It would be hard to argue against the fact that business to consumer (B2C) marketing is a whole lot more creative than what is found in business to business (B2B) marketing. B2B marketing has potentially a lot to gain by emulating some of the tactics used in B2C.
Some brands however do seem to be recognising the truth that business people are consumers too! This trend for ‘human-to-human marketing’ is accelerating and a phenomenon that B2B should consider when developing a marketing strategy. There is some evidence that B2B buyers are increasingly demonstrating consumer type behaviour and decision making patterns.
For example, according to Acquity Groups 2016 study ‘State of B2B Procurement ‘ only 12.4% of the 500 business procurement professionals surveyed stated they would prefer to speak to a salesperson during the decision making process. 32% would prefer to research and purchase online and only call sales if they encounter a problem. A really interesting finding is that 61%of buyers would increase their online spend if it was easier to browse and purchase from their supplier’s websites.
It’s worth considering the personalised, convenient and multi-channel experience B2B buyers have in their personal buying life, why not have the same experience professionally? Not surprisingly is the fact that more buyers are now using peer reviews to qualify who their suppliers are (think testimonial letter!) this has increased from 19% in 2012 to 53% now.
So, what can B2B marketers do to respond to this shift in behaviour by their target audience? What can they take from their consumer counterparts? One area that needs consideration is looking at how B2C marketing uses technology to drive engagement, this will help B2B to embrace scalability and deliver more convenient, multichannel experiences.
Becoming more active on social media and building more social media advocates is an approach widely used in consumer markets. There has been a clear hesitancy in B2B marketing to fully embrace social media, it’s often seen as something that should be done as opposed to something that can add genuine value.
B2B brands need to demonstrate their personality and excitement for their products and services and be really creative. It is vital that they stand for something and that this ethos is communicated in all messaging from email campaigns to websites to sales and everything in between.When we look at B2C marketing the creativity and possibilities are endless and it keeps moving and developing. In comparison the B2B world is much drier and slower to learn, to change however would bring exciting times indeed!