Marketing to consumers and marketing to businesses are two very distinct disciplines, with the B2C space clearly distinguishable from B2B by characteristics like:
- Shorter sales cycles with fewer decision-makers involved
- Less emphasis on education
- More emotionally-driven purchases
- Simpler and less formal brand voice
While these differences are undeniable, they don't necessarily mean professionals focused on one area of marketing have nothing to learn from the methods and tactics used in the other.
If you're currently looking to reinvigorate your B2C marketing and drive ROI, it's worth taking a look at some of the most effective B2B strategies and considering what you can learn from them.
1. Emphasizing data quality
Collection, management, and analysis of data to ensure accurate customer insights and relevant marketing is an essential priority in the B2B space.
Research by Dun & Bradstreet shows that 89% of B2B marketing and sales professionals believe data quality is the key to campaign success and revenue generation.
All modern marketers are well aware of the need for high-quality data, but there’s likely to be a greater emphasis placed on this goal in B2B marketing than in the B2C environment.
B2B marketers attach a lot of importance to ensuring their content is seen by the right people, which helps to minimize wasted resources and increases the likelihood of targeted messages generating engagement and prompting action.
In the B2C space, you can achieve similar results by focusing on data quality and engaging in practices such as:
- Regular data auditing and cleansing
- Elimination of old, inaccurate and duplicated information
- Segmenting your audience into precise categories
2. Customer education
For business customers, one of the key factors in any buying decision is the impact the purchase will have on their company and whether it’ll prove to be a wise, worthwhile investment.
This is why B2B marketing often revolves around education. Brands want to give their customers and leads as much information as possible to help them reach the necessary level of confidence to commit to a purchase.
In the B2C space, consumers are more accustomed to brands adopting informal, lighthearted tones and seeking to entertain rather than educate. Buying decisions are also more likely to be based on emotion and gut feeling than in the B2B environment, where buyers have to take an impartial, pragmatic approach.
However, some B2C firms could have just as much to gain from educating their audience as B2B organizations do. If the product or service you're selling has a level of complexity to it - a piece of computer software, for example - providing educational content can help consumers feel more familiar with it and more likely to make a purchase.
This also provides an opportunity to showcase some of the benefits of your product while delivering value to the customer and without being too 'salesy'.
3. Building detailed profiles
Many B2C brands could benefit from following the common B2B practice of building detailed buyer profiles.
Most businesses will already have a picture of their typical customer that covers essential demographic details, but successful B2B marketers tend to go a lot deeper in an effort to really know their target audience and anticipate their needs.
A detailed profile could include useful information such as:
- Customer motivations and priorities
- Common pain points that you can help to address
- Behavioral characteristics that influence how people are likely to act in particular situations
Armed with this sort of information, you'll be in a stronger position to deliver the right marketing messages at the right time to gain valuable engagement with your audience.
4. Lead nurturing and qualification
Lead nurturing and qualification are vital objectives in the B2B marketing space. Customer decision making and sales cycles are longer and more complex in this environment, so the marketing department dedicates a lot of time to supporting prospects along their buying journey. Qualifying leads before passing them on to sales is just as important to ensure that time and resources aren't being wasted on dead ends.
It's true that sales cycles are shorter and purchasing decisions less complicated in the B2C sector, but that doesn't mean brands have nothing to gain from lead qualification and nurturing.
You could benefit from grouping prospective customers into general categories such as 'cold', 'warm' and 'hot' leads, based on their interaction and engagement with you. This makes it easier to decide where to focus your efforts to gain maximum ROI.
Focusing on nurturing leads throughout their buyer journey - even if it's a relatively short process - can also help you gain business from consumers who’ve shown even the smallest interest in your brand, and drive brand loyalty by demonstrating your commitment to your customers.