When it comes to being a business owner, one of the first questions you should answer is what kind of business you’re actually running, i.e. are you managing a business-to-business operation or a business-to-consumer operation? The second question you should be able to answer is whether or not you know and understand the difference?
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B2B and B2C businesses may not seem all that different from a marketing perspective, but each requires unique tactics in order to successfully position themselves to their target audiences. To help your business succeed – be it a B2B or B2C organization – we’ll break down the fundamental differences and explain how to approach each audience based on the nature of your business.
In the B2B world, building and fostering long-term relationships is highly critical. B2B businesses tend to build close and authentic relationships that can span five to 10 years. B2B firms often look for someone they can trust and count on in times of need. In turn, B2B marketing professionals need to focus on selling a brand in addition to selling a product.
On the other hand, B2C businesses develop more short-term relationships with customers due to the nature of their products or services. Most consumers look to a B2C brand for spontaneous, one-time purchases and often consider pricing as a major selling point – they’re not necessarily focused on building rapport with that brand. B2C brands should focus more on marketing the efficiencies of their products/services and seek to catch a consumer’s attention.
The Buying Cycle
When it comes to the sales process, B2B businesses deal with a significantly longer sales cycle than B2C businesses, mainly because buyers are spending more time researching a solution before they make a purchase. B2B companies often work with contracts and must deal with a lengthy chain of command, such as sales personnel, managers and accountants, before closing a deal. This longer time frame means B2B businesses must spend significantly more time nurturing leads and fostering relationships that they’ve successfully built.
As aforementioned, B2C sales more often than not cater to immediate needs, placing a significant importance in making a product stand out. B2C marketing often involves advertising campaigns, point-of-sale displays and even beacons.
Scope of Audience
Traditionally, B2B businesses interact with a much smaller audience than B2C businesses. B2B companies typically specialize in one sector and cater to a highly educated, niche audience within that field.
B2C companies tend to have multiple products and serve an audience of a much broader scale. Rather than focusing on one specific audience, a B2C organization’s target audience may range from busy professionals, to college students and working moms.
When it comes to providing consumers with content, B2B organizations should focus on offering detailed and informative material. B2B consumers want to know everything about a product, in addition to how it can be implemented into their business to improve productivity. B2B businesses should still be creative in delivering the message. For example, use a video to demonstrate how a product can be used in various ways, or how it differentiates itself from the rest of the competition. B2B buyers expect to be provided with valuable content, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking to be inspired.
In contrast, B2C content should be playful, engaging and aim to intrigue consumers. With significantly more product options in the B2C space, consumers want short and sweet content that allows them to make a purchasing decision quickly.
In today’s digital world, both B2B and B2C brands should be active on social media, but communication channels differ when it comes to conveying specific information to customers. B2B brands must focus on fostering and nurturing those long-term relationships, making email marketing and direct phone calls the most important medium for communication.
B2C brands who don’t need to connect one-on-one with consumers, can use a variety of methods for communication, such as TV commercials or print campaigns, to reach the masses. The main thing to grasp is that you need to use the channels that connect with your target audiences.
Whether you are running a B2B or B2C business, understanding the fundamental differences is imperative to effectively communicating and interacting with your target audience. Focus on the five areas outlined above and your business will be on a path to marketing prosperity.
Still feel like your business needs a little help? Download our free B2B email templates to jumpstart your relationship building! Our templates will walk you through the entire lead nurturing process, from initial outreach to closing customers and requesting referrals. With a little help, you can be the smooth talker we always knew you were.