What can B2B organisations learn from B2C marketers?

Damon Mangos, creative director and founder at Delete, explains why B2B organisations need to adopt B2C techniques when developing digital strategies

The way businesses communicate with their customers is critical to driving engagement and incentivising purchases, but the way organisations go about this can be vastly different in the B2B space compared to B2C. That said B2B businesses are now starting to learn from the way B2C companies communicate information to their audience, and centre their work on user friendly approaches and more compelling content, designed to specific audiences. The boundary lines between the two approaches are now starting to blur. 

B2C organisations speak in a universal way and clearly communicate the values of their brand so that their multiple audiences can clearly identify with them. For B2B businesses that have a complicated product and service offering with multiple audiences, each with a different set of needs, the ability to distil a large amount of information into a single digital platform is essential to driving conversions and empowering decisions. Yet presenting this vast amount of information in an easily digestible way which adds value to the audience, rather than overwhelms them is a challenge that many must overcome. 

Organisations like global lighting manufacturer iGuzzini, which unveiled its new digital platform last week, is just one example of many businesses that are starting to recognise the value of and adapting to, a more B2C approach. Their investment in content and brand story enables them to showcase their brand, products and value to customers in a more compelling way, driving engagement with its multiple audiences as well as providing a better online environment designed around users’ needs. 

Digital platforms from the company website, to social media channels and other online touchpoints all help shape the brand story and business/customer relationship. However, if the message across these platforms is misleading, overly detailed, difficult to navigate and there is no call to action, businesses are unlikely to be able to capitalise on the potential of these relationships.

Consumer businesses focus heavily on driving a better experience for their customer and are increasingly looking at ways they can personalise their approach. B2B organisations are equally in the business of selling but the products and services being sold are typically more complicated and a more considered purchase for the buyer. Whilst there will usually be the ultimate decision maker, the buyer is typically a collective of individuals all of whom need to buy into the business.

The search and discovery process through to the purchase is therefore just a crucial as it is to any retailer or other consumer facing business. In this regard messages need to be communicated in the most efficient way possible so that they remain accurate and highly relevant to their intended audience.

Understanding the needs and requirements of the target audience is therefore imperative, especially if the business is selling to a wide range of audience groups such as architects, lighting designers and engineers. That may sound obvious, but from our experience B2B organisations often neglect user experience and its reflection on the brand and focus on presenting vast amount of details that users require to make a purchase decision. Whilst it’s vital that information is not lost in order to achieve a more simplified approach, businesses are able to find better ways to present all the information at the right time in the prospect’s journey, increasing their chances to sell.

The tried and tested techniques of the B2C world, which have and continue to be focused on driving a higher level of positive brand engagement and sentiment with their customers therefore provide a great bedrock for B2B businesses to build on. It is important to remember that our audience are consumers in their personal lives and are driven by the same emotive triggers when considering a decision - stylish design, content presentation, clarity of purpose and other feel good brand factors.

Whilst we know the characteristics of B2B customers are typically far less emotionally driven than B2C, they are essentially still buying something at an emotional level. So it’s important not to forget that, when developing the brand story. In fact brand needs to be put at the heart of any B2B digital strategy, especially if it is going to drive positive change and business transformation.