To the uninitiated, B2B and B2C might sound like rival boy bands from the 90s. But in marketing communications, they’re the two biggest differentiators to consider when it comes to strategy. Is your business marketing to businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C)?
A B2B business’s customers are other businesses. There are usually bidding processes involved, and decisions can take up to months to complete. However, the monetary amount of the sale, once complete, is often significant and warrants the length of time it takes to complete the sale. A manufacturer of fire detection systems selling a high quantity of their products, along with an installation and service contract, to a chain of hotels would be an example of B2B business.
B2C businesses deal directly with consumers. The decision-making process, between establishing initial awareness of your product or service and its features and benefits, and the customer deciding to make the purchase, is normally quite fast. While price points are typically lower in B2C transactions, the volume is far higher. A customer visiting a store to purchase an article of clothing is a good example of a B2C transaction.
One of the keys to creating good content is knowing your target audience. While the products and services we promote for our clients vary widely, the marketing communications industry has historically divided the audiences for all products and services being marketed into B2B or B2C buckets. And for a good reason! Think about it, it makes sense. People who purchase products to help them do their jobs better are going to have different motivations than those shopping for food, clothing or entertainment. So it follows that the right way to reach these people will differ, based upon their corresponding bucket.
An article by Forbes describes a couple of the differences between the two audiences as B2B having a longer decision-making process and a greater number of stakeholders than B2C. So applying this knowledge, how might your B2C and B2B PR campaigns differ?
B2B PR is in it for the long haul. Strategies to set potential customers down the path to conversion might include creating thought leadership articles to build awareness, or securing your SMEs as sources for trade media articles targeted at different levels of your customers’ organizations (from leadership down to the shop floor). You might publish well-researched white papers or bylined articles to demonstrate and share your knowledge on general industry topics. You want to put your company on the map and establish yourself as a credible expert in the space in which you operate.
In comparison to B2B PR, B2C PR aims more at grabbing a potential customer’s attention to create an immediate need for your specific product or service. B2C customers typically won’t conduct a large amount of research before purchasing your product. Rather, they’ll convert to meet a need you created through a well-placed product review on social media, or interview on the morning news.
Hopefully this helps you see that PR is more complex than simply sending a press release. Whether B2B or B2C, there are nuanced approaches to effectively reaching your desired audiences. But if you need help, we’d love to hear from you!