Why B2B is More Complex than B2C

B2B marketing is significantly more complex than B2C marketing. It requires more face-to-face interaction with customers, often in a series of formal meetings over weeks or months. The cost of a sale for the b2b market can be more expensive than the B2C market. The buying cycle can be much longer than for B2C, and the number of stakeholders involved leads to more than three-quarters of buyers stating that their most recent purchase was “very complex or difficult”.

The easiest way to explain this is that a B2B transaction often requires more consideration, involves more people, and requires more decision makers. A company's B2B decision-making process can involve up to ten group members, each with their own agenda of information to collect and collect. A recent Gartner article states that the B2B buying process has changed and describes how sales strategies should also change to adapt to the customer's struggle to buy the best possible products. Forrester recently published an article which states that “the walls between B2B and B2C have collapsed and that b2b sellers should be more modeled on the B2C format”. Forbes cites another article which analyzes how, after decades of separate strategies for the B2B and B2C markets, audience behaviors and marketing strategies to reach potential buyers are starting to resemble each other.

Foleon's research fits very well with Forrester's analysis, arguing that B2B buying habits, in fact, are becoming more like B2C buying habits. Our recent report is captioned “A decade of digital upheaval has transformed B2B sales and marketing organizations because we believe these market changes are inevitable. In general terms, B2B is more complex than B2C. Products and services, the buyer's journey, distribution channels, and the number of people who influence a decision are often significantly more complex. That doesn't mean that success is more elusive or expensive than for our friends in the B2C world, but it does mean that you have to take a different approach to achieve it. While many of the same strategies and tactics are used in both B2B and B2C marketing, B2B applies them in different ways, leveraging different data and calls to action that reflect a more thoughtful buying path.

Business-to-business (B2B) messaging is more intellectually stimulating and more difficult to create than business-to-consumer (B2C) messaging. B2B messaging is also more difficult to test, so the use of robust research methods is essential. Because B2B sales cycles are long, complex, and full of stakeholders, B2B sales teams are very good at coming up with phrases that work and value proposals that don't really resonate with buyers. Many marketers believe that reaching a B2B customer means reaching them in their workplace, through something like a mass email or even a traditional direct mail campaign. Ongoing relationship building is essential because of the long-term subscriptions, licenses, and contracts that are an integral part of B2B transactions. B2C sellers rarely have direct contact with individual consumers, but B2B sellers only succeed in building trust and credibility, on a personal level, with decision makers.

A study showed that 74.6 percent of B2B sales take 4 months or longer to close, and that almost half take 7 months or more to close. While business and healthcare have their own restrictions in the B2C world, there are often several more restrictions or laws for B2B companies, depending on their industry. Many experts say that B2B buyers have changed their habits and become more like B2C markets in recent years, with faster and simpler decision-making processes underlying their purchases. The B2B marketer has the opportunity to interact with the customer at almost every step of this buying process. While both B2B and B2C marketing can focus on the pain points of your target audience to make an impact, the B2B company's decision maker focuses on the services and products for your company. You can gain this valuable insight by talking directly to B2B customers, hiring a research firm, and talking to your own sales team. The Forbes article lists a number of ways in which B2B marketing has evolved to reap the benefits of marketing to B2C customers, including increased reliance on social media and peer referrals. As a result, it's important for B2B marketers to ensure that they are conveying the right information to their audience.

If you're not sure how to structure your marketing budget, Marketo has a good high-level b2b budget that can help you allocate your funds in the right areas.

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