B2B companies often see themselves as completely different from B2C businesses, especially in the way that they market themselves. But even though there are some big differences, B2B companies can actually learn a lot from B2C companies and the way that they operate.
If you don’t pay attention to the strategies that these companies use, you are missing out on some great opportunities to drive your business forward and get more customers. Here are 4 Things
B2B businesses can learn from B2C businesses.
Focus On Your Customers
In the B2C sector, the customer is at the heart of everything. There’s a reason that the phrase, ‘the customer is always right,’ is so common. Even if it isn’t necessarily true, B2C companies always bend over backwards to accommodate the needs of the customer and B2B businesses should be doing the same.
A customer-centric business considers the wants and needs of the customer every step of the way, from product development right through to marketing and customer service.
When designing products, they start by identifying the problems that the customer has and then developing products to solve them. When marketing products, they start by building a profile of their target audience so they can understand what kind of marketing strategies are most effective and what kind of interactions they want to have with businesses.
Unfortunately, many B2B businesses fail to do this and instead operate a product-centric approach. In other words, they design a product and then start looking for customers that might be interested. This is a far less effective strategy and if you want to improve your business, you need to start putting the customer first.
Focus on gathering data about your target audience so you can understand what their most pressing needs are. This then allows you to create products that meet demand. You can do this by looking at sales data about existing products and learning about market trends.
Networking with business leaders and talking to them about their needs is effective too. Use this information to create a customer persona for your average customer, so you can design and market products that are tailored to your audience.
Customer testing for products is crucial too. When you are in the later stages of development, this allows you to make changes and develop a product that meets the exact needs of the customer, rather than trying to find the perfect customer for a product you have developed in isolation.
Invest In Brand Building
Many B2B businesses underestimate the importance of branding. They assume that purchasing decisions will be based on logic, so their focus should be on offering competitive prices and desirable product features. But even though those things are important, building a strong brand is equally effective.
Many B2C companies find success on the strength of their brand rather than the superiority of their product. Technology companies are a prime example of this; Apple products are the same, if not worse than many of their competitors in terms of features and functionality, yet they cost twice as much. The only reason that they are so successful is that people buy into the brand.
The same is true in the B2B world, especially if your product is very similar to that of your competitors. Take a courier company, for example. The service offered will be very similar across the board, but well-established brands like FedEx will always find it easier to get customers because they have a strong brand.
Tiga, a B2B marketing expert in the UK say that “A strong business brand can help make up for shortfalls in other areas. Even if a competitor can offer a slightly better price or an improved service, customers still choose you because they associate you with reliability and a high level of expertise.” So, although the practical elements are important, make sure that you invest in building a strong brand.
Use Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has become a central feature of B2C marketing campaigns and it’s incredibly effective. People put more trust in the recommendations of trusted influencers than marketing campaigns created by a business. It’s essentially the modern-day version of word of mouth marketing.
In the B2B sector, an estimated 91% of purchase decisions are influenced by word of mouth. So, why do only 15% of B2B companies make use of influencer marketing?
Unfortunately, many B2B companies simply don’t realize how effective it can be and they assume that it’s a strategy that only works for B2C businesses. This isn’t the case at all because if a well-respected business leader recommends a product or service, other businesses trust that recommendation.
There are plenty of social media channels dedicated to business advice and platforms like LinkedIn are filled with business leaders giving their opinion. Try to connect with some of these influencers and develop a marketing strategy with them.
Focus On Existing Customers
Finding new customers is an important part of marketing for both B2C and B2B businesses. However, B2C companies often focus on making repeat sales to customers that have bought from them before. By establishing a strong relationship with a customer and becoming their go-to option, these companies generate a steady revenue stream that keeps the business stable.
B2B businesses should be doing the same but many put too much focus on attracting new customers, so they neglect their existing ones.
Building a relationship with your current customers means that you have a constant flow of cash coming into the business. Although you should still spend time marketing to new customers, it’s better to have one customer that stays with you for years instead of five customers that only buy one product from you.
To achieve this, always maintain good communication and focus on providing solutions and adding value to your customers’ businesses. If they know that you are always a phone call away and you are always able to help with their problems, you become a trusted ally to their business and they won’t consider working with anybody else.
These are the 4 Things B2B businesses can learn from B2C businesses. If you want your business to thrive, take these lessons on board and use them to guide your product development and marketing strategies in the future.