It was the advertising boom of the 1960’s that paved the way to modern day marketing. Since then, advertising and marketing have been all about the consumer: What do consumers want? How do we appeal to them? Which consumers should we appeal to?
While consumers seem to be at the heart of most advertising and marketing strategies, it is not quite the case in B2B, or business to business, marketing. Here we’ll explain some key differences between B2B and B2C (Business-to-consumer) marketing.
The Focus of Your Marketing Content
Marketing to another business is a very different ball game than marketing to consumers. To start with, businesses have a lot more to consider when making purchases; businesses generally purchase in much larger volumes than consumers. This usually means a larger investment as well.
As a result, marketing to businesses requires focusing on the features of your product or service and using logical arguments, rather than playing on emotions. Businesses need to know that your product holds a real business value.
Businesses do not often take personal emotion into account when making organizational buying decisions. To cater to this, your marketing materials should be more in-depth and focus on how your product can help the business be more efficient, save money, etc.
Consumers, in contrast, are more impulsive – purchasing requires less thought and fewer resources. Consumers make emotional buying decisions and often purchase a smaller number of units than businesses.
Because of this, marketing to consumers warrants a focus on product benefits more than practical features. More often than not, consumers have an emotional relationship with a brand or company, which drives them to buy their products.
Since they don’t have to consider purchasing decisions as carefully as businesses, consumers also want marketing messages that are simple and straight to the point. The most effective consumer marketing strategies grab consumers’ attention and use storytelling to play on their emotions.
When marketing to businesses, you are selling your product or service; when marketing to consumers, you are selling an idea, or even a lifestyle.
Relationships with Buyers
There is no target market, per se, when you market to businesses. Your market is essentially the business you are selling to. This aspect of B2B marketing makes it a very relationship-driven process.
The buying process in B2B marketing is multi-step, and the purchasing relationship lasts longer. Business purchase decisions aren’t often a one-time thing.
Because of this one-on-one selling situation, there has to be an established relationship and level of trust between your company and the business you want to sell to, a relationship that can last for a substantial amount of time.
In consumer marketing, your target market is much more widespread, even when you take into account niche markets, micro targeting and market segmentation.
In B2C marketing, you are attempting to sell your product to a specific group of people, rather than just to one business. Because of this, the relationship aspect of consumer marketing is very impersonal.
Relationships are very product oriented, and are formed through brand identity and emotional connections to these identities.
B2B marketing is about what your product or service can do for a business and the personal relationship you build with that business.
Your product should be seen as useful, above all else, and you should be seen as a company that is trustworthy to do business with.
B2C, or consumer marketing, is about the benefits your product or service will bring to the lives of consumers and the lifestyle those benefits represent.