It’s a question I hear a lot. And for good reason. Either way, you’re still marketing to a human being – right?
Yes, and no.
In business to consumer (B2C) marketing, you’re convincing an individual – the same individual who considers the options, makes the decision, and pays the bill. The decision is often emotionally based, driven by impulse, status, or price. The level of perceived risk is typically low; most consumer purchases can be returned or exchanged with minimal inconvenience. And your target market can number in the millions.
In business to business (B2B) marketing, you’re dealing with multiple individuals – often large committees – throughout a lengthy buying cycle. Each person has a specific role in the decision-making process and a duty to judiciously compare all the options. The selling proposition is complex and the risk of a wrong decision is high and long-lasting. Your target market is small and focused.
Smart B2B marketers focus on building relationships through credibility and trust and offering multiple opportunities to engage. After all, B2B purchasers are buying the supplier along with the product or service.
From generating awareness to educating and influencing, success depends upon addressing each prospect’s unique motivations and needs – in the places they are looking and in the ways they prefer.