While at face value B2B and B2C marketing may appear relatively similar, fundamentally each approach is usually incredibly different.
Even though you’re a member of a B2B business, in your day-to-day life, you likely take on the role of a consumer. It’s for this reason that, often, those who work in organisations targeting other businesses are actually far more familiar with B2C marketing strategies.
It’s believed that the average person is exposed to anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 ads every day.
When developing your B2B marketing approach, it’s important to distinguish between how campaigns aimed at consumers and those directed towards businesses differ. To achieve exceptional results your marketing efforts need to be highly relevant to users, all while offering them unique value. If your focus is misguided it won’t resonate with prospects and this will, ultimately, hinder the success of your campaign.
Equipped with a brilliant B2B marketing strategy, you’ll have what it takes to clearly demonstrate an unrivalled comprehension of your target audience’s distinct needs. This, in turn, will help you effectively convey your ability to satisfy such needs better than any of your competitors.
Building a reliable foundation for your campaign is key, and without sound knowledge surrounding B2B marketing and how exactly it works, you will likely struggle to do just that.
The following are some of the key differences between the B2B and B2C buying processes that marketers should be aware of.
Length of the Decision Making Process
While consumers may walk into a store, see a product that resonates with them and decide to give it a try, it’s uncommon for organisations to make purchasing decisions on a whim.
Of course, that’s not to say that customers will never take an extended period of time to consider their purchases. This is typically the case when consumers perceive a particular purchase as expensive, important or when it involves a high level of commitment. For instance, maybe they’re looking to buy a new car, planning a holiday or moving house.
The B2B buying process is often long for these same reasons but, in addition to this, decisions can require approval from various core business members. These individuals will likely be deliberating how the purchasing decision will affect their long-term business objectives and the impact it will impose company-wide. This in itself takes time, as does negotiating and collaboratively reaching an agreement, so when conducting B2B marketing campaigns persistence is key.
Number of Involved Stakeholders
As previously mentioned, when it comes to B2B decision-making, there are usually numerous individuals within the organisation who need to agree on a specific purchase. This means that, when engaging in B2B marketing, you need to directly appeal to members of this specific target audience.
A crucial aspect of this is assuring key decision-makers that they can have confidence in your offering and that it will deliver the results they desire or need to meet their objectives. At the end of the day, the decision they make is going to reflect on them. You need to consistently show them that they are making the right one.
On the other hand, B2C organisations will typically speak directly with only one or two individuals. This means that, often, the B2C purchasing process will have less of a formal structure than that seen in B2B environments where multiple people need to approve decisions. Because of this, such transactions in B2C contexts will generally rely more heavily on building an emotional connection with potential customers.
Length of Relationship
When it comes to B2B marketing, you will almost always have to invest a substantial amount of time into maintaining ongoing relationships with consumers.
For instance, the negotiations that occur between a farmer and a supermarket chain will likely be extensive. If the agreement were to change, the supermarket would likely incur significant costs and be forced to overcome a stream of logistical hurdles. The time and money spent or lost when trying to find another business offering that is ideal for their needs could be substantial.
B2C transactions often don’t involve the same level of commitment. When a consumer buys your product, there is usually little they would need to sacrifice if they decide they’d prefer an alternative. However, this is not always the case. Some B2C brands increase their switching costs, such as Apple who created headphone jacks that aren’t compatible with other phones. The more costs existing customers expect to suffer when switching brands, the less likely they are to make the change.
Your B2B marketing strategy needs to take this into account, ensuring that valuable rapport is built and sustained with prospects and existing customers.
Want to find out more about the intricacies of the B2B purchasing process and what they mean for your marketing strategy? At the Lead Agency, we can help. For more information, get in touch with our B2B digital marketing specialists today.