The 5 W’s of B2B and B2C Marketing

A B2B or B2C offering will make all the difference in your next marketing campaign.

You need to consider who your product or service is for, and what will motivate that end user to make the eventual purchase.

Let’s do a quick rundown of the Who, What, Why, & How you need to answer in order to begin marketing your offerings.

Business to Business (B2B) is related to the sale of one business’s offerings to another. An example of a B2B would be a business that sells marketing, signage, graphic design, and vehicle wraps to your business (*wink*wink*), or even the supplier of the furniture in your office. Typically B2B transactions require more time and consideration, and include more than one decision maker—often at different levels of the corporate hierarchy.

Business to Consumer (B2C) on the other hand, is related to offerings targeted towards the average shopper. These include restaurants, consumer electronics, books, and even sporting events and shows. Such purchase decisions typically involve shorter sales cycles, and are made on the basis of price, product, and even emotion.

Generally when marketing a B2B offering, you want to emphasize logic. Since the goal of such purchasing decisions is often a return-on-investment, focus on efficiency, expertise, and how the features of the product will benefit the business. Be precise. Demonstrate the return that the business can expect, and show how buying this particular offering will save them time and money.

For B2C you want to showcase the benefits of the product, but rather than going in depth, your goal should be a clear and concise message that the consumer can relate to. Research shows that shoppers generally don’t make purchasing decisions based on rational reasoning, but instead how the product appealed to their senses and emotions. Therefore, emotional triggers, such as hunger, desire, or status will play an essential role in your strategy.

As you already know, B2B purchases are made based on logic and reason. Because these are usually complex transactions that may take months to complete, typically detailed marketing content that demonstrates your business’s expertise works best. Pay close attention to the buyer’s budget, long-term goals, and strive for a beneficial relationship.

B2C purchases on the other hand, are usually emotional decisions based more on want than need. Due to the short sales cycle (anywhere from a few minutes to a few days), shoppers tend to respond better to simple messages that are easy to understand and straight to the point. Furthermore, B2C purchases rarely require more than one person to make the buying decision, so a clear and relatable message is all you really need.

There is a time and a place for everything. Paying attention to the seasonality of your products is crucial for the success of your marketing campaign and business.

There is a reason why you never hear the nostalgic song of an ice cream truck during the winter. The reason for this is because the heat of the summer is gone and people do not need a delicious creamy scoop of ice cream to cool themselves down.

So why would you spend thousands of dollars during the summer marketing your winter jackets? It might seem like common sense. But many businesses choose to market the same products throughout the year instead of switching them to match the seasons. For example, operating a hot chocolate truck during the winter.

The same goes for B2B companies. Although they have different customers. The demand is still dictated by their customers. So even if some of the clients of the B2B company offer the same products throughout the year. The demands of their customers change with the season. For example, election signs are made of chloroplast. If you were a B2B business wouldn’t you want to take advantage of the fact that thousands of chloroplast signs are going to be printed and distributed throughout the city? As a B2B business, you would want to focus your marketing efforts on chloroplast signage at this time so you take advantage of the opportunity.

Your marketing campaign will depend on the channels your target customers use. For B2B you’re likely to reach your customer through networking events, industry publications and websites, business magazines, and trade shows. For B2C look to social media, consumer magazines and websites, television, and radio.

Usually direct to consumer or involving a retailer, B2C sales will take the traditional approach of convincing the shopper via promotional mix that they need your product or service. B2B sales however, require extra care in the form of consultative selling.

Based on the client’s needs, your goal is to convey value and reliability in your marketing, and ultimately form a partnership built on trust. This is achieved by listening to the buyer, and looking for opportunities to educate them. In order to set yourself apart from the competition and increase your chances of adding value, get to know your lead as soon and as much as possible.

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