The marketing funnel is a representation of the customer/buyer journey, from a sales/marketing perspective. Its visualisation extends from the initial ‘awareness’ stage, where they first learn about your business/product, all the way through to purchase.
Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers aim to capture the attention of two distinct audiences. And although there are many similarities between these types of marketing, how they engage audiences on each channel is actually quite different – Hubspot
Similar to the average kitchen utensil, the marketing funnel starts wide and gets progressively narrower as you move down. The idea is that you cast a broader net in the early stages to capture as many leads as possible, and then slowly nurture prospective customers, narrowing down those buyers in each stage of the funnel until they reach the final stage – purchase.
So, how does the marketing funnel differ between B2B and B2C marketing? The truth is, the stages of the marketing funnel don’t differ at all. The differences lie in how each respective individual buyer or group moves through the funnel. Now, it is important to note that there are many visualisations of the marketing funnel circulating however, majority of marketers agree that there are 6 stages of the funnel. Starting from the top – awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation and purchase. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s unpack how B2B buyers move through the funnel compared to B2C.
1. Targeting – Individual vs. Groups
B2C businesses are generally targeting their products towards the individual buyer as they are personal purchases. This means that the consumer (in most cases) does not need permission from anyone and does not need to consult anyone before purchasing. Conversely, B2B buyers typically have a few hoops to jump through before finalising the purchasing decision. In fact, the average B2B buying group is 5.4 people. This means that there are multiple influencers and decision-makers involved in the process and consequently, consumers filtering through the B2B sales funnel are going to take much longer than a B2C customer.
2. Motivation – Rational vs Emotional
Unsurprisingly, the motivation behind a B2B vs B2C consumer is very different. We are talking about a personal purchasing decision compared to a business purchasing decision.
Given that B2C customers are making purchasing decisions for personal motivations, they are generally more emotionally driven and impulsive. Conversely, B2B buyers are logical, rational and results driven, as their decision will impact a larger group of people. Furthermore, often B2B purchases are significantly larger from a monetary perspective; therefore rationality must remain at the forefront of these decisions.
3. Sales Cycle & Decision Time
B2B sales cycles are significantly longer than B2C purchasers. This is for a multitude of reasons. As mentioned above, there are more people involved in a B2B purchase, and these transactions are generally at a much higher price point and have a longer intended life cycle. Naturally, these decisions require more research and assessment to ensure the right decision is being made.
4. Customer Relationships
The relationship between the business and the customer differs tremendously across B2B and B2C purchasers. Think about the last time you made a purchase online; most likely you did not even speak to anyone from the brand before finalising your purchase. In the B2B world, generally, you would have a dedicates sales representative to nurture you through the sales/marketing funnel until you are ready to make your decision. By engaging with a sales rep, businesses are hoping to build trust and brand loyalty to encourage repeat purchases and longer relationships.
The marketing funnel gives marketers a visual representation of the buyer journey for B2B and B2C customers. The differentiation between the two are evident in how we, as marketers, use and interpret the funnel but more importantly, from how customers filter through and how we communicate with them. By understanding how a B2B vs B2C buyer navigates through each stage of the marketing funnel we can leverage this understanding to nurture them through the sales cycle and building loyal and lasting relationships.
For more information about the topics discussed in this article, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of B2B marketing consultants. With extensive experience in B2B digital marketing, B2B social media marketing, lead generation and more, we’re experts in creating valuable online customer experiences that drive brilliant results.
From all of the team at the Lead Agency, we hope you stay safe and healthy during these uncertain times.