B2B? B2C? It's all about the right audience.

Nov 12, 2018 - Barry Armbruster

As marketers, whether we’re working for a Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) client, our goal is the same—capture the attention of the right audience. Sure, the finish line is in the same place, but the path to get there? That’s where things get interesting.

We live in a world of (almost) instant B2C gratification. With Amazon, Google, and even social media, you can click a button and make a purchase with little-to-no thought. Two days later it arrives at your doorstep, and if you’re lucky, you remember ordering it.

B2C campaigns are all about a call-to-action designed for immediate response. Like consumer advertising, a solid B2B marketing plan is tailored specifically to audience wants and needs. But B2B content marketing is distinctly different, focusing instead on nurturing relationships and close attention to detail. The final purchase decision is meant to be long term with contracts lasting over several months or even years.

This week I had a conversation with Gregory Lass, Nichols art director, on how he approaches a new B2B client. His insight? Consistency and service.

“For a B2C client we design a campaign that calls for instant response,” he said snapping his fingers. “The purchase is based on emotion or a good deal, and it’s tailored to one person’s wants or needs. Even those 50% off ads get me sometimes.”

But when it comes to B2B, he takes a much different approach.

“For a B2B client, on the other hand, we design a campaign that will build trust over a period of time. A company isn’t just buying one product or service engagement, they’re buying a relationship.”

Also, unlike B2C purchases, a purchase decision isn’t focused on a single individual’s response. B2B promotional materials should clearly convey a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to multiple members of an organization, regardless of their roles within the company. The decision-making process for a company is much more complex, so consistency across multiple touchpoints—video, direct mail, email, social media, etc.—is vital.

Greg was quick to point out the importance of following branding guidelines for these marketing pieces. “The (B2B) design has to be consistent. We use the logo on each piece in the same position, the same typefaces, the same aesthetic branding elements, and the same brand voice on every piece. Most importantly, we tell the same brand story.”

Need examples? Take a look at some of these B2B campaigns.

When all is said and done, meeting customer’s needs is the key to successful marketing, whether B2C or B2B. Tailored, consistent campaigns get results.