Are We Bridging The Gap Between B2B And B2C Marketing?
In recent years, it has become an increasingly popular opinion that the similarities between B2B and B2C marketing are growing. Many analysts are now beginning to state that all marketing should be treated as ‘human to human’ and we should not focus on differentiating how we are pitching to businesses from how we approach customers. At the end of the day, we’re all marketing to a human being on the other side of our campaigns, right?
Well, while this idealistic approach would have us focus our creativity toward the human aspect, there are still some large differences between B2B and B2C marketing, and we must treat them accordingly. However, that doesn’t mean that the gap between the two types isn’t getting smaller, does it?
Being More Human
When we are marketing we have a lot to consider, but it is also safe to say that every way that we market involves communication with people. After all, humans are our only target audience. It’s also true that everyone that we market to in a B2B setting is acting in a professional manner as the face of their business, but that doesn’t make them any less human, right?
This is even more important to remember in the digital age where we need to focus on the fact that we are marketing to real people. In fact, B2B buyers prefer to do their own research on products and services, so it becomes vital to create engaging content to draw them in to this. Much like B2C marketing, you want to entice them with interesting, varying content such as infographics, articles and more. If you approach your marketing this way, you can then focus on targeting the type of people that you want to read your content and engage with you regarding your product or service.
One of the main reasons that businesses and customers alike prefer personalised and engaging content is that it makes more of a connection with them. By using a more personalised approach to your B2B marketing, you can take the time to build more trust and, in turn, establish a relationship with the consumer. In short, personalisation is transferable across every type of marketing, and that is no different for B2B marketing.
Social Media Is Key
Nowadays, there is no escaping social media. You can refrain from using it personally if you choose, but even then it will still affect your daily life. Social media is so ingrained in modern day life that it is too important to skip in your marketing, whether B2B or B2C. Interesting social content is a fantastic way to keep your customer base interacting with you, which in turn draws more interest in your product or service that you are offering.
One of the main things that social media allows us to do is often almost forgotten in the days of content-driven posts. The key component of social media is opening dialogue. These platforms were created to help people share and connect, and we need to remember to do exactly that. If your company has a solution to a problem, why not open a dialogue with your followers regarding that problem? Then you can lead on to discuss the solution and how you can help them after you’ve shown some empathy regarding the issue.
However, can we truly bridge the gap between B2B and B2C marketing on social media? The principles are the same, but the social media strategies need to fundamentally be different. In B2B marketing, you are trying to present your company in a professional manner, but you are presenting it on a largely colloquial platform. At the same time, you want to think of ways that you can connect and express shared interest with your clients/followers online. If you were networking with someone in person, the best way to do this would be to identify shared interests. This is no different with online as you can show your followers exactly what your company is about and create an identify that people want to engage with.
Target your audience in the same way
Obviously when you are marketing in any form you will want to define your target audience first. We know that, but it is more about how you target your audience that links B2B and B2C marketing. You must work out exactly the same things when considering who you market to. This includes focusing on which platforms your audience uses most, what time of day they’re most likely active, what posts they interact with most and how they search for services.
This is exactly the same way for both types of marketing as you need to remember that you are dealing with real people and their human habits. Once you understand to look at it this way, then you can really define your target audience and ensure that you get the most out of your content that you put online.
We must also remember that while we are marketing to a business, we’re not marketing to a business. We’re marketing to people within the business - there are multiple people to consider. For example, if you were to market a product that could be useful in hospitals, you don't market to the hospital. Instead, you’ll market to doctors that will want to have this product in the hospital to use in the workplace, but you’ll also need to market to the hospital’s board to show how it can benefit the hospital as a whole in terms of productivity and being cost effective.
So we can see that the gap between B2B and B2C marketing definitely is shrinking. After all, it is important to make human connections with people for anything to resonate with them. It seems that the fundamental principles of marketing help to blur the lines between B2B and B2C, but we cannot avoid the fact that they both target people in completely different settings.
Next read: Cracking The B2B Content Challenge
Next read: Cracking The B2B Content Challenge