In a recent webinar, Navigating the New World of Online Lead Generation and Advertising, experts Rich Tehrani (CEO, TMCnet) and Jon Miller (Co-Founder, Marketo) discussed some challenges companies currently face with promoting their brand and boosting sales online. In addition, they make some insightful distinctions between what activities work best for B2B versus B2C brands during the Q&A portion of the event. Here are some highlights from their responses:

Q:  “Do you draw distinction between B2B and B2C marketing?

A:  Yes, absolutely. There’s a big difference in how the two types of brands manifest. For B2C, you can be very aspirational, whereas B2B is more focused on risk reduction, which is demonstrated by content and thought leadership.

Additionally, the kind of marketing you do for each type of sale is quite different. For B2C you typically have a shorter sales cycle, so you can be punchy, fun, and to-the-point. In B2B there’s usually longer sales cycles and very large, extensive decision-making processes to boot, so marketing must roll up their sleeves and be “in it for the long haul.” This means more lead nurturing, more resources, more content, and education and more patience.

In fact, lead management is overall a different beast for B2B marketing. It’s more important, for example, to properly score your leads to ensure you’re spending the right amount of time and effort on the right prospects.  It also means that your sales team be equipped with the right resources to take those leads, nurture them, and build strong relationships with them; all marketing and sales challenges many B2C companies don’t need to worry about.

In short, for B2B sometimes the risks are greater, but so are the rewards. Miller states that B2B sales numbers are generally far higher than B2C, and can make or break a company’s survival. It can also be a huge investment for companies who may only look to spend in that area every few years or so. That’s why positioning your brand as an industry leader, year after year, is so crucial.

Q: “What Content Works Best for B2B vs. B2C Marketing?”

A: We mention how thought leadership, education and content are so important in B2B marketing efforts earlier in the presentation. Why? Because it’s harder to get someone passionate about a printer or router versus a consumer brand. It’s a different type of brand, which needs altered messages. Companies often see some of the fun things B2C companies are doing online, and want to replicate that in their B2B marketing efforts, with limited success. What your audience is really look for isn’t pizzazz or spunk (although having a little of that never hurts, right?) but stellar content. This means white papers that are written with your audience, not your bottom line, in mind. It means hosting educational webinars, and investing in long-term content efforts. Other successful content vehicles are company blogs, which have seen a significant rise in the past few years in popularity, and links to sales. By focusing on content quality, and in large numbers, your B2B company will be better positioned to meet those sales goals, nurture leads, and position yourself as an industry leader.

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