In the simplest terms, there are two types of marketing out there, which every subsection, strategy, and technique fall under. Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) pertain to everything from the ads you see on the internet to the emails you get from your work emails.
But I’m willing to bet that you’ve noticed a different feel between emails that your work email receives and the emails you get to your personal address. They’re different, not only in tone, but how they address you, and how they try to upsell you on their product and service.
In the emails you’ve received about transitioning your (employer’s) company to a new client support or email marketing service, do you get this feeling that you’re not the one the email is truly targeting? Well, the reason for this feeling is that you’re not, your employer is.
They likely ask if you or a supervisor would like to have a demo or if they can reach someone above your head. To be honest, every time I’ve received an email, a marketing text, or a LinkedIn message like that, I always ignore it. It feels like a waste of my time. It’s one of the worst experiences one can have with B2B marketing, and it feels like everyone I know has experienced it.
Business-to-consumer marketing is far more respectful of my time, even when it can’t sell me on a product. Say what you will about the worst of B2C email campaigns, they’ve come to talk to me. This is just a surface level difference that begs the question, is it time that B2B marketing became more like B2C marketing?
What are B2B and B2C Marketing?
Anyone who’s been in the marketing industry for more than a few months, or has even taken a few classes, knows what B2B and B2C marketing are. But for those like me who started out with internships and class opportunities where you had to learn as you go, let me explain.
B2B marketing is what we call any marketing meant to target businesses rather than consumers. You’re not trying to find and focus on your audience amongst a wide range of people. More often than not, you already know who your small target demographic is. Someone with authority and power in a company. The CEOs, the company presidents, the supervisors, or maybe even the managers. It’s not uncommon for B2B marketing to ignore lower-level employees who can connect them to managers or who could potentially sway the minds of their higher-ups.
B2C marketing is what most people experience on a regular basis, and comes in all different forms. It’s when a business directly markets to the consumer. This can be through posters, online ads, email blasts, text message campaigns, tv spots, and more. The best of B2C aims to be personal, showing how and why the company’s service or product is essential to improving your life.
B2B marketing and B2C marketing may sound like completely different animals. Their targets are so different that it may seem like it makes sense for their tactics to be so different. This is where I disagree.
Why Does B2B Marketing Feel Like Talking to a Machine?
The biggest problem I see with B2B marketing as both a consumer and marketer is that it doesn’t feel human. It feels as if someone came up with an interesting idea and it was slowly picked away until all that was left were the marketing points and a few graphics. There can be a lack of creativity behind B2B marketing campaigns like this.
Creativity is more than beautiful graphics and succinct bullet points. Marketing that works is marketing that connects with the audience. To connect with an audience, the first thing they have to do is feel human. B2B marketing doesn’t do enough of that. But how should that change?
(B2C) Marketing to Human Beings
B2C marketing is all about connecting with people and being as personal as possible. Because B2C has such a far bigger target audience than B2B marketing, ads will focus more on using their words and visuals to get people interested. They’ll appeal to some common issue rather than improving what may not be broken.
This creates a far more personal feel, where people start to convince themselves of how much they want something rather than needing to be convinced. The language B2C uses isn’t reliant on industry terms but uses common language that people use in everyday life. At its best, B2C avoids anything that may seem complicated in fear of confusing or turning off the audience.
The best B2C ads clue the audience in as to how the service or product may make life better. That’s how you get into someone’s head. There aren’t bullet points on the best email blasts in B2C marketing. There aren’t emails that list every product feature in B2C marketing. But how does that help B2B marketing?
Improving What Isn’t Broken
This isn’t all to say that B2B marketing isn’t using outdated or useless marketing tactics. It saves marketing dollars and gets to the point, and likely works to bring in a lot of clients. But, if a company that finds its revenue in B2B sales wants to grow, it must expand how it markets.
Start by remembering something that’s easy to forget. Even though the target audience for B2B marketing is usually people in executive roles, they’re still people. Execs are not suddenly immune to the techniques that B2C marketers use, especially if they’re receiving and seeing marketing content after work like the majority of people do. This means it’s worth marketing to them with ads and content that speaks to them like a company would a normal consumer.
And it’s not always a bad idea to market to more than just the execs. In 2021, a reported 81% of non-executive B2B companies have a say in company purchase decisions. The number is higher for B2C companies. People on the ground level and up can all play a part in getting their business to use yours. If everyone on the ground level wants to try your product or service to improve the life of the business, the higher-ups will take that into account. Especially now during the labor crisis, companies want to keep the employees they do have happy.
When It Feels Too Late to Change Your Marketing Strategy
It’s time for target audiences to feel like people again. That’s how a company’s consumer base and target audiences grow. At the same time, if you’re a company that’s been doing it one way forever, it can be difficult to pivot and try something new. To avoid the risk of losing important marketing dollars, turn to a firm with experience handling B2B and B2C marketing.
ENX2 Marketing is an agency with the experience, the manpower, and the knowledge to complete a marketing shift for you, or to supplement the marketing you’re already doing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.