For years, marketers have tried to understand and explain the differences between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing. While marketers write about this area, especially B2B Marketing, at length, a general consensus remains unclear. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to summarize some of the recent content on B2B marketing. This blog highlights a few ways in which B2B and B2C marketing approaches seem to be converging.
B2B Marketing and B2C Marketing Differences
To start, here are a few key differences between B2B and B2C marketing – nicely summarized by HubSpot all the way back in 2013:
- “The B2B audience is seeking efficiency and expertise. The consumer audience is more likely to be seeking deals and entertainment. “
- “B2B marketers have a much longer chain of command to deal with”
- “The B2B buying cycle is often much longer than the B2C decision process.”
The key difference? B2B buyers are more motivated by the bottom line than the average B2C consumer (who might just be hungry for a slice of pizza).
B2B and B2C Marketing Tactics are Converging
However, differences aside, current research shows that marketing tactics to reach, engage, and convert B2B and B2C buyers are more aligned than ever. In fact, B2B marketers seem to be shifting to B2C marketing tactics because of similarities in buyer behavior. Both B2B and B2C consumers are more connected and demanding than ever before. These groups both require a customer journey based on a variety of factors that offers personalized experiences as a result. And, as a result, B2B marketers are adopting B2C marketing tactics.
Here are 3 areas where recent publications show that B2B marketing is becoming more similar to B2C marketing.
Deep personalization is critical
B2C marketers have long depended on personalized marketing. Mirroring this, B2B marketers are increasingly looking for ways to create more tailored messages:
- “9 out of 10 B2B and consumer audiences surveyed agree that brand experiences that deliver stronger personal interactions are more compelling.” – The Drum
- “To create greater value for our customers, we need a greater understanding of their broader business challenges. This requires going beyond the problem to truly, deeply understanding the customer’s business, challenges, and needs.” – Forbes
Cohesive experiences deliver ROI
Multi-channel marketing was a mainstay of B2C marketing for 10 years. It seems that B2B marketers finally see the effectiveness of cohesive, cross-channel customer experiences in delivering ROI:
- “Knowing a customer’s journey through the sales funnel is key for both B2B and B2C marketers. “Mapping the customer journey is crucial, as well as finding the touchpoints at which the [product] interactions happen,” says N’Diaye. Both sectors end up asking themselves where, how, when and why a customer made the purchase.” – The Chief Marketer
- “According to Gartner research, B2B marketing campaigns that integrate four or more digital channels will outperform single or dual-channel programs by 300%. However, 90% of marketers still struggle to seamlessly connect more than three channels at a time, making consistent messaging and coordination a major challenge.” – The Drum
Buyers demand real-time interactions across channels
Just like B2C marketing, B2B marketers are catching the real-time bug in a big way:
- “Our research shows that, on average, a B2B customer will regularly use six different interaction channels throughout the decision journey, and almost 65 percent will come away from it frustrated by inconsistent experiences.” – McKinsey
- “Mobile is becoming a must-have in business-to-business (B2B) commerce. More than half of B2B executives [are] reportedly comfortable making business-related purchases on a mobile device. This omni-channel functionality is a welcome transition away from the industry’s previous reliance on inflexible and inefficient legacy commerce systems.” – Supply & Demand Chain Executive
As the market develops and B2B and B2C marketing tactics continue to converge, we’ll continue to update our research.
Are you looking to create a seamless, omni-channel customer experience, regardless of who you’re selling to? Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, learn more about the Kitewheel Customer Journey Hub. We’d love to chat!