I have been doing B2C Digital Marketing for years and originally became intrigued with B2B practices years ago when I took a contractual position with a company. I see a lot of confusion from people online about the two so I figured why not clarify some of this confusion up. So here is where my research started with B2B marketing practices – My first day on the job at this firm, I did a quick scan of their social media presence and realized the company was missing out on some golden opportunities. It’s an oversight that I believe many companies make but after writing up a detailed report and reading “B2B Digital Marketing” by Michael Miller, I wanted to share some of the information I learned.
First, what do you think of when I say the term “B2B” (Business-to-Business)? Chances are you think of the picture below; one business trying to get another company’s business or one business interacting with another business.
In reality, it’s much more like this picture …with humans. We’re all human and we crave interaction. Buildings don’t talk to each other, humans do so build a relationship and watch that foster into increased traffic, new business relationships, etc.
Second, so I just treat business customers like my everyday average customers that buy my products? Wrong.
B2B Digital Marketing is different than B2C because customers make decisions based off emotion whereas business customers make decisions based off logic. It takes different approaches to appeal to a certain kind of customer. Think about your favorite fast food place. Ok, you’re healthy I get it but honestly just think about a quick fast food place you like to go. Now check out their presence on Twitter. Chances are you’ll see them interacting with their customers: retweeting, replying, “favoriting” tweets, and so on.
Now look at a company, like Pfizer Inc. on Twitter. You see the difference? Pfizer uses Twitter to inform their mix of customers about new clients, awards won, company information and Pfizer still does it with a sense of humor – #LetsGetOld. This is just one B2B approach to digital marketing because just as there are many different social media platforms, there should be different techniques for each one. Unlike B2C where you are trying to sell a product or appeal to a consumer, B2B strives to create a long-lasting, beneficial relationship with other business customers by showcasing what their company can do for you.
Third, where do I begin? You begin by stepping away from traditional media and realize that digital marketing works in a way that traditional media can’t with B2B. Digital marketing allows for a two-way conversation which means when a potential business customer reaches out via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. you, the company, can respond back and create a conversational relationship. Sure, you may still find traditional media works for you but you can’t talk to a newspaper; well you can, but it doesn’t talk back – trust me.
B2B Digital Marketing is not going away so I encourage anyone interested in social media or digital advertising at all, to check out Miller’s book. It’s a great read and one strong statistic I want to throw out before I end this post is that “71% of B2B purchases started with a web search.” (Marketing Sherpa) That’s a strong figure. So if you’re a company and not targeting other companies with relationship-focused methods using digital marketing techniques, you might want to take a look at some of your competition because chances are they’re following this approach.