Marketing and selling to just a consumer [B2C] or to just a
business [B2B] is now not enough; businesses now see the opportunity to
a presence in both market segments. So,
what are some of the differences or similarities with respect to
The world has truly become smaller with the Internet as it
continues to create opportunities every day. Businesses that only sold to other
businesses are now seeing an opportunity to branch out and sell directly to the
consumer, while products and services initially targeted to consumers are being
approached by other businesses. So, when opportunity comes knocking you want to
be ready to answer with a solution.
Are there drastic marketing similarities and differences, or
is the marketing tactics similar but different?
Let us start with some of the similarities. As a business who
sells products or services, you have to know who your customers are, their
tendencies, their needs, and why you think they need what you have to sell. Some
would say that after knowing who your customer is, all future marketing and
sales activity diverges between B2C and B2B, but I beg to differ. In addition
to knowing your customer, you need to establish a good relationship. In the B2C
world this relationship could be one-time or ongoing depending on what you are
selling. The relationship could be driven by how your website looks, how it
engages the customer, and how it gets to the point concerning what the consumer
is looking for. While in the B2B world the relationship may take more time to
establish, the sales cycle typically is much longer than in the B2C world. So,
the chance of a prospective customer returning to your website countless times
to learn more about who you are, what you do, who you service, and more, helps
build the relationship in a dynamic fashion. Regardless, the relationship
component is essential for a successful sale.
They say that in the B2B environment the process of making a
sale requires more one-on-one communications and detailed information on the
product or service. The one-on-one communication is also essential for many
products and services in the B2C world as well. The Internet is all about
one-on-one communication, which is why the social networks have had such a
strong growth as a marketing solution; people want to communicate as long as
there is someone listening. Social networking started outside the bounds of B2C
or B2B, but now both groups are hard at work trying to integrate social
networking solutions into their overall marketing strategies.
Okay, now some of the differences - hmmm. Well, I could be
make a list of B2B specific requirements and then do a list for B2C, but if you
really read between the lines it all comes down to knowing your customer and
your product, knowing what they need, what they want to hear, the problem that
they are looking to solve; essentially, communicating with them in a fashion
where they feel that they are the only person you are communicating with at
that time regardless of a business or consumer environment.
Every product and service is different regardless if you are
B2C or B2B. The Internet empowers people to create products and services that
they feel strongly about and then they try to connect with a customer, who also
feels empowered in their ability to sift through the multitude of offerings and
by their own personal deduction, or word-of-mouth from a friend or associate,
they make a selection. The Internet is all about one-on-one communications
between a business and a business, or a business and a consumer.
So, are there differences or similarities? In reality, almost
all of the marketing solutions available for a B2B environment are applicable
for a B2C environment regardless of the size of the business. There may be a
smaller scale of execution, for example the use of a formal email marketing
service. This type of service was initially established for the high volume
delivery and tracking of email communications (i.e. 100,000 emails a couple of
times a week), but now there are very cost effective solutions for the delivery
and tracking of a couple of thousand emails per month. I could devote an entire thesis on how the
once "exclusive" corporate marketing solutions have been distilled down for use
by businesses of any size trying to sell to another business or to a consumer.
Therefore, I do not see extreme differences if you are
selling to a consumer or to a business, I see due diligence of expectation and
perception on what you are trying to accomplish and selecting the right tool to
engage your customer. The important step is accepting your limitations and then
laying out a plan of execution internally, or selecting a third party company
who can demystify the many different solutions that exist. Regardless if you
are B2B or B2C, the third party company should take the time to understand your
business and your customer before presenting solutions. There are third party
companies who specialize in both B2C and B2B, and there are those who
specialize in just one of the environments. Either way, the starting point is
to know who the customer is and create a marketing strategy that engages the
customer, makes them feel special, and provide information for the customer to
feel that you understand their needs [build a relationship] with regards to
your products or services.
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