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B2B vs. B2C: The Digital Marketing Divide

August 9th, 2017 Posted by B2B No Comment yet

By now, we all should have a solid understanding of the differences between the Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) markets. B2B vs. B2C marketing tactics have long been a topic of conversation. With digital marketing continuing to grow in popularity (and effectiveness), it’s important we understand how to get our messages across to these audiences, digitally.

There are three major differences in the B2B vs. B2C digital marketing landscape.

Lifecycle

A key differentiator between B2B and B2C is usually the length of the buyer’s journey. While B2C decisions are often made quite quickly, B2B decisions can take up to 5 years. Digital marketing strategies like lead nurturing are important to support these long lead times. Using marketing automation tools helps us track, monitor and organize leads so sales and marketing teams can focus their efforts based on the lead’s position in their journey. Approaches like these can help keep brands top of mind regardless of audience but are especially important when considering B2B vs. B2C communications.

Buyers

While ultimately we all are “consumers” at the end of the day, B2B purchase decisions are driven by the needs of a business, not simply an individual’s needs. It is because of this that your digital marketing efforts must suit each distinct group’s exposure to media, frame of reference, and situation. Many B2B purchases may require a thorough review process, or at the very least, a pitch to someone’s boss. Consider creating downloadable materials that (a) help you attain contact information for the prospect, and (b) give them rationale and support for a purchase decision. Even further, consider varying media platforms. While Google may be their search engine of choice in their free time, many employees’ PC computers have Bing pre-programmed as a start screen, leaving Bing Search Ads with high conversion rates on B2B calls to action. From a B2C buyer’s perspective, while B2B marketing strategies should be optimized for mobile, ensuring your B2C campaigns are is paramount. A 2015 study confirmed 30% of all e-commerce transactions take place via mobile device—a figure that has no doubt risen in the past two years. When you’re launching your campaigns, remember the majority of them will be accessed via mobile, and the younger your audience, the higher the percentage.

Motivations

As marketers, we know the best way to guide buyers through their journey to a purchase decision is by understanding their motivations and adding value. When it comes to B2B vs. B2C digital marketing, adding value is always king, but certain motivations drive decisions more than others.

B2C marketing focuses heavily on product attributes. While it’s more than just flashy adverts and big media buys, B2C purchases are most often emotional ones. Demonstrate value and make the consumer *want* what you’re selling.

With B2B marketing, relationship building is key. Buyers need to know they can trust an organization to meet their needs. While the attributes are certainly important, providing useful information, demonstrating responsiveness, understanding their needs, and staying top of mind are crucial.

Final Thoughts

While this just begins to scratch the surface about the nuances between B2B vs. B2C digital marketing, considering these three differences helps us hone in our strategies and better understand how to approach these audiences. With longer lead times, more analytical buyers and different motivations, B2B marketing strategies must adapt to suit. Digital marketing tools and approaches like Marketing Automation, Content Marketing, and even social media platforms like LinkedIn have and continue to provide great opportunities for us to break through the clutter and connect with our audiences.

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Sarah Johnson is the Director of Digital Marketing Services with Incentric. She’s a recreational sports enthusiast and is driven by the opportunity to connect people through truly impactful digital strategies. You’ll know it’s her by her “irresistible” fake British accent and steady stream of quips.

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