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Learnings from the B2C world

Much is made of the differences between B2B and B2C marketing and how best to adopt different approaches for the two audiences. To a certain extent this is appropriate, and distinctions between different groups are an important start point in segmenting audiences and targeting your campaigns.

However, you can take these divisions too far, when in fact there is a lot of cross over between the two sectors, particularly in relation to techniques from one sector that might benefit another. The parallels shouldn’t be overlooked, and when constructing B2B campaigns, we should look to our B2C counterparts and adopt some of the leanings.
Below are my pick of the top 5 principles from the B2C world that B2B marketers can take note of to engage their audiences.

Humanise

Remember you are ultimately selling to individuals and not a faceless entity. Whilst the end needs of our business customers might be the same, they are ultimately individuals and what captures their imagination and engages them in the first instance will often be down to their personal preferences. Understand their needs, what interests them, and recognise how your product or service is relevant to them. It pays to engage with your customers, so aim to work out their personal preferences in order to plan outreach that is able to capture their imagination.

Personalise

One size does not fit all when it comes to B2B marketing. Many products are targeted at different sectors but we often adopt the same sales and marketing techniques whatever industry they are in. Find out about the individual sector and what the key business issues are, and be specific about how your product fits in. Don’t pigeon-hole the product, but treat each business as a unique entity and understand what will motivate them. Immerse yourself in your target sector and you’ll be in a better position to work out where and how you and your products or services fit in to it.

Emotional V Functional

We often hear that business audiences are only interested in the functional benefits of a product or service, with emotions playing only a very small part in their business decisions. However, at the end of the day if there isn’t much differentiation between the product, price and service offering, business decision makers will often be swayed by their emotions.

Successful marketing should always surprise, delight, empathise, provoke and challenge. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the B2B or B2C space, your audiences still want these things. Don’t overlook them. Instead tap into this when you communicate with them.

Get to the point

Prospects are often time poor and bombarded with information from many sources. Be specific and get to the point to draw people in. If you can make an impact and capture their interest quickly, they are likely to be more open to having a further conversation and to seeking additional information. Understand what they want, tell them what you have, and why it’s going to benefit them – but always remember to be clear and concise. Your audiences will thank you for the authenticity.

Ask them what they think

Research is key, by finding out more about your customers’ needs and what they are looking for, you will be able to target your messaging more effectively. B2C marketers make it a priority to find out how their consumers like to be contacted and what is the best way to get their message through. This is an approach B2B marketers have begun to utilise, but with many there is still a long way to go. Where are your audience? What are they reading? How do they digest the information? Often, half the battle is making sure your message gets to the target in the right way, at the right time and with the right tone. Adapt your techniques depending on the customer’s preferences to ensure your message makes it through.