Marketing a business revolves around knowing the brand inside and out. As a marketer, you need to effectively understand what makes your brand what it is: Who’s its audience? Who are the primary consumers? What does the brand language sound like? What does the content look like?
Let’s touch on the first and second questions. Who is your business targeting? Who is your intended audience? The answers will help you determine whether you’ll be working in the world of B2B or B2C marketing.
What Are B2B and B2C Marketing?
So, you want to start an affiliate campaign and become part of an affiliate marketing network. You’re starting on the right foot, but who exactly are you targeting: B2B or B2C?
“B2B” means “business to business,” while “B2C” stands for “business to consumer.” B2B businesses sell products from their business directly to other businesses, whether they are manufacturers, producers, restaurants, etc. B2C, on the other hand, sells directly to consumers.
So, there’s the key difference: It’s about who you’re selling to, whether that’s a business or a consumer. But how do the two of them differ from one another when applied to marketing? It might not seem like that great of a difference, but it is significant.
Relationships with Your Customers
B2B and B2C marketing have some similarities when interacting with customers, although it’s up to interpretation—depending on your business. B2B marketing generally focuses on building personal relationships with the businesses you sell to. You do this to establish a relationship that will, hopefully, lead to long-term business—i.e., a continuation of the buying cycle. You treat the businesses buying from you with respect and you get to know them, knowing what they need, understanding their purchasing habits, and more.
Eventually, you can start to give them deals on certain products, while you can help them restock without having to second-guess themselves. Moreover, if you gain their trust, you can rely on their word of mouth to share your brand with others.
B2C differs in that relationships tend to be transactional. You find a way to hook customers’ interest, whether it’s getting them to trust your product, like your brand design, or simply giving your company a chance. You make that transaction as smooth as possible by having an optimized website, a secure digital store, and efficiently getting a high-quality product to their front door.
At their cores, customers want to know their data is protected, they’re getting a fair deal, and they’re buying an exceptional product. You’ll likely win them over with all of that.
However, more businesses are beginning to value authenticity, as consumers care about it, too. So B2C brands can also benefit from taking a personal approach to marketing, crafting it to be tailormade and inviting to each and every customer.
Targeting Your Niche Audience
The approach in the B2B world is all about finding your niche. You have a specific product or service and a specific business is in need of your expertise. Targeting and attracting them is imperative, as it can help you onboard businesses that will stick by your side once you provide them with a reliable solution at a reasonable cost.
B2C isn’t that different, either. They need to target their niche; otherwise, they’re casting far too wide of a net into a massive ocean. But beyond finding and attracting their niche audience of consumers, they also need to find a reliable way to push them through the sales funnel. Understanding the sales funnel is important, as it will help you identify and strengthen the areas through which a consumer will move from brand engagement to a completed sale. Furthermore, studying your company’s funnel will help to identify the areas you most retain customers and the areas they are lost. If you can pinpoint why they leave the funnel, you can better construct it to ensure they remain from start to finish.
Branding Your Business
As mentioned about interacting with customers, business branding is all about relationships. A sign of a strong B2B business is one that many other businesses rely on and who proudly speak about it. Your business provides quality products on time, at a fair price, while never going behind one of your customer’s backs. And if anything ever goes awry, such as a missed shipment or a faulty product, you instantly make up for it, maintaining your amicable relationship to show how committed you are to helping them work at their best.
B2C can focus on the brand-to-customer relationship, but more often they focus on messaging. While you might engage with your customers on Instagram, you’re not doing so on a consistent basis. Rather, they’re probably consuming most of your content through social media posts, emails, banner ads, taglines, and more. It’s for this reason that you want to focus on your messaging.
This is true for any marketing campaign you establish, whether that is a social media content schedule or an email retargeting campaign. Should you be marketing to the holidays? Are you targeting a specific base of consumers? Do you want to target people that filled up their carts and then left your website? You need to ask the following question for each situation: What do I want to say to them?
This is especially true if you’re developing a performance marketing campaign, where you’re crafting content for ambassadors and influencers to share—whether they are B2B or B2C. The way your representatives speak about you, and what they have to say, matters, as it can define whether a potential customer can trust you enough in the moment of making a purchasing decision.
Evaluate and Learn
Unsure where to start when it comes to B2B or B2C marketing? Evaluate the marketing efforts of your competitors. Learn from what they’re doing and bend it to make it your own, working in your strengths to effectively advertise your company.