Much of the marketing that takes place on social media is Business to Consumer (B2C). But Business to Business (B2B) is every bit as prevalent – and every bit as important. Today, we’re going to talk about the core differences between the two, specifically in terms of how it relates to your marketing strategy.
You’re Tapping Into A Different Decision-Making Process
There are many reasons a consumer might purchase a particular product or service.
Maybe they like the culture of the brand that produces it. Maybe their friends and family recommended it. Maybe they saw an ad the found compelling and decided to give it a try.
A business audience tends to be a bit more discerning. Generally, they’re looking to serve a specific need or overcome a specific problem. Their motivations are far more rational, and their decision-making process far more logical.
They may still form an emotional connection with a particular brand or enjoy a particular business’s culture, of course – but that’s not the sole driver of their decision. They want to know what makes your product or service different from the competition. What can you do for their business that the competition cannot?
More importantly, how does your product slot into their existing budget, and what sort of return on investment does it offer?
You’re Building a Different Relationship
Consumers want personal relationships with the brands they buy from. They want a business that knows and understands them. A business, as we’ve already established, with which they have a personal connection of some kind. They don’t want to be actively sold to – they want to be engaged with.
Business customers, meanwhile, are looking for a business partnership at most. They understand that you’re trying to sell them something, and they want you to do so. They want you to establish why they should purchase your product, and how it will save them time and money.
It’s still important to understand their needs. But you’re approaching them from a much more professional bent than with consumers.
B2B is More Focused on Thought Leadership
Our last entry comes with a bit of a caveat, as there’s definitely some overlap here. Showing you know and understand your market is important for both B2B and B2C. But generally speaking, B2B branding focuses far more on what makes the business a thought leader than B2C.
How well do you understand their vertical? What do you know about the unique challenges faced by their industry, and how can you help them solve those challenges? What industry-recognized certifications or awards does your company hold, and what does that say about you?
Most consumers aren’t going to ask questions like that, because they don’t necessarily care – they’re more interested in your products and your brand.
Granted, there’s a bit more to both B2C and B2B marketing than we’ve outlined here. That said, this should suffice as a brief primer on how the two differ from one another. Hopefully, you now understand each set of marketing tactics a little better and how to excel in them.