If B2B marketing is poet laureate, B2C is town crier. On the one hand we have a specialist, commissioned to give challenging subjects narrative and appeal. On the other, someone employed to shout announcements at the illiterate townspeople of a local marketplace, often waving a handbell.
Bit much? Yeah, probably.
It’s an occupational hazard to be little biased, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some truth in the analogy. So, with vested interests clearly on the table, here are seven further reasons why B2B beats B2C every time.
1. B2B are better at content marketing
Unlike the English and football, B2B invented content marketing and does it best.
Such is the nature of our industry that customers demand highly informative, in-depth material. This means delivering multi-formatted, detailed and compelling content throughout the whole cycle. Which is tough.
For most (not all) B2C products the decision-making process is more rudimentary, so lengthy content programmes are considered unnecessary. And when they are necessary, they’re usually cat-based. Speaking of which…
2. For B2B, an animal mascot will not suffice
How senior B2C marketers must feel on returning home after signing off yet another animal-led campaign I cannot imagine. A personified newt will never be able to carry a B2B brand, and thank God for that.
3. B2B purchases and contracts have longevity
It’s fair to say most people wouldn’t purchase a piece of machinery or fleet of vehicles on a whim. This type of transaction is long-term, often repeated or renewed and fully equipped with a several-figured invoice. Most B2C purchases just don’t have that longevity.
While a marketing automation contract will probably last a year, a Starbucks® single- shot, iced espresso can last as little as 15 seconds on a warm day. That’s why the lion share of B2B deals are more partnerships as opposed to sales.
4. B2B values relationships
With the odd exception – Apple and Nike, for example – a one-off purchase consumer has little affinity with the brand they’re using. Inversely, a business embarking on a prolonged contract needs to trust its customers (and vice versa), making relationships highly valuable. Accordingly, the quality-over-quantity nature of B2B means marketers and salespeople have a far greater opportunity to connect with a pool of customers and prospects.
This does, however, beg the question: why did it take the B2B world so long to embrace emotional marketing?
5. B2B buying cycles are bigger
The cost of a typical B2B purchase and the time it can take to fully understand the product and its capabilities means the B2B buying cycle is often mammoth. And it usually results in the involvement of several people from various departments and some form of final consensus.
B2C marketers, on the other hand, can pump messages out to either the general population or an individual, all of whom are likely to understand the product already. (How lazy is that?)
6. B2B sales people are just better
What to the untrained ear might sound like phatic chit-chat is actually part of a very deliberate and subtle process. For many of the reasons above, these guys have to invest a huge amount of time learning their wares and cultivating meaningful, trust-based relationships. On top of all that, the number of meetings, presentations and business proposals a B2B salesperson can conduct on a single (usually pretty big) transaction is admirable.
Whether it’s retail, ecommerce or door-to-door, a B2C salesman is simply trying to convince the consumer to part with their money before waving his handbell and moving on to the next.
7. Because Bill Hicks was definitely talking about B2C marketers when he said this…
Yep, he was going for that anti-B2C marketing dollar.