Whether brands are business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B), most have incorporated digital strategies into their marketing mix.

Traditionally, B2C would broadcast its message to consumers via print, television ads or billboards, while B2B would reach out to business prospects using direct mail or sales calls. However, with the advent of digital media, these outbound tactics are proving to be less effective.

So how are B2C and B2B brands using digital media?

The differences

Let’s start by discussing the differences between the two.

According to the 2015 State of Digital Marketing report from WebMarketing123, B2C and B2B have different objectives when it comes to digital marketing. B2C prioritizes sales, while B2B prioritizes lead generation – which makes sense, given how each type of business operates.

The B2B buying cycle is typically longer than B2C, so B2B brands are more likely to invest long-term digital campaigns like email drip campaigns or advanced lead nurturing by tracking their customers across platforms and devices.

And the content that each type of brand creates as part of its digital strategy may differ as well, with B2C focused more on entertaining their customers and B2B focused on educating and informing.

The similarities

Despite the differences, there are a number of similarities between B2C and B2B brands on digital media.

Both B2C and B2B have had to adapt their outbound efforts to changing consumer behaviors brought about by the abundant availability of information. Today, consumers can turn to search or social media for product reviews, recommendations, and the answer to any questions they may have. So it’s not surprising that both B2C and B2B brands have developed inbound marketing strategies to capture their attention.

These strategies include posting content that pulls their audience in – a downloadable white paper as opposed to a flyer in the mail, or a blog post instead of a magazine ad. Inbound marketing means that these brands are creating content that their audience finds useful, in order to bring customers to them.

Another common strategy that both B2C and B2B use is word-of-mouth or testimonials. Whether selling directly to a consumer or to a business, brands are encouraging recommendations via tweets, Facebook posts and other digital media.

And, both B2C and B2B brands are using social media not only to capture the attention of their audience, but to delight them by providing exceptional customer service as well. These brands have recognized that many consumers prefer Twitter to a lengthy phone call, and they are adapting their strategies to match this shift.

At the end of the day, both B2C and B2B brand are engaging in human-to-human interaction, so their digital strategies will be largely similar. They must know their audience and give them the content they want to see, ideally capturing them in the right micro-moment of their customer journey.