Why is it so important to deeply understand the differences between B2B and B2C? We can say that the starting point of a marketing strategy is a common ground for B2B and B2C, but when the marketing plan time comes the gap starts to open, and the differences can be critical. It is easy to find plenty of blog posts, white papers, and E-books about the difference between B2B and B2C marketing, but we picked our top 10 up to consider in your marketing plan:
- The size of your target market matters
When talking about the target, size matters. Generally, in a B2B marketing plan, we are attempting to influence notably smaller groups than in a B2C plan. That means fewer prospects than in the consumer market and, of course, different communication channels. For B2B marketing plans, Email and personal meetings are important options to consider.
- ¿Who is listening to us?
As we said in this article dedicated exclusively to audiences (link to Audiences post), B2B and B2C audiences have many things in common. But in spite of the common ground, the typical B2B customer is playing a professional role as an employee or as an entrepreneur, so our messages must be planned accordingly. Our marketing plan is not facing the big and diverse consumers market, but the small and professional. This is a good example of a successful video campaign (superstar included), but is not for every company. On the other hand Inbound Marketing can be a good alternative for a wider range of businesses. This is a real story.
- Choose the right words
There is only one jargon a B2B marketing plan should consider to use: the audience's. In English, Spanish or any other tongue, there are words, terms, and expressions that fit in your customer's day to day routine. The Bright Orange Thread Blog has a good comparison.
- One single buyer vs. groups making decisions
The B2B buying process involves a wide range of people, sometimes big groups of stakeholders (committees, boards, partners, different departments), so that makes it more complicated than in the consumer market. Besides, it is getting even extra complex: the Harvard Business Review reported that in 2017 the number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two to 6.8. That's quite a challenge and the best way to start overcoming it is deeply understand the customer’s purchase journey before conceiving the Marketing Plan.
- Particular customer needs
Seth Godin gives us in his blog a simple but powerful hierarchy of business to business needs.
“If you're selling a product or service to a business--to a non-owner--consider this hierarchy, from primary needs on down:
Making a profit
In most large organizations, nothing happens unless at least one of these needs are met”.
- The sales cycle
With multiple people making decisions in a complex environment much more time is added in comparison with a B2C sale. Negotiation periods, trials, legal agreements or other steps to follow. And in a marketing plan, that means to develop the right tactic each step.
- Unique selling proposition
The unique selling proposition (USP) tells your audience why they should buy your product and how it stands apart from existing alternative solutions. The USP can be built on different attributes of your product or service, and usually, for the B2C market, it should address consumer´s needs or desires. In contrast, your B2B marketing USP should be more rational, highlighting the financial value of your offering. It should showcase how it uniquely helps the business reduce its costs or/ and increase its revenues. The emotional approach is also relevant and should be tied together with the economic offering. Once you establish a financial benefit, the USP should also evoke trust, peace of mind, ease of doing business and most importantly demonstrate how it will minimize the risk associated with switching cost.
- Long-term relationships
And what comes after featuring a differentiated Unique Value Proposition? As opposed to B2C customers, companies want to get to know their service providers. As Hubspot's Marketing Consultant Jacqueline Zenn says, the B2B crowd wants information and the ability to build a close relationship with brands.
10. Content: thought leaders vs. entertainers
The simplest and widespread way to differentiate B2B and B2C content can be explained in one
phrase “thought leaders and entertainers”. It means that the foundation of B2B content creation
is the industry knowledge, while in B2C the focus is on the topics the consumers care about. In
summary "A good B2B content strategy often boils down to simply being the most insightful
source of information on the work you do".
With so many variables to consider when making the marketing plan, and then executing it, one of the keys to succeeding is to have the right team. ¿Do you want to build the marketing team of the future?In this article, we tell you how.