In order to advertise your business properly, you need to be hyper-aware of your customer. Marketing to other businesses and marketing to consumers require different approaches. While there may be some crossover for businesses that sell to both markets, those companies still need to recognize their audience and cater to them specifically.
The first step in creating a successful long-term, evolving campaign is to establish a marketing strategy that’s proven to work for your product or service. In order to do that, you need to understand the key differences between B2B and B2C marketing before you even think about promoting your company through social media or brick-and-mortar outlets.
Once you’ve established a formula that works, you can elaborate on those methods and create advertisements geared towards more specific target demographics. For example, marketing automation allows you to track the results of past campaigns and highlight when and where results are most successful, notes Forbes.
In today’s digital world, targeted marketing is absolutely essential if you want your ads to be seen, and that starts with understanding your customer thoroughly. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three crucial differences in marketing B2B versus B2C.
Emotion versus Logic
Individual consumers are much more likely to buy something based on emotion — just consider any jewelry company’s ad campaigns between the holiday season and Valentine’s Day. Because customers are more impulsive than business purchasers, when marketing to customers, it’s important to clearly highlight the direct benefits that they can expect when utilizing your product or service. This creates a sense of urgency that makes the consumer feel like they must make the purchase.
On the other hand, businesses are much more careful about how they make purchases. They’re not going to buy something simply because it sounds good on paper. A business purchaser is going to look at the cold, hard facts and make an informed decision. Remember: a company’s primary concern is its bottom line.
In order to market to a business effectively, you need to highlight the benefits they get through purchasing your product – not using it. Take a mid-size business like Revgear, for example, that sells martial arts supplies could stress that using reputable gear makes your martial arts academy more respectable, which would lead to an increase in students.
On the other hand, if the same company was selling to individual consumers, it would make more sense to talk about how using pro-quality gear improves performance. While a B2B marketing campaign should certainly mention the performance benefits, the cost-to-value ratio and wholesale purchasing options are usually going to be more interesting to a potential buyer.
Using the same example, there are also features that would appeal to both businesses and consumers. In both campaigns, the company could talk about how buying quality martial arts gear now saves you money in replacement costs in the long run. After all, neither a dojo owner nor a martial arts practitioner is going to be happy if they have to repurchase worn equipment a few months later.
Jargon versus Relatability
This is one of the most drastic differences between B2B and B2C marketing. In a B2B setting, business jargon and technical language can be quite effective. After all, you’re going to have qualified professionals who are going to analyze all of the available data to make an informed, well-thought-out purchase. In short, business buyers are driven by logic.
Customers, however, tend to prefer direct, succinct sales copy. Use simpler language and a friendly tone. In this way, you’re appealing to their emotions, as mentioned earlier. It’s important that your product or service is portrayed as something that would fit into the customer’s lifestyle.
Most consumers don’t spend time comparing and contrasting data – they’re more likely to look at your advertisement briefly, and then make a quick decision as to whether to keep looking or pull the trigger.
Long-Term Relationships versus Quick Sales
In a B2B setting, it’s so important that you make it clear to the business that your company will be used as a long-term resource – not just a one-stop-shop. While acquiring B2B customers is generally more expensive, retaining them is the key to long-term profitability, notes Forbes.
Offering wholesale purchase options is one effective way to get companies to give you their business. Your marketing materials should show that your company is reliable and stable and that your products or services are consistent. Time is money, and businesses are always looking to streamline operations. When a business buyer makes a purchase, there’s a strong chance that they’re going to be a repeat buyer, as long as they’re happy with the transaction.
Conversely, many consumers will buy your product and you’ll never hear from them again. While you should certainly do your best to retain customers, sometimes people just want to buy your product once. You still want to portray your company in the same way, but it’s not quite as critical. Focus on making the sale at that moment, and then the customer will return if they need to.
Business buyers have a much longer chain of command that they need to go through. They often have to get approval from higher-ranking employees. With that in mind, make sure you market your company to the type of people who make the big decisions. To put it simply, B2B marketing requires more hand-holding and support, and B2C marketing requires more appealing to immediate needs and desires.
Be Prepared to Change Your Approach
By now, you should have a better idea of how to market your business, depending on whether you’re B2B or B2C. At the same time, there are no hard rules in the world of marketing. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, be prepared to shift your strategies as needed. When a method is successful, stick with it and do it harder. When something isn’t working, drop it.
Finally, make sure you take advantage of marketing technology to find your target audience and analyze your campaigns. You may be surprised by how your assumptions differ from the data. Sometimes a B2B approach might work better than a B2C one, and vice-versa. There are many factors at play, so keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
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About the Author
Matthew Crescent is a freelance blogger who has been writing about marketing strategies for small businesses for nearly 10 years. When he’s not brushing up against a deadline, he enjoys hiking in the trails near his home in North Carolina.