B2B, B2C... they are both customers and people in the end right? Yes.. but also a big no. There are several important differences to keep in mind when marketing with a B2B or B2C mindset. If you approach them without knowing, the response can be negative due to using the wrong strategies, marketing the wrong features and to the wrong people. The following are key differences of both relationships that you should know before preparing your marketing strategy.
B2C - Maximising the value of the transaction.
B2B - Maximising the value of the relationship.
B2C - Consumers usually make impulse buying decisions based on emotion, price and desire. These are simple sales that can last from minutes to a few days. This process is driven by the product.
B2B - Rational thinking is involved with several approval layers of the business and having to go through the chain of command. These are based on budgets that affect the purchasing decision and their need to increase profits, productivity and reduce costs. Therefore you need to make sure your product meets the needs and approval of everyone in the chain. Facts need to be presented as features they are not looking for will be irrelevant. Sales are complex and can take up to months to complete. This process is driven by relationships.
Size of market:
B2C - Broad markets consisting of a lot of potential customers. Mass market techniques are used.
B2B - Small vertical markets, niche in size, where quality is more important than quantity. Specific and tailored approaches are needed compared to mass market techniques.
Knowledge of consumer:
B2C - The customer is price driven and will usually compare to the competition.
B2B - The buyer is more informed and understands the product/service well since they need it for the survival and profitability of their own business. Since the buyer is more sophisticated, you need to deliver the information and features that they are looking for.
Cost of the sale:
B2C - On average each sale results in a smaller profit individually with a lower return.
B2B - Sales are fewer in number but has a higher return.
How to build value:
B2C - Usually done through repeated advertising to create a brand identity.
B2B - Building personal relationships creates value. Increased social media can work on this value and help build it. Testimonials and reviews will help solidify reputation.
Length of sales relationship:
B2C - Usually lower due to the lower cost of sale, less repeated sales and chances of them jumping onto another product.
B2B - Loyalty is higher due to higher cost of sale and increased chances of them coming back. Process is longer due to testing, demonstrations, budgeting, calculations, while during all this time, the marketer still has to maintain the relationship.
In social media:
B2C - Businesses will try to use social media to spread out their message and reach the mass market, and will try to use it to create sales transactions instantly. B2C will find Facebook as a more successful medium, with a larger and diverse user base and the ability to offer discounts and offers.
B2B - As the target market is more defined, the marketing strategy should also be aimed to strengthen the brand and promote events. LinkedIn is one of the more successful social media sites for B2B marketing due to the concentration of professionals and users seeking answers to problems.
Even though there are many key differences to keep in mind when approaching a marketing campaign to B2B and B2C's, the underlying strategy is to still connect to your audience and find the right medium to reach through to provide a service.