How is B2B marketing different from B2C marketing?

B2B or business-to-business marketing is very different from B2C marketing, which is aimed at consumers. It’s worth pointing out that communication can have a very strong B2C tinge, even if it’s corporate marketing.

The big difference lies in the buying cycle, which is longer in B2B. Decisions are made by a buying group made up of different individuals who have unequal weight in the decision, and who come from different age groups (Generation BB or baby boomers – Generation X – Generation Y or millennials – Generation Z).

The stakes are generally higher in B2B, and the notion of risk is much more important than in B2C: financial, functional, ecological, technical or technological.

B2B purchasing goes beyond attributes such as competitive pricing, delivery and technical support. Your customer’s decision is based on knowledge, trust and connection!

I want to talk to your expert

65%

of B2B companies expect to increase their marketing budgets in 2021, according to Marcommnews.

Marketing B2B meeting

B2B Marketing

B2C Marketing

Risks

For the company: high
For the employee: career and reputation
Financial on major purchases

Emotions

Risk-related Related to the positive: pleasures, recognition, assets

Purchasing process

Long (6 to 24 months) Short, apart from major purchases (house, car)

Marketing actions

Numerous on several individuals Many on the same individual. Increasingly personalized.

Being customer-centric

On all company functions and personas, constant over time. Intense over time

Customer experience

In facilitating decision-making, from one stage of the purchasing cycle to the next Wow factor!

Request generation

This is a long-term project requiring constant collaboration between marketing and sales. Very much focused on advertising

Products and services

Mostly niche Mass and niche

Personas

Positions involved in the decision-making process Ideal consumer profile

Influencers

Expertise influence Mass influence

Branding in B2B marketing

Emotions at the heart of the B2B brand experience. A brand that is consistent, relevant and aligned with well-defined needs clearly demonstrates its value to its customers. However, it can be a complex task to establish a unique positioning that effectively differentiates the brand from the competition, while achieving its objectives. It’s in this context that the integration of emotions into the brand experience becomes crucial. The emotions aroused by these experiences, far more than messages, define brands and create a deeper, more meaningful connection with the public.

More than a logo or a website, a brand is a living entity that must constantly evolve by listening, correcting, optimizing and interacting. This is particularly crucial in B2B marketing to remain relevant in its market.

The ability to arouse emotions in customers and employees is essential for a brand. It creates an emotional bond that goes beyond the simple commercial transaction. In B2B, where decisions are often perceived as more rational, emotional impact plays a key role in differentiation and loyalty.

By integrating emotions into every interaction, B2B brands aren’t just selling a product or service; they’re selling a memorable experience. This experience must be consistent across all touchpoints to strengthen the brand’s perception and value.

 

I want to talk to your expert

80%

B2B companies plan to invest more in their branding strategies over the next five years, with an expected overall increase of around 20% – Research by Spencer Brenneman

B2B marketing success criteria

The customer experience (CX) in B2B marketing

By becoming increasingly B2C in its approach, B2B marketing has had to multiply customer experiences in the buying cycle. There are many contacts with many people. Perhaps this explains why more projects are abandoned than lost to the competition. It’s important to :

  • Understand the Buyer’s Journey

  • Improve contact points

  • Master your moments of truth

Marketing and sales integration / alignment

To thrive today, companies must reinvent marketing and sales to adopt powerful customer data strategies and omnichannel approaches – They must undergo a digital marketing and sales transformation:

  • Service level agreements (SLAs)

  • Sales support (equipping salespeople to perform)

  • Request scoring (MQL-SQL)

  • Automation for nurturing

  • Common use of CRM

  • Sales videos

Tactics in B2B marketing

Developed and supported by a strategy, themselves developed on the basis of recent data from qualitative research (personas, value proposition, satisfaction studies, etc.) and quantitative research (polls and surveys), tactics fit together in a game plan (marketing plan) that takes into account the length of the buying cycle and the moments of truth that need to be won.

Popular tactics:

  • E-mail

  • Webinar

  • SEO

  • Direct marketing

  • Video

  • Trade shows

  • Social networks

  • Content marketing

    • Owned content
    • Earned public relations
    • Paid campaigns

Social Selling

Of growing importance given the increasingly imposing presence of millennials in the decision-making process, “social selling” has become unavoidable since the onset of the pandemic and the decline in trade shows. The failure of B2B salespeople to make proper use of social networks has been catastrophic for many sales teams and therefore their companies. New paradigms:

  • A major shift in the way we sell

  • The emergence of new “beta” salespeople

  • The rise and importance of LinkedIn

Content marketing

There are five key benefits you can derive from B2B content marketing. Strengthen your company’s brand, differentiate yourself, position yourself in your market, positively influence the stakeholders and decision-makers involved in the B2B buying cycle, and dynamically engage all your communities. To do this, you need a strategy and the right tools:

  • B2B content strategy

  • Blog

  • Social networks

  • Rich content

  • SEO optimization

B2B strategic marketing planning

To ensure that your proposed strategies are innovative, winning, aligned with your customers and stand out from those of your competitors, they must be based on research methods and tools that meet B2B marketing best practices:

  • Marketing research (insight)

  • Analysis and validation

  • Value proposition

  • ABM

  • Personas (insight)

  • Buyer’s journey – buying cycle (insight)

  • Positioning and branding strategy

The website in B2B marketing

In B2B, the website is the sinews of war with sales. As the crossroads of sales and marketing efforts, this strategic and tactical tool must be modern and effective. A B2B website can’t just be a catalog or a shop window. In fact:

  • It caters to multiple users and must therefore include multiple levels of content depth

  • It has a blog and “rich” content

  • It generates requests (leads) and sometimes sales

  • It is an ambassador for your brand throughout the buying cycle

Digital campaigns (Ads)

Inbound requests are important in B2B. Lead generation is a key tactic in new B2B marketing. However, few companies can get away with not advertising. Attention is the new oil, and interrupting someone as they scroll through the news on their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter/X or Instagram feed becomes, in some cases, a challenge not lightly tackled, since time spent on social networks as part of our job is never well regarded in most B2B companies. Effective ads take into account:

  • Personas

  • Decision-making processes

  • Buying cycle

  • Mental availability

B2B marketing technologies (martech)

From “Nice-to-Have” to “Must-Have” in recent years, marketing technologies are increasingly present in B2B. The three most important at the moment are:

  • CRM

  • Automated nurturing

  • Third-party data

Data collection and quality management (CRM, automation)

Data (customers, prospects and accounts)

Combating low cognitive availability

If we accept that buying cycles are long and that there are fewer B2B customers, this means that at a given moment “x”, there are few companies ready to buy. So we need to create a link between the brand and the different purchasing situations. We want the content, the ad, to be “strong” enough to deserve to be remembered by the potential customer (prospect), and to be evoked at the right moment.

Maintain contact with existing and potential customers (nurturing)

Be “present”: Just enough, not too much!

The mantra of all B2B salespeople.

Given the length of the buying cycle and the fact that buyers go 60-80% of the way on their own, they are solicited many times by many salespeople. It’s an art to understand each person’s style, and to keep in touch so as not to miss the sale at the right moment.

The key trends in
B2B marketing are:

  • Webinars

  • Social selling

  • Sales enablement

  • Customer-centric companies

  • Millennials are increasingly in the driver’s seat

  • The influence of B2C on B2B buyers

  • Micro-influencers and ambassadors

I want to talk to your expert

293%

The increase in B2B webinar consumption over the past two years, according to Martech Alliance.