In this corner, we have Business to Business Marketing, or B2B. And in this corner, the challenger, Business to Consumer Marketing, or B2C. Which will prevail as these two marketing strategies duke it out? It’s anyone’s call. Ding-ding-ding!
When it comes to B2B and B2C marketing, the two are often pitted against one another. Companies selling a product or service will look at which segment is most important, and which will generate the most revenue for them. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Rather than think of it as a B2B vs B2C contest, the two can work together and ultimately achieve more. After all, they’re a lot more alike than most people think. That’s why today, many companies have refocused their strategies to bridge the B2B and B2C marketing gap.
The Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing
In the past, it was often pretty obvious when a business was targeting another business or going after a consumer; the language used and the accompanying visuals were often a dead giveaway—along with the medium. The thought process of marketers when it came to their B2B and B2C marketing channels often went something like this:
- B2B marketing was all about “keeping it professional.” This meant focusing on the logic of the product and its features. Understanding that almost half of all B2B deals can take seven months or more and often involve many people, marketing content also tended to be filled with industry-specific keywords requiring insider knowledge in order to educate and get picked up by relevant, industry sites.
- B2C marketing, on the other hand, was all about “stirring emotions.” This meant focusing on the emotional benefits of the product and its benefits. B2C deals can sometimes be closed in mere seconds since they often involve just one person. So lengthy, educational marketing initiatives are pushed aside in favor of quick and punchy messaging designed to get a reaction or maybe even go viral.
Today, marketers are discovering that there is a clear intersection of B2B and B2C —it’s all about navigating it correctly. Sometimes you may need a GPS, but it can be done!
What B2B and B2C Marketing Can Learn From One Another
Marketers understand that a B2B deal often consists of a group of decision-makers involved in a business purchase. Of course, with more people comes more opinions and emotions. That’s why, rather than thinking about the needs of those within the group, it was easier for B2B marketers to zero in on informing and educating the buyers about the product or service, nurturing them over time, without tapping into the emotional angle. However, it’s important to also address the needs of this audience, just as you would the consumer audience. A better understanding of the personal dynamics can go a long way toward forging a connection.
B2C can learn from the B2B market as well. The majority of B2C marketing takes a “spray n’ pray” approach, targeting as many consumers as possible and hoping for as many buyers as possible. As mentioned earlier, it can be much faster closing a deal with a consumer rather than with a business, so B2C marketing often gives little consideration toward the lead nurturing approach taken by B2B marketers. However, by including a nurture stream approach with select consumers, marketers can begin to develop not just buyers, but strong advocates for their brand and its products. These advocates, or influencers, can have a big impact on generating buzz and inspiring the purchases of others.
As you can see, blurring the lines between B2B and B2C marketing can have a positive effect on both. Ultimately, rather than thinking about the B2B audience as a “business” and the B2C audience as a “consumer,” both should first be viewed first as a person. Welcome to the age of B2Me marketing!
What is B2Me Marketing?
The B2Me strategy views everyone who comes in contact with your marketing as an individual with ideas, needs, and problems. As the name implies, B2Me recognizes that all buyers, whether they’re purchasing for a company or themselves, will look at things in terms of, “what’s in it for me?”. So, your marketing should inspire their ideas, meet their needs, and solve their problems. This works for a consumer casually scrolling through ads on their social media feed or an executive reading an in-depth report about a new product in the office.
B2Me marketing also understands that all people are information seekers. Studies show that B2B buyers are conducting more detailed ROI analysis before making a purchase decision (77%) and using more information sources for research and evaluation (75%). By the same token, data also suggests that the vast majority of consumers engage in pre-research before making a purchase either online or in-store (88%). Whether it’s business leaders looking for peer or colleague reviews or general consumers gathering input from Amazon reviews, the bottom line is, most potential purchasers look to others before making a purchase.
For both segments, it’s beneficial to develop marketing initiatives that inform and educate (the traditional B2B method) but that are also relatable and engaging (the traditional B2C method). By giving people the information they seek and establishing an emotional connection, marketers can take a new approach that works for both B2B and B2C marketing.
B2C and B2B Healthcare Marketing
Healthcare and medical device marketing may seem like an entirely different beast. But it too can take a B2Me approach to marketing. Most product and service offerings in the healthcare and medical industries are geared toward medical professionals, who will of course want to understand the intricacies of the product. On the other hand, they’ll also want to know what’s in it for them (Will it improve our patient experience? Boost our financial performance? Reduce the risk of malpractice?). By addressing both, healthcare marketers can tap into both the information-seeking nature and emotional needs of potential buyers.
While the sale of many healthcare services and medical devices begins with the medical community, targeting consumers can also be beneficial. After all, they are often end-users. By providing them with information and making an emotional connection, you can begin to push products through the sales funnel as customers begin requesting or asking about your technology when they’re visiting their provider. If you’re strategic enough, they’ll also begin talking it up on social media, gaining traction with others and potentially generating media attention.
B2B and B2C Marketing with Diberin Solutions
For too long, B2B and B2C marketing have been relegated to opposite corners of the marketing ring, making it difficult for some medical device startups to consider merging the two. Diberin Solutions, a leading healthcare consulting firm, can help. We’re trusted by healthcare startups and medical device startups big and small, such as BandGrip, a unique wound closure application. With BandGrip, we took a B2Me medical device marketing strategy, informing the medical community about the product while highlighting what was in it for them—better patient results, less time in the OR, and fewer return trips caused by complications of traditional suturing. We also targeted consumers to let them know about the product and the benefits they’d enjoy, such as less scarring and faster healing. The combination of B2B and B2C marketing resulted in quicker-to-market adoption of the BandGrip product!
Want to learn more about what Diberin Solutions can do for your healthcare or medical device startup? Contact us today!