When most people hear the term 'marketing', they think of Business-to-Consumer marketing, or B2C marketing. B2C is the marketing that most of us experience on a day to day basis, things like marketing for restaurants, gaming apps, household cleaning supplies, beauty products, movies, hotels, and the like. Anything that is a product or service for a consumer is B2C.
There's another kind of marketing that is less mainstream, but just as important: business-to-business marketing, or B2B. B2B marketing is used by companies who sell their products and services to other companies (rather than to consumers). Companies like advanced manufacturers, business service suppliers, and equipment testing providers. Read this article for more about B2B companies.
B2C and B2B marketing are different. That's because the buyers in a B2C situation behave differently than the buyers in a B2B environment. When you have buyers who behave differently, it’s important to take a different approach to marketing. Here are a few more of the key differences between B2B and B2C marketing.
But just because B2B and B2C have different buyer behavior, it doesn’t mean there's no opportunity for B2B marketers to learn from B2C. While keeping the differences between B2B and B2C marketing in mind, there are great lessons B2B marketers can take from B2C.
Here are 5 ideas to help B2B marketers increase awareness, brand reputation and lead generation, borrowed from our B2C marketing cousins:
1. Focus On Visuals
One thing many B2C brands are doing on social media is to use a lot of beautiful visuals. However, it’s often difficult to market products visually that many people don’t consider “sexy” or “exciting products” (as is the case with many B2B companies). But, there are many ways you can do it, even if you have only one or two products. For example, you can showcase the different ways your products can be used. Or you can show the people who use or make them, as they go about their day. Think creatively - the possibilities can be endless.
2. Provide A Lot of Information
Some B2B companies have limited information on their websites, in order to encourage buyers to contact their sales reps and set up a meeting or demonstration.
But B2Bs should think about the new generation of workers and employees –Millennials are slowly, but surely, taking over decision making roles in B2B companies. These are people who are used to pulling out their smartphones and looking up pictures and reviews of anything they want to use or buy, from restaurants to power generators. As I wrote about in The Radical Sales Shift, buyers today conduct research autonomously and have usually completed 50% or more of the buying process before they want to talk with a sales person.
B2B companies can embrace this trend and provide information via their websites and marketing materials. This will not deter potential buyers; it encourages high-quality sales leads (who are ready to buy) to filter into your door.
3. Streamline the Buying Process
Another way B2C companies increase sales is by making the buying process as easy as possible. Think of iTunes, Amazon and eBay – they make buying something as easy as clicking or swiping a single button.
Can your business do this? Even if you can't implement one-click buying, can you apply the philosophy of making it as easy as possible for customers to buy. Your competitors are doing it, so you will need to as well.
4. Publish Prices
Placing prices on your products or services used to be taboo among B2B companies. Many sales and marketing people are afraid to publish prices, not just because they want people to contact them, but also because they don’t want buyers to get sticker shock without understanding the value of their product or service.
However, as mentioned earlier, information provision is now essential. As you add more information, like spec sheets, pictures, videos, features lists, etc. onto your website and other marketing materials, you should feel more confident about publishing actual prices. Plus, buyers will feel more at ease seeing actual prices, and they can decide whether your offerings are within their price range or not.
5. Increase Transparency
One of the reasons B2B marketing can take lessons from B2C is because buyers today want their B2B buying experiences to more closely reflect their retail buying experiences. One way B2B marketing can do this is by increasing transparency.
Today, many brands build loyalty from their customers by taking a more personal approach. Buyers don’t want barriers between them and their favorite brands. Instead, they want to be part of the brand. They want their brands to have a more authentic feel and presence.
How can B2B companies achieve this? For starters, you can show some “behind-the-scenes” photos of your business – show your customers that yes, these are real people working on your products. Next, you can also leverage social media to reach out to customers and establish a more personal connection with prospects and customers.
Applying B2C Marketing Methods for B2B
Times are changing, and so is B2B marketing. Taking a few relevant lessons from B2C is one way that B2B marketers can raise their game - and help their companies increase awareness and generate leads.
Want to know more about how you can use B2C tactics in your marketing? The Mezzanine Group is here to help. Book a free, no-obligation consultation to find out what marketing can do for your business.
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