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Business-to-business (B2B) marketing focuses on directly aiming product advertising to other companies. It’s a significantly different process than business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing. While on the surface, they may seem the same, the fact remains that there are fundamental differences between both marketing methodologies. A company that focuses on a business clientele will go about creating buzz and attracting customers differently than those who market to individual consumers.
Some marketing principles spread across both of the fields. Both B2B and B2C marketers have to recognize their consumers as individuals and seek to provide value to them through their delivery of products and services. However, several principles are unique to B2B as compared to B2C. Elements such as scale, tone and the type of information necessary for the client to make a decision differ between the two.
These eight professionals from Ad Age Collective are well-versed in what the difference steps are between B2B and B2C campaigns. Here, they try to explain those differences, and why they are so fundamental for consideration when comparing B2B to B2C marketing efforts.
B2B is a long-term strategy, providing solutions for an exponential increase in KPIs and aiming to reduce friction and function seamlessly as an integral part of your strategy. B2C marketing is more immediate, with short-term results and measurements. It focuses on larger audiences and the constantly changing behavior. It is more experiential and emphasizes instant rewarding in the short term. – Oz Etzioni, Clinch
It’s more what I would do for B2C that helps tackle B2B. B2B marketing is all about the customers of the client. But ultimately, the customers either sell to consumers, or are consumers themselves. So think about the multiple layers of audiences when crafting a marketing plan. Always look at how what you do impacts the end consumer, and how what is happening in their life can impact business. – Maggie O’Neill, Peppercomm
The biggest difference between B2B and B2C marketing is the critical choice of platform and message distribution for B2B marketing. Channel is perhaps the most important marketing mix decision: where, when and how to reach and influence key decision-makers. Narrowing these choices to be as close to the decision-maker and the decision-making moment as possible is the biggest key to B2B success. – Marc Landsberg, SOCIALDEVIANT
For a B2B campaign, you have to remember you’re speaking to a business or small business owner who needs to have a product or service that will enhance their operation or help generate substantial leads for their company at a larger scope. A B2C campaign focuses on an individual product or service that helps enhance the individuals’ needs, so it typically has a more singular focus. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
These days, B2B has a lot in common with B2C. In both, you have to surprise and emotionally engage a human being with the best argument for making an expensive choice. The main difference is how to surround that human being with buzz and peer recommendation — the avenues for gaining that buzz in the consumer arena may be more diverse, but B2B targets are as social and screen-immersed as anyone. – Scott Montgomery, Bradley and Montgomery (BaM)
The B2B buyer is a buying team where around 10 people make the final decision. Each of these buyers have consumer-grade expectations for an omnichannel, personalized experience. Not to mention, sales cycles can be over a year and things get complex fast. This is why AI is critical — no human can take in intent signals across channels and connect them to buying teams to orchestrate great experiences. – Latane Conant, 6sense
B2C can use tactics of emotional appeals extremely effectively. While B2B can also use these same tactics to build rapport, it isn’t enough. B2B clients are seeking a demonstrable result that isn’t always applicable in B2C. It might be ROI, revenue growth or an increased subscriber count — regardless, your messaging needs to incorporate proven evidence and statistics to back up your claims. – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap
When it comes to B2B marketing, I would add more technical details than I would in B2C marketing. B2B customers care about getting the right product specifications for their needs and helpful customer service, whereas B2C customers care about the end result. I would approach B2B marketing with more data and facts due to these differences. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
The Ad Age collective is an invitation-only, fee-based membership organization of leaders shaping marketing and media who share their expertise and insights with the Ad Age audience. To be considered for the Ad Age collective, learn more here.
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