How online marketing differs for B2B and B2C

Whether selling to consumers or other businesses, the emphasis for a strong marketing campaign should be on building strong customer relationships. However, strategies for B2C (business to consumer) online marketing are often different from those of B2B (business to business).

The needs of your target audience

When trying to sell your goods or services to consumers, you have to think about what matters to them individually, and what they need for themselves and their families. It could be healthy food alternatives and why it will benefit them, making cooking easier and taking away the stress of thinking about the nutritional value of the products you supply to them. Or it could be insurance such as contents cover, the monthly cost and how much they stand to lose if the worst happens and they don’t have cover.

If marketing the same health food to a business, you might focus on the benefits of having your product in their store or website. Stress the possible increase in customers and use previous examples of how other businesses have made a profit with your product and provide some testimonials. If selling insurance to a business, you could focus of the loss of earnings if something was to happen to a vital piece of equipment.

So, you would think of your audience and tailor your marketing strategies to them in the first instance, The Detroit-based marketing and advertising firm Wolverine Solutions Group can assist companies with doing just that and to help their campaigns stand out.

How you address your audience

With business marketing, you will need to keep the tone formal and focus largely on facts. Let them know briefly which company you represent, your services and the potential benefits to them working with or purchasing from you. If you’re both in the same industry, you’ll be able to use some jargon with little or no explanation and cut out any unnecessary filling. Showing an in-depth knowledge of their business will demonstrate you have an understanding of how they operate and the challenges they face. You will have to do a lot of research, but any sale you make will be substantially larger than when selling to a consumer.

If marketing directly to the consumer, use of any industry jargon should be kept to a minimum and fully explained whenever you use words or abbreviations which the general public are unlikely to understand. You can be less formal and sometimes inject some humor or an entertaining story about your product. Further steps may be required, such as talking to them over the phone, face to face, or by email. This can help to address their concerns and answer any questions they have. It can also lead to getting valuable feedback on why consumers might not be interested in your product or choose to shop elsewhere. When marketing to other businesses, they will still have questions, but tend to make decisions based on logic, rather than emotion. If they can’t instantly see the appeal of what you’re offering, they may find another business who can provide that.

That said, it can be more time-consuming to convert a new B2B customer. Rather than simply buying on the spot or after one conversation, there could be one or more formal meetings. In those, you will have to strategize by coming up with a step-by-step plan involving presentations and sending over facts and figures after initially piquing their interest with written content. Although it is beneficial to make the presentations more entertaining and less like a chore for your audience to sit through, the main emphasis of your online marketing will still be on what you can offer, and the chance of seeing results.

The amount of people you deal with

Although marketing to consumers means reaching out to as many individuals as possible to fulfill a common need or gap in the market, B2B marketing needs to be more tailored to a specific business or type of business, while also presenting your ideas and sales pitch to several people within that company. You may initially deal with someone further down the command chain before being referred to someone higher in the management structure. They will have more knowledge of the business needs, so your marketing strategy will have to be adapted to them. Whoever makes the final decision will be highly educated and knowledgeable, so even the slightest mistake or unclear answer could make them say no. If you’re one of several similar businesses trying to convert them into a customer, the way you interact with people in different departments could be the thing which convinces them to work with you.

Consumers will purchase on word of mouth from family and friends who have either tried your product or have seen your marketing content and passed it on to them. That is unlikely to happen with businesses.