How B2B and B2C marketing really strengthen each other

So are they really polar opposites? B2B and B2C marketing are often perceived as two different disciplines with their own separate challenges, but at the end of the day, both revolve around selling goods to people. In practice, however, marketers do distinguish – B2B marketers very broadly tend to focus on solid (and often rational) content through the buyer’s journey, while B2C marketing focuses on broad reach and convincing consumers often through the use of creativity and emotion. But does that mean a business customer never buys without emotion, or a B2C customer never makes a purely rational purchasing decision? Clearly there’s a ton of overlap, so we thought we’d look at how both disciplines can actually strengthen each other.

What can B2C learn from B2B?

B2B buyers are often professionals focused on achieving business goals. So the assumption is that they are more willing to spend time researching products or services; they’re an investment. This means the research, and getting colleagues on board, often creates a long decision making process.

But ultimately, this can be true for certain B2C customers too. They buy a kitchen, furniture, solar panels, or a caravan for the long term, and they don’t skimp on the research – they read literature, visit stores, assess reviews. And like their B2B counterparts, they may also have to get someone on board: a partner or the family.

Here’s where B2C can learn from the B2B approach, which builds strong relationships with customers through the use of lead generation, lead nurturing and Account Based Marketing. The B2B world is pretty effective at building a bond using very specific content targeted to the right audience and shared at the right time. This one-to-one relationship is carefully monitored by deploying lead scoring in marketing automation, until the lead is ready to make a purchase.

Arguably, B2C content (while often very well SEO-optimized) is often less substantive and customer-personalized, so appropriate content at the right stage in the journey would be an excellent move for B2C companies/retailers offering products with higher selling prices and profit margins.

And what can B2B learn from B2C?

Of course, there are equal challenges on the B2B marketing side. B2B customers can be harder to reach and persuade than B2C customers; and marketing to them requires a thorough knowledge of the target market and industry.

Perhaps that’s why B2B marketing has traditionally had a more rational, practical, even scientific focus. But any fear of using emotion in B2B marketing is changing: organizations are beginning to embrace the more human, emotional approach of the B2C sector to reach their buyers on a deeper level.

The key here is that while many organizations may embrace emotional content at the top of the funnel (the one place they see it as relevant), they miss the opportunity to keep that emotion alive through all stages of the funnel.

This is where B2B could learn from the excellent measurement approaches of B2C marketers. They know their KPIs well and have a good understanding of what works and doesn’t through A/B testing. And because of the speed of retail, they ensure these insights are always up to date, through frequent adjustment. As a B2B marketer, this approach is a perfect way to discover that an emotional versus rational marketing approach can be measured in terms of additional ROI, lifetime values, open rates, time spent on a site etc – and then fine-tuned to ensure continuing sales success.

Believe in the best of both worlds

At Referro, we’re already combining our knowledge of the two ‘different’ disciplines, and seeing intriguing and strong results in retail environments. Whatever it takes become more effective in reaching and persuading a target audience has to be of benefit to marketers. And we don’t believe in sitting on the fence!

Be happy with your marketing results

If you’re interested in adding emotion to your B2B marketing, or bringing B2B techniques to a retail or consumer challenge, call Monique for an initial chat.

Get in touch

+31 (0)85 07 06 936