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B2B and B2C – different worlds or hand-in-hand?

Blog post Published   29 March 2017

What comes to your mind when you think about B2B or B2C marketing? Completely different worlds or related fields? While marketers in both B2B and B2C are pursuing the same objectives (more customers, more deals!), their methods usually differ. But ARE they as different as they seem?

B2B is all about loooong and complex buying cycles with many stakeholders involved. Additionally, they are involved and engaged in different parts of the buying process. The decisions are often rational, well founded and based on clearly defined requirements, research and analysis. B2C marketers on the other hand, usually have only one decision maker to consider: the buyer of their products. Consumers often buy based on emotional reasons and are motivated by status, style, safety, comfort and quality etc.

But even though the purchasing behavior is different on so many levels between B2C and B2B, it is still always people like you and me that we communicate with. We can summarize the purchasing behavior like this:

– Everyone wants to feel they are in control of the buying process

– Everyone is looking for the best information

– Everyone wants transparency

We see a trend emerging where marketing methods are exchanged between B2B and B2C – what can we learn from each other to build a strong relationship with the people that we do business with?

Advances in technology in recent years have made it possible for B2C to focus increasingly on relationship marketing, an area that previously has been closely associated with B2B. While blast mailing was used in the past, we can now see the use of multi-touch triggers and rule-based mailings and a multi-channel campaign mindset to build a relationship with the consumers. The messaging is more and more personal and tailored to the target audience. Although B2B customers don’t have the same expectations for personalization (yet), all trends point towards designing the message with specific needs and challenges in mind. “I am a vegetarian, I’m not interested in an offer for Australian beef!”

The personal touch in the way we address our customers can now be seen in both B2B and B2C – especially in the social channels. The importance of conveying that it is a human contact behind the company brand has traditionally been greater in B2C, but B2B is now also beginning to use “Tim at Drip” and “Felix from Triggerbee” in communication with their clients.

Retargeting marketing, i.e. ads displayed on third party websites to attract past visitors back to the original website, have long been used by B2C marketers. Now, B2B marketers use similar methods in Account-Based Marketing (ABM). Simplified, this means that ads and content are directed to existing and potential key customers and the associated decision-makers, and thereby strengthen the relationship.

The exchange of marketing tactics and technology between B2B and B2C has major implications, not least for the area of marketing automation. Eloqua originally developed marketing automation in the late 90’s with the goal of helping B2B companies to generate leads and shorten sales cycles. In the near future we will see more and more vendors that are developing features specifically for B2C, but at the same time adding features and integrations for targeted advertising (in the paid media) as part of the dedicated B2B marketing campaigns.

We at Recoordinate deliver projects to both B2B and B2C organisations. We can guide you through the selection of the right marketing technology, implementation of new journeys and the design of your future marketing teams.

What to do tomorrow:

Take a B2B marketer or a B2C marketer out for lunch and figure out what you can learn from each other. Or contact us and we can help.


Joanna Mårtensson
Senior Marketing Consultant at Recoordinate


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