One of the first things you learn as a new, wide-eyed marketer is that there are two main classifications for companies: B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer). But if you’ve only worked with organizations that fall neatly into one of these two categories, you’ll be in for a surprise when you suddenly have different target audiences. It’s definitely more rare, but some businesses are B2M (business-to-many), which encompasses both B2B and B2C models. If you lead marketing for such a company, or are hearing your execs discuss changing to a B2M approach, reaching your buyers can be tricky. Here are our best B2B marketing tips and B2C marketing insights to help you navigate the B2M world.
Understand the Nuances
There are some key differences between B2B and B2C marketing that must be grasped before starting any initiatives. First, sales cycles are typically longer and more in-depth in the B2B world, and often involve a variety of stakeholders. They also revolve around larger investments, which explains the long and thorough vetting process. B2C, on the flip side, is known for a short sales cycle and often minor investment. Think of the example of a skincare company that sells its products in bulk to distributors (B2B), but also sells products like a single mascara tube to individuals (B2C). It’s easy to see why the sales cycles and budgets are so vastly different between the two groups because they have different motivations, means, and desired outcomes.
Marketing Goals & Tactics
The goals in a B2M business may be similar between both their B2B and B2C channels, but the marketing techniques used shouldn’t be. Let’s say you’re the VP of marketing at an organic spice company. You sell your spices to restaurants (B2B) as well as online to individuals (B2C). Your goal with both is likely to create long lasting relationships that result in repeated sales over time. But the recipients of your marketing efforts require different messages and tactics to achieve that. Here’s a rough overview of what that looks like:
- Decision-makers are used to reviewing offers from competing vendors, and want the best value possible.
- To win them over, you will need to use logic, focus on business outcomes, establish trust and form a relationship. Expect the customer journey to take time and a lot of personalized effort on your part.
- Strong B2B marketing tactics to consider:
- Research the buyers you want, and form a target list
- Create personalized, highly relevant content to share
- Use targeted advertising with messages related to business outcomes
- Decision-makers are individuals who usually act alone. They may shop around a little bit but their purchases are often impulsive and/or driven by whatever has most recently influenced them.
- To get more buyers, you’ll need to be able to catch a busy consumer’s attention and convince them (quickly) that they need what you have. Once they buy, you’ll want to engage in customer marketing, but getting them to that first purchase is usually a fairly short process. Use emotion, keep your message simple and paint a picture of the benefits they’ll get from buying from you to drive your points home.
- Strong B2C marketing tactics to consider:
- Social media advertising and content
- In-store ads and digital ads that can encourage a quick click and purchase
- Membership programs and promotions
Some of the marketing tactics you use can cross over between your B2B audience and your B2C audience, but you’ll always need to keep in mind the different reasons each buys and how they’re wooed. B2M businesses can hold a lot of possibility, but it all starts with how well you understand your two audiences and how to reach them. Need help creating marketing strategies for your B2M business or making sure your digital assets set you up for success in this model? Give us a call!