Imagine if someone walked up to you on the street, tapped you on the shoulder and said, I know that you are interested in (fill in the blank). Do you think that would get your attention?
Why do people over-complicate simple concepts? According to Seth Godin, marketing is a contest for people’s attention; I agree. Do we really need distinctions between marketing to businesses verses marketing to consumers? It all boils down to person to person communications, or touch-points.
Marketers are struggling with the traditional distinctions of B2B and B2C, since those boundaries are becoming blurry. The once clear line between those two methodologies is blurring as digital marketing evolves and the importance of human engagement becomes more apparent.
X2X = CX
You hear the terms B2C, B2B, B2P, P2P, H2H, and any number of combinations, but it does not matter what it is called, the outcome has to be the same: exceptional customer experiences. Integrated marketing is a fine blend of being able to engage with other people in a meaningful way and delivering a great customer experiences.
It might be a scary thing for a lot of organizations, but buyers are increasingly self-educating through online research, peer opinions and social media. B2B marketers that were traditionally focused on providing information are now striving to build an emotional brand connection, a skill that B2C companies have honed for a long time. On the other hand, B2C marketers are reviewing their marketing strategies to create more “professional” and educational content for a generation of savvier consumers. The most successful organizations today are able to do both; they have a blended approach of B2B and B2C marketing methodology.
Reach out and touch me…
Obviously there is a difference between consumer buyers and business buyers, but they are not strictly different audiences anymore. As a business, you are marketing to people, whether individuals or in groups. It is these people whose behaviors we want to impact and decisions we want to influence. According to Bryan Kramer, a social business analyst, “Businesses do not have emotion. People do. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. People want to feel something. People want to be included. People want to understand.” Simply put, people want to be touched by other people! As such, the access to information is a major contributor to ways in which B2B and B2C marketing have begun to converge. Access to data gives marketers an opportunity to touch their audiences in ways they weren’t able to before.
A real life example…
Whether it is B2B or B2C, marketing is all about connecting and engaging with people…nothing new here, but it’s an important point to reiterate. Intel is a great example of a company that has successfully implemented these new marketing methods. Despite being a B2B product, Intel launched a public advertising campaign called ‘Intel Inside’. That campaign for the end consumer cemented the Intel semiconductor chip as a ‘must-have’ in their PCs and laptops. Even the most tech-illiterate consumer did not buy a computer which did not have the ‘Intel’ label, in spite of having absolutely no clue what part it actually played in the computer’s performance. Intel was able to beat its competitor, AMG by using an indirect channel (the consumers) to influence their ultimate target market (the computer manufacturers).
Marketing plans should reflect the new customer that evolved in the digital age, and the marriage of B2B and B2C marketing techniques may be exactly what will give your organization a competitive advantage.
If marketing is a contest for people’s attention, marketers need to get better at touching their audience.