You have probably heard of B2B and B2C marketing and perhaps have wondered what these nifty acronyms refer to. Basically, they describe the audience a business must market their product to. B2B refers to Business-to-Business and B2C refers to Business-to-Consumer. There are significant differences in the way in which products and services would appeal to and be received by these different audiences, and of course, customised marketing to your target audience is the best method for success in sales. Let us consider what attributes the B2B and B2C buyers have and how marketing should be adapted for them.
The B2B buyer
The B2B buyer is a knowledgeable and expert person who understands your product or service and has researched what their needs are and what specific product will meet it. They will have a high level of comprehension and therefore any marketing needs to be aimed at their superior understanding, using language and information accordingly.
The B2C buyer
This buyer is predominantly driven by price and entertainment, seeking suppliers that offer the best deal and meet their need for entertainment or package appeal. However, B2C customers are also significantly influenced by reliability and trust. If a company can prove themselves in these areas, they may well be successful at securing the custom.
Marketing for the B2B buyer
Given the higher level of expertise of the B2B buyer in a given field, the marketing can incorporate jargon or concepts relating to the product. In fact, the B2B customers might actually feel the product or service will be more reliable and superior in quality if less time is spent on the packaging or clever marketing campaigns with more focus on facts and figures relating the product’s performance. Given that B2B buyers have a specific need that must be met and that they appreciate facts, figures and details, it is important to research them and their needs and seek to adapt the marketing and product for the requirement they have. An aspect of this market research should incorporate customer feedback, which is highly useful in ascertaining the suitability of the product or marketing campaign.
A key aspect of the B2B buyer is that the buying process can be extremely lengthy. This is because of systems in a company to ensure products are well-researched and fit-for-purpose and so several layers of research, validation and justification have to happen before a decision on purchase is made by the purse-string controllers higher up. Therefore, it is imperative that the marketing campaign respects this process and extends the ‘marketing funnel’ to suit. This may mean the provision of detailed manuals and how-to videos so that education and engagement with the target audience are the focus rather than simply selling to them. It may perhaps be useful to have some market research completed ahead of time so that it can be presented to the buyer’s bosses for quicker and easier decision-making.
Marketing for B2C buyer
The B2C buyer has a short attention-span which must be captured quickly and aggressively to be converted into a sale. To do this, marketing campaigns need to be targeted and benefit-focused. The clear benefits and positive aspects of the product or service need to be clearly outlined. B2C buyers want to be told information rather than encouraged to research it for themselves, therefore anything that is snappy, attention-grabbing, positive and to-the-point will be more successful.
The B2C buyer operates on an emotional level where they will be influenced by how the product may change their life as opposed to the ingredients it has in it. Therefore, the marketing campaigns must be relatable and build a rapport with them. An excellent example of this is Lululemon, who created personas relatable to their target audience and experienced significant global success as a result. It is important to develop content that has a human component or story perhaps and that uses emotive words, highlighting the prominence the product will have in the consumer’s life.
Consider your customers
B2B and B2C customers are vastly different in their motivations and requirements and therefore a product and more importantly, marketing, needs to be adapted to suit their understanding and needs. In order to do this, a company needs to have a good knowledge of their customers, purchasing trends and preferences. Inventory management and marketing software can be exceedingly useful in achieving this with fantastic packages being readily available.