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What does B2B and B2C mean?
B2B (Business to Business) models consist of businesses focused on selling services to other businesses to help them support their enterprise operations and growth. For example, a company like Suzuki would need a customer relationship management system to create seamless customer support for their business, which is where HubSpot (another business) would come in and help them install and run the CRM.
On the other hand, a B2C (Business to consumer) model concentrates on selling directly to a consumer in an aim to solve an everyday issue. Our world is filled with examples of B2C businesses such as Coles, Woolworth, Ford, Toyota and many more.
Now, with this in mind, let’s jump into how a marketer would market to these very different types of models.
B2B – Build personal relationships
The B2B market is relationship driven. You are expected to build a relationship with your customer, help them expand their knowledge, and give them reasons to select you as the best solution for their company before they trust you enough to hand over their time and resources. This is where lead nurturing comes in which is discussed later in this article.
I would recommend investing in a good CRM (Customer relationship Management) system which easily helps you create the lead nurture funnel. My personal favorite CRM and funnel which I use literally every day is HubSpot. They are one of the best CRMs in the world when it comes to customer service and they will help you create a nurture funnel personalized to your business to ensure business growth.
Image 1 A customer journey funnel – Source Hubspot
B2C Transactional relationship
When it comes to transactional B2C relationships, you need something more than a customer relationship focused system. You need an enterprise resource system (ERP) which can manage your production, manufacturing, supply chain management, logistics, CRM, finance and accounting, analytics and reporting all in one place and can share that data across multiple locations such as warehouse, stores, and your remote sales team online and offline
Some of the best ERP systems to achieve this are SAP Business One and MYOB Advanced. Both these systems help streamline your business process and in turn help you focus on what’s important, your customer! After all, giving your customers the ability to seamlessly find the product they are looking for, pay for it, provide them with live updates on the products arrival, and perhaps even supporting them after the transaction is complete will ensure returning customers.
This is more of a company process decision rather than a marketing decision. However, marketing can influence this decision and make sure this takes place sooner rather than later because these ERP systems also have Marketing and Sales CRM abilities which will only make your job easier.
B2B – More logic driven
Paid marketing for the two models is different. For B2B market, the social media ads and Google ads are both logic driven. They consist of facts, are focused on solving problems, and step forward to help customers expand their knowledge.
You are more likely to see higher impressions on your ads rather than high conversions of leads. The ads are used more for brand awareness rather than generating customers. Here is an example of successful brand awareness ads generated by HubSpot.
Image 2 Paid ad example by HubSpot
B2C- Emotional, the more people you reach, the more sales you get
On the other hand, B2C marketing is more dependent on emotions, and asks for an action to be taken by the viewer straight away. Nike and other known brands are the best example of paid ads which touch the strings of your heart.
The main aim of B2C paid marketing should always be increasing sales one way or another. You are more likely to get sales straight away from ads on Social media and Google because your audience expects you to have quick payment automation set up for them.
Image 3 Paid ad example from Nike and David’s Tea on Instagram
Decision Making process
B2B More long-term Nurture
The underlying motivation of B2B business is functionality and profit. The service you are providing, is it going to solve their biggest business concern? Will it do so in the most reasonable amount of cost and time? Will the customer service be personalised and delightful? All these questions are only answered when a relationship is built with the B2B customer and trust is present in the relationship. This in turn also makes the decision-making process longer. You cannot sell to a B2B customer from day one. Think of it as a human relationship. It’s like asking someone to marry you on the first date! Will they marry you? Answer is a straight no (usually!). Will they freak out and run away? (Most likely!).
Therefore, lead nurturing is important. Ease them into the relationship. Let them learn a few things about you before you start selling something to them. Record their information in your database for your reference and send them information personalised to them.
B2C More immediate and simple
B2C customers are out there actively looking for a solution to improve their everyday lives in some way. They are actively changing between brands, comparing different products online and in-store, and making decisions based on emotional release.
You can sell your product to a B2C customer from day one! The transaction is much more direct and focuses on the benefits of solving problems.
There are many reasons why identifying the target audience is important for your company. Here are some of those reasons:
- Determining your target audience can help you identify your target market focus for marketing in the most cost-effective way.
- You will be able to create more specific messaging. For example: for my bikini store, I know my target audience is between 14-25. Hence, I use a lot of ‘millennial jargon’ in my ads. The same couldn’t be applied to a software product or consulting service.
- Spending time on identifying your target audience can also help you find an under-served market. Finding a market which your competitor is not yet honing in on, could be like hitting the jackpot, a whole new market which you can sell to without competition.
I have heard from many businesses which appear to be shy about creating and sharing their content with businesses. Some of their biggest fears include
- What if the blog is not good enough?
- What if I have shared a fact which is completely wrong?
- What if I make a spelling error?
All the above are valid points, however you cannot learn to fly until you jump. According to Stratabeat, 80% of businesses express that they want to read company information in the form of content rather than advertisements. So, you really have no choice anymore!
Initially there will be mistakes. However, you can overcome them by reading and researching your focus topics thoroughly. You can talk to copywriters and have them write your articles if necessary. You do not have to re-invent the cycle. Google your topic and see what comes up to help you polish those little details in your blog or video. However, please for the love of your business, DO NOT plagiarise.
B2C content is all about the product and how it solves a problem and hits the emotional response. Create content which is a good mix of discussing how your product solves a problem, do price, quality and service comparisons between products, and don’t be shy about letting them know why your product is the best in the market. B2C is all about transactional persuasion.
For example, a bikini store that’s focused on providing bikinis for women of all sizes at cost-effective prices. You might want to highlight the marketing elements you’re pushing, like contacting influencers of all body types and sharing their stories through blogs and social media.
This can help you reach an audience that has a particular problem – such as finding safe bikinis which are tailored for all body types. By showing your target audience actually engaging with or using your product, you can further relate your business to their needs.
Marketing to the two types of model, B2B or B2C is not rocket science. It is very much common sense. However, if you as a marketer or business do not do proper research, genuinely care about your customers and provide original content, the job of attracting the rights leads to your business becomes an impossible task.