Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing Automation Technologies
There is a difference between marketing to business and marketing to a consumer and each market needs a different approach and a different technology.
There is a difference between marketing to business and marketing to a consumer and each market needs a different approach and a different technology. When you market to a B2B, you will realize that businesses work hard to streamline the buying process to save time and money. It often explains why a B2B purchase is based more on logic and why a consumer’s purchase is based more on emotion.
The cost of a sale for the business-to-business market is more expensive and typically higher than the business to consumer market. The easiest way to explain this is that a business-to-business transaction often takes more consideration and more people tend to be involved, requiring more decision makers. The B2B consumer will more often than not need to be able to prove a return-on-investment for their purchase.
When you’re a B2C marketer, you represent your businesses’ endeavors to sell to individuals. You want to reach them one at a time, to sell one or a handful of items. B2B marketers, on the other hand, may sell heaps of their goods or services at a time. They sell – and therefore market – in bulk. For example, as a consumer, I buy one head of lettuce or a bundle of carrots when I go to the grocery store. A restaurant, on the other hand, buys crates of lettuce and carrots in one transaction. To use a tech example, I may license software for my own laptop or the devices in my apartment. My company, however, needs licensing seats for hundreds of users.
Marketing to B2B
When you are marketing to a B2B, you want to focus on the logic of the product. You do this by focusing on the features of the product. The B2B market has a thirst for knowledge, and they are information seekers. Be more in-depth with your marketing materials. Your most effective marketing message will focus on how your product or service saves them time, money and resources. What the return on investment that they can expect with their purchase? That ROI can be time-saving, resource saving or money saving, but it has to be clear to get everyone onboard.
The business-to-business market is required to substantiate their purchase through a logical argument, financial scrutiny, and data. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t emotion behind the purchase, while you are dealing with a business, in that business are people, so emotion still plays a part in the decision, but your dealing with “more” emotions because more times than not you are dealing with more individuals that have to come to a consensus on decision. Keep their needs, desires, and motivations on the table, but back it with logic, financial benefits, and strong data. The purchasing process of business also tends to be longer than a consumer; this can correlate to needing to have multiple touchpoints to secure the sale. Marketing in B2B is one-to-one. The emergence of acccount-based marketing is the product of the same need.
Marketing to B2C
When you are marketing to a consumer, you want to focus on the benefits of the product. Their decision is more emotional. Consumers are different in that they demand a variety of distribution channels for convenience, not so with the B2B market. Consumers are less likely to be interested in a lengthy marketing message. They will want you to get right to the point. Consumers don’t want to work to understand your benefits. Instead, they will want you to point out the benefits to them clearly. With consumers, your message must be simple, easy to understand. You will also tend to find that consumers have a much shorter purchasing process than businesses. They can purchase within a few minutes to within a few days. Your most effective marketing strategies will focus on the results and the benefits that your product or service will bring to them. The business-to-consumer market purchase more on emotion. They are more interested in the benefit of the product. They will want to hear more about how their product or service helps them and what benefits it brings to them personally. for B2C marketers, the success lies in their ability to create micro-segments and creating personalized offerings for each of them.
B2B vs. B2C Audience
In B2C it’s just one single individual trying to make a purchase, in B2B, it’s whole company that you are after. We could say that a B2C company markets directly to an end user, whereas a B2B company markets to a group. B2B companies market to others or a group of end users. They may market to the CEO or business decision maker, as well as to the marketing or tech person who’ll use the product. The “customer” in B2B are business decision makers, the C-Level executives who make decisions on behalf of the entire organization. These people are invested in making their businesses better, stronger, faster. They want products or services that can help them do that. The B2B customer journey involves multiple decision-makers and stakeholders to manage, including managers, product users, technical staff, executives, etc. B2B marketing content needs to appeal to and meet the different pain points and needs of various stakeholders involved in the purchase process.
B2B vs. B2C Decision-Making Process
B2C involves one decision-maker, whereas B2B may involve a committee. When it’s an individual, it can be any number of factors or just one. When it’s decision-by-committee, there are choices being made in each individual’s mind, and these choices eventually make up a consensus. B2B buyers are planned and logical, based on needs, whereas B2C are emotional, based on want and desire. That’s is not completely true. In my experience, I meet businesses customers who make a purchase – such as which supplier/vendor to work with – based on gut feeling.
Tactics to Reach Your B2B or B2C Audience
Whether you’re in the B2B or B2C channel, here are some tools that will help you get your message across to your target audience:
- Personas, use cases, and scenarios: When thinking about marketing for B2B, I need to go through a handful of user scenarios and use-cases. I think about the various departments or people who weigh in – including the CFO, who is most concerned about cost; the IT department, which, if we’re talking software, for example, has to know how this product/service will be installed and how it will “hit” the computers at the organization; and the end user, who is my favorite, being the most tactical. Ultimately I need to package all of this up for the business decision maker (BDM) so they can see things from this triad of points of view and make an educated best decision for the company. Personas can be useful in both B2B and B2C, though in B2B you want to think about end-user groups.
- Channels: In both types of marketing you need to consider where your prospects are likely to be and how you can best reach them. There are some differences here, however. For example, B2C customers can be found in many places. The number of engagement channels in B2C can exceed way larger than that of B2B. You can market traditionally via advertising in magazines or online or radio. You can (and should) have a social presence. You may do events – planned or viral – to capture attention. Potential customers are everywhere. You can find them. “Businesses” too are everywhere – but they’re more selective in the way they want to be marketed to and where they expect to get a hard sell. Yes, you may be able to reach a savvy B2B customer via Twitter or Facebook – and definitely via LinkedIn. But you also probably need to add trade shows, direct calls, and/or more in-depth pitches and proposals.
- Language: Once you’ve found good leads, what will you say to them – and how will you say it? I’ve talked about this one before, but how do your potential customers want to be talked to? Those user personas come in handy here, as do listening tools like social media and focus groups. How do your customers talk? You should be using their vernacular. This applies to both B2C and B2B. With B2B marketing you may be able to use more industry jargon or business-friendly terms, but at the end of the day, you want to speak the same language as your customers.
- Data. The kind of data that you save in B2B and B2C are usually different. Plus, B2B sources data mostly from CRM while B2C builds the database from scratch. Since the B2C sale is largely driven by emotional impulse the quality of the data is centered around user’s browsing behavior and lifestyle attributes.
B2B Marketing Automation Platforms
B2B marketing is more like a process. B2B technologies focus on education and value-sharing for a large group and focused on nurturing a lead through a sales funnel. The priorities in B2B are Lead scoring, Lead nurturing, CRM integration. B2B’s pain point is lifecycle management.
The best B2B Marketing Automation Platforms currently in the market are:
- Salesforce Pardot (SMEs and Enterprise Businesses)
- Marketo (SMEs)
- HubSpot (Micro Enterprises and SMEs)
- Oracle Marketing Cloud (Enterprise Businesses)
B2C Marketing Automation Platforms
B2C is more about tests and experimentations and it needs tools that let them create powerful segments. B2C technologies focus on the customer journey and where the individual is in his or her unique process. The priorities in B2C are Retargeting, Reputation management, Retention marketing, Multi-channel engagement. B2C’s pain point is retention.
The best B2C Marketing Automation Platforms currently in the market are: