Too many businesses make the mistake of using a B2C approach when engaging in B2B transactions. Interacting and catering to the end consumer is not the same as establishing relations with another enterprise. There must to be a whole different set of marketing objectives and strategies devised in order to form the much needed rapport when seeking to finalize that deal, sale or partnership with another company.

B2B vs. B2C: Similar but Fundamentally Different Approaches

There appears to be a prevailing mindset that marketing is marketing, and whether the audience is the consumers or corporations run by people in suits, you are still just marketing to people. What’s important to realize is that while corporate entities are still headed by people, they are buying a product or service for the business and not for themselves; there is a very different motivational and emotional experience involved between the two.

While B2C and B2B marketing both involve the same methods, such as SEO, social media and PPC, it’s the approach to the methods that differ. With any B2B endeavor, the following points should be taken into consideration.

B2B Relations Have More Complex Layers

With B2C, the needs of the consumer are pretty straightforward, and there is often minimal interaction between business and customer other than an occasional comment or enquiry. With B2B, the relationship is far more intricate and is typically an ongoing one. Not only do you need to focus on your client but you also need to consider the needs of your client’s consumers.

With B2B, there is much more back and forth interaction even long after the initial purchase or deal has been made. This may come in the form of further assistance, training or customer support. This is why trust is that much more crucial with B2B, and methods like contact through social media, email marketing and face-to-face meetings need to be about fostering a deeper level of confidence and understanding.

Emotional vs. Professional

When the end consumer purchases a product, it is often for the purpose of satisfying a basic human need or emotion. Think about someone who buys a weight loss supplement, for example: what are the motivational factors behind the purchase? It’s the hope and prospect of being able to achieve a new physique, being happy in one’s own skin, and fitting in a new pair of jeans. These are all emotionally driven factors that influence the purchase, and it’s these emotions that B2C marketing seeks to take advantage of to drive sales.

Now think about marketing that same weight loss supplement to a supplement and vitamin store. The motivational factors are more professional in scope and may include budget, business goals, and vendor relationships. To an extent, the business still needs to cater to the client’s consumers, but the main focus is on establishing that professional relationship between seller and client.

More Individualized and Tailored Marketing Required with B2B

In a B2C setting, once the demographic is identified, a single marketing theme and approach can be implemented to appeal to the emotions of that demographic to drive purchases and further inquiry. With B2B, on the other hand, your clients and their business goals are far more individualized. This means that once you generate your leads, your approach has to branch off to include multiple and customized marketing solutions to appeal to each individual client and their business model. Ultimately, this means more individual outreach.

B2B Marketing is a Whole Different Ball Game

B2B marketing objectives require a different set of thinking, brainstorming and plan execution. The different approaches for B2B and B2C are not interchangeable, and believing otherwise will only lead to dismal ROI numbers and leads that go nowhere.