How B2B is Different Than B2C Marketing

Consider a brand of granola bar recently funded for large-scale production on Kickstarter.

With the capability to fulfill orders in place, the next—and perhaps most difficult task may prove to be an uphill battle. Should the company choose to exist beyond ecommerce, the company will need to convince not only customers to eat their product, but businesses to stock it.

Because of this, the brand will have to approach their marketing to each from different angles. When it comes to their customers, speaking to the emotional differentiators and benefits of their granola bar will be key. On the other end, the businesses they sell to will have more logic-based interests around not just product differentiators, but the specifics of customers being catered to.

This broad example lends itself to how B2B is different than B2C marketing strategy.

When it comes to these differing audiences, people still serve as the foundation. Their motivators, on behalf of either a business or themselves, are what drive how you should approach B2B marketing in a different way than you would B2C.

Logic vs. emotion

As briefly touched on above, decision-making on behalf of B2B clients is often driven much more by logic than emotion. Consider, for example, one of your favorite Super Bowl commercials featuring a puppy and those iconic Clydesdales. If you’re a brand selling SaaS, appealing to businesses with adorable animals is only going to get you so far, if anywhere at all.

Businesses after all, tend to be more conscious of the bottom line when it comes to their purchases. This makes each expense an investment of sorts, necessary of vouching for with clear reasoning and benefit.

More jargon, more length

Speaking to the more logical side of your brand’s benefits, will require a certain display of expertise. This is not to say, consumers don’t value authority. They simply have a different way of measuring it—hello, influencers.

From the B2B angle, businesses are interested in your brand’s expertise in the product and/or service provided. They want to know that when your sales representative hops on the phone, they’ll be able to fully understand the needs and pain points of their business in order to more personally address the value of what’s being sold. Because of this, the branded content on behalf of a B2B marketing strategy can often be much lengthier and full of niche, industry-relevant language.

Fewer distribution channels

In 2012, the average Internet user had three social media accounts. Nowadays, that average is closer to seven. As a B2C marketer, you may very well attempt to reach a consumer on most, if not all, of the accounts they have a presence on. Building a Chicago digital marketing strategy for B2B will most likely have a more succinct focus.

This is primarily because different social platforms evoke different behaviors from their users. You’re more likely to find business-minded professionals consuming relevant B2B content on LinkedIn than you would on Instagram. Fewer channels to remain conscious of means developing a marketing strategy with a more narrow focus in the areas of both content and distribution.

Longer buying cycle

While B2C purchases can be immediate in nature with regards to the needs a product fulfills, B2B buying cycles tend to be much longer. With the time it can take a business to demo, reach a consensus, review contract terms, and beyond, it can take months before a sale has closed. Thus, B2B marketing strategies must put emphasis on the nurturing of individual relationships with highly tailored pieces of content at every stage of the process.

Short list of contacts, long chain of command

Marketing to B2B audiences usually means focusing on a subset of niche verticals that may be comprised of only a few thousand sales prospects. On the other end of the spectrum, B2C audiences are typically much broader and vast in number.

When marketing to these businesses, you’re likely not always catching the attention of the final decision-maker. Procurement, finance, and other supervisors are sure to weigh in before signing on the dotted line, rather than B2C tactics, which really only need to rely on one individual making the final purchase decision.

ROI considerations

B2B purchases as a whole often come with a higher price tag than those made in the B2C world. This directly impacts success metrics for any B2B marketing campaign. The cost may indeed be higher to get in front of relevant businesses but the return of just a handful of sales could be enough to justify it. The issue here links back to the buying cycle length, however, since it can be difficult to gauge when that return will be secured.

How have you found success in marketing to B2B clients? Tweet your responses at @MabblyTribe!