Can You Use B2C Strategies in Your B2B Marketing?
As a company with a business-to-business delivery model, your marketing is very different than that you see on television. You may feel as though you’re speaking different languages - and yet their messages are the ones that stick in your head. Don’t worry, there’s a very good reason that this is happening, and a way that you can give your own marketing a boost with it as well.
What you’re observing is two wildly different approaches to marketing, based on the fact that the target audiences are fundamentally different. Your company, a business-to-business (B2B) operation, seeks to target other businesses with your products and services. Things that you see advertised on television are usually what businesses are offering directly to consumers, giving them a business-to-consumer (B2C) focus. This, the target, is what makes all the difference to your marketing strategy.
Understanding the Differences
As you’re marketing yourself to your audience, you need to keep who it is you’re talking to in mind. Business customers will have much different priorities and preferences than the everyman customer will, and your messaging therefore has to adjust before you can effectively reach one or the other.
As we’ve outlined in the chart pictured here, the differences that marketing to a business audience versus a consumer audience are quite diverse. From the approach you take to the motivations that drive this approach, there are effectively two different processes outlined in this chart. One is a widespread blitz to see as much return as possible, the other an extended courtship to develop trust.
Just because the approach is different, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t use some of your tools interchangeably. Your service and sales process for either approach should, actually, has to revolve around what your target needs. Audiences from both ends are increasingly motivated to learn as much as they can about an offering before making a purchase decision. In many ways, businesses in the B2B space are drifting more toward the middle of the spectrum, as are B2C companies that offer more and more information in their marketing.
B2C Tactics Directed to Businesses
As a result of all this, some familiar tactics leveraged by B2C marketing can easily be made use of in the B2B space.
First, you want to associate what you offer with the solution, not the problem. Your services as an MSP, for instance, aren’t fixing the shortcomings of their current technology, they are delivering an improved experience for your client that will allow them to make better use of this technology. You’re not fixing a problem or fulfilling a need, you’re allowing them to accomplish more as a part of their team. Creating an emotional connection to your business and what it offers will help to keep your brand relevant and your audience engaged with your ‘nut-and-bolts” content.
Part of this includes making greater use of social media. Businesses targeting consumers directly have made excellent use of social media as an engagement tool, as well as just another means of exposure for their brand. B2Bs are also adopting social media for similar reasons, enjoying these benefits while directing their services to interested prospects for little financial cost.
Another key to emulating B2C in your marketing, and your entire customer experience, is to make it as easy for the customer as possible. It is important to remember that your customer is interacting with you voluntarily - nothing would be easier for them than to disengage and do something else. Even though they are acting on behalf of a company, you’re still communicating with people - so connecting them to your brand on an emotional level will only assist you in reaching your goals.
How Much is Too Much?
It is crucial to remember that while it is important to leverage some of the strategies that a B2C company would - a focus on benefits over features, prioritizing customer service, and speaking to the human side - you need to also remember that your audience is still very different, and these differences need to be respected. Your customers are going to be more cautious than the “buy now” consumer market, and so you’re going to have to play a longer game to convert them, providing more evidence of value than a B2C product does.
Furthermore, your marketing still needs to match the impression you are trying to generate about your own company, as well as the internal culture your customers should expect to encounter. Too much B2C influence may overwhelm this and give your audience a different impression of you than you want to encourage.
When all is said and done, your B2B strategy should take some points from the B2C approach, but your end result should be the pleasant marriage of the two. We offer services to help get you started, as well as to sustain your efforts in the future. Check out the rest of our website and blogs to learn more, or talk to us directly by reaching out.