing! In this case, it is even more imperative that your marketing team is aware of how these tactics can overlap and where they must differ.
No matter if you are marketing to a business or a consumer, you will need to be mindful of these 4 marketing strategies and infuse them in your marketing plan if you want it to be successful! Here is how these two forms of marketing are similar:
1. Show up Where Your Target Market is Actually Purchasing
No matter if you are focusing on B2C or B2B marketing, you will create the most successful campaigns if you show up where your prospective buyers are purchasing, or looking to purchase. For B2B marketing, this could look like having a presence on industry-specific websites, trade publications, networking programs, or LinkedIn. For B2C marketing, this could look like getting setup on Amazon marketplace, mommy blogs, pregnancy blogs, or wedding publications.
And, whether you are b2b or b2c, you will want to make sure you always show up on all major search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. There are approximately 60 billion searches per month in just the United States... meaning that SEO should ALWAYS be included in your marketing plan. Google is THE top platform where people are going to get all of their questions answered so make sure you show up to help your ideal avatar find what they are looking for!
2. Always Lead with Pain Points
Whether you're marketing to consumer or businesses, you need to understand you ideal client's specific problems in both cases to develop a high-performing marketing plan. Without clear information on the pain points to address, it will be challenging to market as well as sell your products and services. Clearly showcasing your understanding of these pain points allows you to:
More easily grab your ideal client's attention
Connect with your ideal client
Help your ideal client realize that you are the company they need
3. Always Follow the 4 C's in Your Marketing
The 4C's: Catch, Connect, Close, and Continue.
Whether your target audience is a consumer (B2C) or a business (B2B), you first have to understand where your customers are in the purchasing journey and attract their attention with an appealing message (a message that is determined where they are specifically on their 4C journey). By understanding and following the 4C's of the marketing funnel, you hit your target market at the right time, in the right place, with the right message - this is your recipe for success!
4. Content Marketing is a Must
According to a recent study, 80% of people prefer learning about a company through custom content. Essentially, custom content improves brand loyalty, increases direct sales while also keeping the reader engaged. Stop for a second and think what that could mean to your marketing effort. Best of all, content marketing works for both B2B and B2C. 91% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers already have content marketing as part of their overall strategy. Plus, it's one of the easiest ways to become successful at your SEO and showing up on Google (See point 1!).
Creating a marketing plan for B2B that works can be time-consuming and tasking at the same time. If you're marketing for B2B, and you're in the process of creating a plan, or you're planning to improve the current one, here are some ideas we encourage you to give a shot.
1. Understand the Hierarchy of Business Mentality
Every business owner has a completely different mindset at each level of their business. Knowing where your customer fits in the hierarchy is the FIRST step in understanding how you need to connect with your potential buyer. It's the difference between marketing that focuses on leaving a legacy vs. making more money vs. creating more time vs. becoming more visible!
Understanding the business hierarchy of mindset makes it easier for you to understand the level of needs your customers are trying to achieve. This makes it possible for you to appeal to them with messaging, products or services that will satisfy their needs. Creating a B2B marketing plan with this hierarchy in mind can ensure that you address the needs of prospective businesses at their different stages of growth.
2. Leverage Statistics, Case Studies, ROI Calculators, or Reports
When going after corporate clients, ensure that you can back up your claims with reports as well as statistics to indicate the success your clients have found in the past using your services and/or product. Business owners and key decision makers are more pressured to look at "the numbers" vs. emotion when making such decisions.
Showcasing case studies with great ROI and statistics of the businesses you've helped indicate positive growth for these potential buyers... growth that they want a part of.
You can utilize these reports and case studies in your:
Email out reach, or
As lead magnets and opt-ins.
3. Thought Leadership That Will Give You an Edge
Having a thought leadership strategy will position you as an industry leader in your niche. It's the best way to become the go-to guru and have people chasing you, not the other way around. Your thought leadership strategy will depend on your ideal client and where they are hanging out when they are thinking about business and making business decisions. Make sure you are showing up in the appropriate platforms and providing immense value that can help potential buyers get results quickly.
Some examples of thought leadership are:
Writing in business platforms such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, etc.
Getting press features, and leveraging those features.
Developing ebooks and industry white papers
Host webinars and workshops
Fund industry research
4. Focus on the Face-to-Face User Experience (UX)
B2B marketing primarily focuses on fostering personal relationships that drive long-term businesses. For that reason, you want to take your marketing approach past the storefront UX (whether it be brick and mortar or your website) to person-to-person connections. This could include anything from:
Sponsored client dinners
Consistent client follow up calls (to see how everything is going!)
Personal DM follow ups
Connecting your clients with other people who they can benefit from
Now that you have a couple of B2B marketing plan ideas, let's look at some B2C ideas to include in your marketing plan.
1. Follow Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
This is similar to the Hierarchy of Business Mentality; however, the focus is on the everyday human, not the business human. Every person's behavior is dictated by different needs—the need to survive, to feel loved or fulfilled or simply to boost their esteem. According to Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, humans have universal needs they must fulfill. Therefore, to attract consumers, you need to understand their needs and be able to address them on time and satisfactorily. A closer look at this hierarchy can help you target your marketing to appeal to your customer's needs.
2. Leverage Testimonials and Social Proof
You are likely to attract more buyers as well as make more sales if past and current customers affirm you live up to your words. Testimonials and social proofs can help you here. You can leverage these testimonials by:
Hosting realtime feedback on your website
Encouraging buyers to rate your products online or leave you a review on Yelp-like platforms
Rewarding consumers with sharing your offerings with their online following
Reshare/repost what consumers are saying about your brand
Reward consumers when they get their friends to purchase
3. Prioritize the Emotion Behind your Brand, not JUST what you are selling.
We've all heard the adage, "you're not selling a product or service, you are selling something more!" Storytelling helps you build a deeper connection with the audience and actually gets consumers to buy, whether they know it or not. 92% of consumers prefer brands to make ads feel like a story. Just remember to create stories that resonate well with your target audience. When you create an emotional connection with your consumers, they are likely to not just purchase from you, but to also repurchase and keep coming back as a loyal customer. A brand built on emotion also helps break through the noisy advertising landscape.
The best way to determine brand stories is by answering these questions:
What is your mission?
What do you care deeply about?
What about your industry bothers you?
How are you always striving to become better?
Why did you start your business?
What passion keeps you up at night?
The most successful brands are the ones who create movements. They are the ones who care so deeply and authentically about an issue that buyers and consumers flock to support the movement.
4. Focus on the "Storefront" Experience
It's important to remember that your website is your 24/7 sales person, even more than a b2b company. While face-to-face relationships are imperative for b2b companies, the selling space is imperative for most b2c companies.
That means you need to pay extra close attention to how:
Well your website converts
Well your social media creates connections
Easy your website is to navigate
Easy you make it for people to reach out to you to ask questions, give feedback, etc.
Inviting your storefront is
Friendly your staff is
Take Your Digital Marketing Strategies a Notch Higher
Having an all-rounded marketing plan is crucial to your business growth. It ensures you are attracting the right customers and providing them with the products and services they need at the right time. If you need support with digital marketing strategies to craft a solid marketing plan, we have the expertise and tools to help in that. Get in touch today to learn how we can help you create a B2B or B2C marketing plan that works for your business.