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Why B2B has to become more human

Arina HinloopenWritten by Arina Hinloopen – October 10, 2017.

During my studies, I have learned that there are two kinds of marketing approaches: (1) Business to Business and (2) Business to Consumer marketing. They are seen as two separate approaches with different marketing models. B2C has always been more popular than B2B: in the world of B2C, a beautifully designed modern webshop is necessary, whereas a big wholesaler does not need to pay that much attention to this. A catalogue could be enough for businesses to display their B2B products.

Since I am currently working in a B2B environment, I see both worlds are merging and I notice a lot of similarities, unlike two years ago.

The way products and services are shown in webshops, logistic processes and even customer services are at least as important as when marketing products and services in the B2C environment.

Human to Human

From merging both B2B and B2C, the term Human to Human (H2H) arises. Is it a business selling to another business? I don’t think so. It’s humans who are getting in touch with other humans.

In both worlds it is all about customers: customer satisfaction and customer experience. Good post-sales service is a key component of selling to both businesses and consumers. Businesses consist of humans: the sales manager checks his phone for the latest news, receives newsletters and is also present on social media. As marketers, we are always developing communication to direct people.

“The entrepreneur during the day is also a customer at night.”

 

People conduct business with people, also in a B2B setting. You can’t ignore that products and services are also created, tested, used and designed by humans.

Data driven marketing

Humans affect every part of the business you are in. This is something to remember in this data driven digital world.

A trend I notice working in a B2B environment but also see in marketing focused on the end customer is the development of an omnichannel marketing strategy. This may seem daunting for small businesses, but it is equally so for businesses lacking a large marketing department.  The success of omnichannel marketing is based on the ease with which consumers can move from desktop to mobile to in-store shopping without any disruption or loss of cohesion.

Whether working in a B2B or B2C environment, the main source of an omnichannel strategy is data. Monitoring data will reveal the customer journey and media consumption behavior of your target audience.

In both worlds, it is important that media consumption behavior and the customer journey are mapped. Which channels and platforms do your target audience spend their time on? In the B2C environment this is mostly one person. In the B2B environment there is a bigger Decision Making Unit (DMU) involved, so the needs, wants and demands of multiple people should be involved in creating marketing content.  Different interests and behavior are involved which means different messages are needed to convince.

No matter what environment you are active in, B2B or B2C, businesses with the greatest chance to succeed are those which are most willing to adapt after analyzing their customer experience journey.

 

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