A spot of marketing jargon-busting to get started
- B2B stands for Business to Business. It’s the catchy name for business who sell to other businesses.
- B2C means Business to Consumer. This is when businesses sell products or services directly to an individual consumer.
B2B shopping habits versus B2C
B2B typically make consistent sales over a longer period of an ongoing contract than those selling to the general public. Individuals are more likely to be making smaller purchases and shop around for the best price on each item, whereas businesses tend to seek out suppliers who can give them as much as possible in one place.
Companies who sell B2B tend to be solving a particular problem for their customers, rather than satisfying a ‘want’, though obviously they also want the best quality for the least spend. Training providers or telecoms companies are both good examples of this. In theory it means that B2B marketing strategy requires a different approach.
The difference between marketing for B2B and B2C
When a business goes shopping for larger ticket items, they’re often looking for a return on their investment. If they’re paying for staff training, they want it to be effective and relevant, otherwise there’s nothing to be gained.
B2C sells to its audience even if they’re not the buyer. For example, appealing to a child that this is the present they want for their birthday.
Even though B2B selling still has elements of emotional connection, the final decision to buy considers what value will be added to the bottom line. Buying is less impulsive than in the consumer sector.
Be visible for your B2B audience
These differences inform the marketing strategies of each, with B2B typically having a much more targeted (and smaller) audience. If you’re selling B2B, there’s a good chance that your customers are already looking for you, so efforts can be focused on converting the opportunity rather than finding it.
But they are still looking for you. If that involves an online search where your competition appear in the results and you don’t, then you’ve lost an opportunity to even compete.
The B2B industry does have a tendency to rely on word-of-mouth growth and the stability of ongoing provision. Excluding new growth can result in stagnation even if income from existing clients is healthy enough. It also has an air of ‘all eggs in one basket’ about it. You might not want to make any sales at the moment, but performing badly in search reduces brand awareness. It’s better to be in demand than having to scramble to be seen if things go quiet.