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B2B vs B2C Marketing: How Social Media Has Blurred the Lines
Marketing, like every industry, is filled with jargon. At Percolate, we like to speak plainly and help make the marketing world easier to understand. One of the more commonly used terms is B2B and B2C marketing, which refer to the two major types of audiences a marketer might be trying to reach with their content.
As a refresher:
B2B Marketing (Business to Business):
In this category, you are marketing to business buyers who purchasing your products and/or services because of the needs and desires they experience in their job or company. For instance, printer/copiers, staffing services, marketing technology platforms, sales training are all examples of enterprise products. The buyers are typically spending “company money” to buy this product, perhaps money that’s been allocated from an annual or quarterly budget.
B2C Marketing (Business to Consumer):
In this category, you are marketing to consumer buyers who are purchasing your products and/or services because of the needs they experience in their life (which typically outside of their work, or at least go beyond simply their actual job). For instance, smartphone cases, restaurants, hair styling products, and video games are all examples of consumer products.
The Marketing Division
Traditionally, there’s been a major divide between how B2B Marketing and B2C Marketing operated. The former, sometimes called enterprise marketing, was about offering detailed information that really educated buyers on the features and benefits of the product, using professional language, and using highly targeted direct ad sales.
The latter, sometimes called consumer marketing, was about capturing people’s attention, sometimes with wacky or gimmicky ads, creating a fun and positive emotional association with the brand, so that when they saw the product in stores, or while out and about, or were shopping online, they’d recall that positive feeling and make the purchase. The content was very broad since customers often came from diverse background and had different uses for your product.
But a number of trends has started to disrupt this simple and segmented approach to marketing. B2B marketers are starting to do more emotional brand building while B2C marketers, facing a savvier and more discerning public, are creating marketing content that’s more educational and “professional”.
Social Media Has Blurred the Lines
From the Social Media Examiner’s new report, we see that the most favored social network for B2B vs B2C marketers differs. For the former, it is LinkedIn, for the latter, Facebook. But what’s more impressive is that a significant chunk of B2B marketers favor Facebook and Twitter as well, and a non trivial number of B2C marketers put LinkedIn and Twitter at the top of their lists.
Examples of Traditional and New Marketing
But beyond just an overlap in marketing channels, there’s also an overlap in the type of content that B2B and B2C marketers are producing. Take a look at a few examples:
Traditional B2B Marketing
Google Enterprise is a product that bundles Gmail, Google Drive, GCal and other products into a package that’s sold to businesses. Over at Google Plus, they share tips on how to use Gmail, showcasing a feature within their product (save to Drive) that has a tangible benefit (save hard drive space).
New B2B Marketing
Over on Twitter, General Electric, (a Percolate client), uses friendly, easy-to-understand language to share the many things GE works on. Many of their posts are much more focused on generating a positive emotional response than giving detailed educational material on product features.
Our badass machines are built by equally badass employees. pic.twitter.com/PcczYf2Jse
— General Electric (@generalelectric) May 16, 2014
Traditional B2C Marketing
On Tumblr, the casual dining chain Denny’s, has a weird, dorky, and incredibly popular style of posts that appeals to teens and young adults who love breakfast fast-food. This particular post is a play on the first line of the chart-topping song “Fancy” and has garnered over 26k likes and comments.
New B2C Marketing
New Balance, the shoe company, has written content on theirtheir blog plus videos and mobile apps on minimal shoes and how to run properly, showing how education and a detailed review of features and benefits can be beneficial when marketing to consumers, not just businesses.
So that’s a primer on B2B vs B2C Marketing and how it’s changing. We expect this trend to continue: consumer and enterprise marketing will start to look more and more like each other. What do you think? Tweet us with your thoughts: @percolate.