Marketing is marketing, so all things being equal, business-to-business (B2B) marketing will be the same as business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, right?
Wrong, B2B and B2C are two different forms of commercial transaction, with ordering costs and business support systems that differ in scope and complexity. The primary difference between B2B and B2C marketing comes down to the buyers’ attitude towards the purchase.
Individual consumers make a purchasing decision based on personal, social and psychological factors. They seek perceived benefits such as status, value, function and quality. In contrast, business buyers make buying decisions using on logic and rationality, and based on the need to increase profit, reduce costs and boost productivity.
Marketing to other businesses
With B2B marketing the purchasing process is more complex and has significantly higher ordering costs than that of an individual consumer. Often the procurement procedure will involve group decision-making, a hierarchy approval process and the negotiation of payments, terms and conditions.
With B2B transactions, cycle times are longer and contracts are more extensive. These factors, along with the need to raise purchase orders and process invoices, all contribute to the greater ordering costs for business buyers.
Business customers are seeking efficiency and expertise, therefore it is necessary to deliver highly detailed, targeted marketing content. Catch up on the basics of B2B marketing here.
Marketing to the customer
B2C marketing is about reaching consumers with an attractive proposition that first creates awareness and interest, and then converts that interest into a sale. Consumers are more interested in deals and entertainment. Their purchases are emotionally driven and marketing needs to be useful, humorous and have short and snappy shareable content.
Marketing is most effective with customers who have already had a positive experience with your product or brand. Satisfied customers are likely to become repeat customers who not only buy more, but are more likely to engage in positive word-of-mouth and third-party endorsements through friends and social media.
Unlike B2B clients, B2C customers are buying for personal use and payment is generally made via cash, debit or credit at the point-of-sale with negligible ordering costs.
A B2B business who offers products and services to other businesses, will need to establish credibility in the eyes of the buyer. Marketing resources should be invested into materials that are specifically targeted to your business clients and that offer them everything they need to make a reasoned and logical buying decision.
Marketing content should be educational, it should provide detailed information and expertise to assist business clients and help them to determine the value of your product or service. Quality materials should be supported by testimonials and other activities that help to build trust.
In a B2C business, you need to understand what motivates your buyer behaviour and the characteristics that drive their purchasing decisions. Create captivating marketing tools that build brand awareness, enhance their comfort in buying from you, and project quality service and best price.
When planning your marketing campaigns, it is essential to remember what is important to your target audience and design material that speaks to them.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.