Marketing is marketing.

That’s the sort of Confucius style wisdom you get here on the blog.

You want to sell your product and/or service. You tell the audience, subtly or otherwise, why they should buy it. It’s a very simple concept, team.

The nuances begin when you start to change the variables of the equation. I’ve got a snazzy new whats-it that will appeal to both the adorable idiot consumer on the street, as well as that 4,000-employee monstrosity of a company downtown.

You should see this whats-it dudes. It is a game changer. It does everything that the old thingy did, but faster and more efficiently. And it’s chrome plated.

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So we need to figure out how to attack each audience in the finest way possible. There are a few basic differences between business to business (B2B) and business to consumer marketing (B2C) that should be kept in mind if you find yourself marketing to either group.

Social Media

Consumers on social media are looking for humorous, useful, and above-all shareable content on their feeds. There is no magic formula to make this happen, and tastes can change like the wind, but companies have shown how it can be done right. Short and snappy is the way to go. B2B social media marketing is a very different beast. Longer, more explanatory videos work well, and catering to specific audiences to add that personal touch is very important.

Followers

As a consumer, flicking a like to your favourite shoe brand doesn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things. Obviously, if a company is able to rack up a bunch of followers with a smart social media campaign, it’s going to do very positive things. But a single like is not a big deal. It can be in business terms though. For B2B marketers, every like brings with it a potential account, so the value and the follow-up of the social media audience will be far more respected.

Drivers

Consumers are very emotional beasts. Whether it’s a purchase that’s driven by price, desire or status, using an emotional trigger is a very effective mechanism to use in B2C marketing. The B2B purchaser is far more likely to be driven by logic, so using efficiency and expertise may appeal to the more rational purchaser.

Educate or Entertain

Business purchasers will want to know the ins-and-outs of what they are buying, and can be far more demanding as to the nuances of what you’re selling. Delivering training and expertise on the product or service in question is paramount. On the other end of the scale, the yappy-dog consumer is more likely to just require entertainment. Particularly if they already have the desire mentioned above.

Language

Specific and complicated language can be used in B2B marketing to great effect, with industry very comfortable with jargon that they are familiar with. B2C marketing meanwhile, relies on the use of super generalised and simplified language, as you are usually looking to cast your net as wide as you possibly can.

Purchasing chains

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The chain of command that a B2B salesman has to work through can be imposing. Everyone has to speak to their boss, who in turn speaks to their boss, and the sale can be protracted for quite a while. The marketing needs to reflect that.

Consumers, meanwhile, are far more speedy purchasers, and can be convinced to buy on a whim far more easily. The payoff is that the B2B sales process may result in a contract that lasts for years, while the consumer is far more likely to be looking for a once-off purchase.

Issues

The resulting issues that arise from each set of circumstances can be tricky to overcome. The specificity of content required by the B2B customer can make content creation difficult, and the drawn-out sales processes can make it hard to measure the success of your marketing investment. For B2C, content has to be particularly generalised, but still somehow hit a chord with customers that results in them throwing their dough at you.

Being aware of the differences is the first step in fine-tuning your B2B or B2C marketing strategy. Now all you have to do is buy foundation shares in my Whats-it™ company because this thing is gunna be HUGE.