Businesses that focus strictly on selling goods and services to other businesses (B2B) may eventually entertain the idea of selling directly to the end user, too. This model, B2C or business to consumer, seems like it would be a lucrative option, right?
Businesses sell directly to their end user, obtain immediate feedback from the purchaser, sell at a potentially higher profit margin, and have more control over the way the core business interacts with the target audience. It all sounds great, but in order to make the shift from a B2B structure to a B2C marketing strategy, companies must understand processes must change.
What does it take to change or adopt new strategies based on the target audience and transition from B2B to B2C as smoothly as possible?
Selling to another business in the B2B model is less about emotions and more about economics. Business A sells 1,000 units of goods to business B for $20 each. Business B then sells these products to its customers for $40 each. Everyone wins. Whether Business B has an emotional attachment to the product is secondary. They primarily want to know that it is in demand and can be sold at a profit.
When marketing B2C, emotions may trump logic. Don’t make the consumer work too hard to understand the marketing message. Don’t make them strain over the details to uncover the tangible benefits. Do make sure to create marketing messages that hit both the head and the heart.
Example: If a beauty product is sold from one business to another (B2B), the selling company may market the product like this: “This cleansing face wash is economically priced, safe, gentle, and delivers immediate results.” In a B2C model, the marketing message would be more similar to: “This cleansing face wash gives you the confidence to tackle your day – all at a price that fits your family’s budget.”
Same product, but different emotion and message.
In the B2C marketing model, it is important to understand who your audience is, what they buy, why they buy, what their lifestyle entails, and which segment of the market they fall into. Marketers spend a lot of time trying to figure this out, but the best option is to use a combination of storytelling mixed with automated analytics to create a marketing strategy that works in the B2C realm.
Within the B2C selling model, use important data points to meet customers and prospects where they live – not just where they shop. Once you do, you’ll capitalize on the fact that customers today make far fewer impulsive decisions than they used to, as they now tend to use the abundance of information available to them to make more informed purchases. Rather than buying in-store, they are opting for the convenience of shopping online. How will you create a pleasant experience for them in both places?
Put quality content and marketing collateral in front of your target client and they’ll use this information to help them make a sound buying decision.
Realize Customers Are All That Matters
In the B2B model, you can rely on the product managers to take your product, put their spin on it, market it how they see fit, and then come back in 60 days and order another lot. However, in the B2C model, there is no single middleman. The idea is that the customer is everything. But what happens when your business grows quickly and the notion of “knowing each customer” isn’t feasible?
The trick is to wrap your head around the idea that you must know what your customer needs and wants, but you also have to trust the data gleaned from your analytical work. In a B2B relationship, you sell to a select group of resellers and have the capacity to create real, tangible relationships with them – not so in the B2C realm.
Moving from a B2B selling model to a B2C framework takes time, strategy, and an in-depth understanding of your target audience. It can be incredibly lucrative if handled the right way. It doesn’t mean you have to abandon your current way of doing things, but it gives you the chance for expanded opportunities.