Marketing is marketing, regardless of who you’re selling to, right? Well, not exactly.
Marketing to consumers and marketing to other businesses require different approaches. We use the terms B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) to distinguish between the two.
Both types of marketing, traditional and digital, are useful for B2B and B2C marketing. However, their message and execution will be different in the following ways:
Consumers and businesses have different motivations when looking to make a purchase. Lifestyle choices motivate consumers. They will very easily buy something just because it is pretty or it will make them look good or feel good about themselves. They’re only interested in instant gratification and will skip the fine print. Businesses, on the other hand, are very interested in the fine print. They want to know what’s in it for them in the long run, including cost saving and lasting relationships.
Counterintuitively, consumers don’t care about building a personal relationship. They will shop around and purchase wherever they find it the cheapest or most convenient. If you’re too expensive they will move on, unless they feel loyalty to your brand, but won’t expect personal contact. Businesses are looking to build a relationship. They will expect customer service before they even make a purchase from you. They will try and negotiate your best prices because they don’t have the time to shop around each time they need something. However, once they decide to use your business, they will likely stick with you for a long time.
Consumers buy small-scale. Businesses buy large-scale. You will likely have a much larger number of consumer clients who only ever buys from you once. Your business clients will be smaller in numbers, but make much larger purchases and buy from you more than once.
A B2B marketer is involved in a much longer process before the sale actually happens than the B2C marketer. Consumers make their own decisions based on their emotions. Businesses require a much more intimate relationship than just the initial contact. There will often be levels of approval by higher management or their accounting department. A B2B marketer will have to follow up on the lead often to get it converted to a sale.
Brand identity is much more important to a consumer than to a business. Consumers will choose a brand they identify with on a personal level. Branding can actually convince a consumer to buy. Businesses care less about your brand and more about the quality of your service. In this case, branding will help you be considered, but won’t necessarily get you chosen.
The audience you target also has an influence on the challenges you will have to face. Business budget constraints affect both B2B and B2C marketers. B2C marketers might be more likely to struggle with financial issues, where B2B marketers will struggle to convert leads into sales.
The channels you use may differ depending on your audience. The perception that Facebook can only be used for consumer marketing is somewhat limited. Using Facebook for B2B marketing is actually a very powerful tool because you can target very specific audiences. Business managers are also just regular people who are likely to have Facebook accounts. Remember to consider your audience in your message to get the most out of your marketing efforts!