Need some inspiration for marketing your business? The recent age of technology has continuously exploded over the past few years, and different marketing methods have come and gone. A business needs to stay on top of the latest statistics regarding strategy if it wants to compete in its respective market. This research has been compiled here for precisely that purpose. In this paper, some of the top marketing methods of 2021 are highlighted for B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) marketing. In addition, the pros and cons of each are laid out to help give more depth to the general idea of B2B and B2C. Hopefully, you will find inspiration to adopt these methods into your marketing strategies.
B2B (Business to Business) vs. B2C (Business to Consumer) Marketing
The concept of B2B vs. B2C marketing is self-explanatory; it is simply a difference in the target audience. However, the differences in their marketing methods are not self-explanatory, so an easy way to visualize these statements is through an example. Let’s say you are a grape farmer, and harvest is approaching. You could go the B2B route of selling to a grocery store or vintner(winemaker), or you could go the B2C route of setting up an online store or stand at a local farmers market. It’s no easy choice. Do you sell to a lower price per grape to the store/vintner while buying in bulk? Or do you sell at a higher price directly to consumers, but you must go through the effort of reaching the consumer, and you risk not selling all your product? It is also not as simple as just selling your product. You must market it. This brings up the central question inspiring the following two sections:
Two B2B Marketing Methods
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is an essential strategy to implement into your marketing if you are working B2B. Out of other marketing methods, SEO is the best strategy to generate income for your business, but what does implementing SEO entail? The goal of SEO is to optimize the content on your website (Onsite SEO) and promote it (Offsite SEO) to more frequently place your website at or near the top of user searches within search engines such as Google Bing, Yahoo, and you name it. The key is to understand your target audience and what keywords will go into their search bar. Search Engines like Google are automated. You cannot tell Google that your website is selling grapes to businesses. Your content must reflect that. Try searching “buy grapes in bulk.” Keywords from each website are displayed in the search. This part of Onsite SEO is relatively intuitive. Still, you must go beyond including all kinds of keywords in your content because your audience isn’t as predictable as you might think, and they may not necessarily be looking for your business. For your grape business, maybe the audience will search more generally, perhaps “fruit in bulk” or something along those lines. Consideration is a must to ensure your website content matches as many possible searches as possible.
Social Media Marketing:
Social media is the home to many, and that is precisely why it is an excellent platform for you to promote your business. Social media marketing is a great strategy to implement into your marketing and works great in tandem with other marketing efforts such as Offsite SEO. This strategy has incredible influence over B2B conversion rates resulting in increased traffic to your website and profit for your business. It is challenging to master and potentially dangerous if you outsource and entrust the work of Social Media Marketing to someone reckless since one bad tweet could get your business in trouble. However, the humanization your brand gets trust and the free feedback you receive from those online is worth the effort. Whether it’s a short video, an image, a tweet, a comment on another post, this kind of content, while seemingly worthless, is excellent for your business. These little bits are easy to digest for other users, and they are tricked into digesting it in some cases as although they may not be actively looking to spend their money, seeing these social media posts gets them to think about your business even if its subconscious.
Two B2C Marketing Methods
PPC (Pay Per Click):
“Pay Per Click” refers to the monetization method where each click comes at a price. For example, should Pay-Per-Click advertisements be used on sports articles, readers may be drawn to click on ads regarding the teams mentioned in the report, such as apparel, other articles, or activity-related products. This uses the reader’s interests to help target advertisements and can also spread awareness. Search ads can boost brand awareness by up to 80 percent instilling memories into consumers, thus showing the importance of targeted marketing having a profoundly positive effect on the advertised product through exposure. Similarly, the widespread use of the internet with Google’s 160 billion searches per month showcases the potential monetary profit of Pay-Per-Click advertisements. Thus, not only do the advertisers receive payment for clicks on their advertisements, but the likelihood of users buying the advertised product increased due to the increased website traffic and appropriate placing of the ad.
Co-branding is an essential strategy used by several top brands to keep their product or service new and different. It is a partnership where two companies create a unique third product using their brand name to draw in consumers, resulting in monetary or publicity gains for both parties. There are several benefits to co-branding: a broader audience as this method brings two brands together, which includes their respective following. An example of this occurred recently when the South Korean pop group known as “BTS” partnered with McDonald’s to make their signature meal. Fans of both McDonald’s and BTS came together, resulting in this co-branding deal boosting McDonald’s worldwide sales by 41% during the agreement and the pop group making a reported 8.89 million USD from the partnership.
Any competent business owner knows to seize every opportunity to promote and expand where reasonably possible, and what’s the harm in reaching out to another company with an idea if you truly believe it will work?
The following contains some short summaries detailing the basic pros and cons of each marketing method.
• Profit Margin – The nature of B2B sales is generally far more prominent than most B2C sales. B2B sales often are in bulk with small items with perhaps scheduled re-orders or other cases like contractors the sale is always going to be significant. In addition, the market potential for B2B feeds into this profit margin well. Something such as grapes going B2C at a farmers’ market is limited in that it targets consumers who want to eat the grapes or perhaps use them for a recipe. However, grapes going B2B have various options like selling in bulk to vintners, grocery stores, companies that make grape jelly, you name it.
• Location of Sales – A large majority of B2B commerce is done on the web. This is a good thing as it is far easier to manage an online presence than to maintain something like a storefront. The location for your selling also benefits the audience you sell to. It is more convenient for them to shop online rather than require physical effort to purchase a product. The ease of a good online website and the smoothness of the transaction go a long way for getting sales.
• Security – No part of B2B is easy, but once you secure some contracts or ongoing deals, there’s good stability to be had from that. B2C is scary in that you could have your products go from flying off the shelves to forgotten quicker than you may realize. Any stability in the business world is something to be desired.
• Competition – This con applies to both B2B and B2C, but in a scarier way. If you aren’t already a big name in your respective market, it is going to be extremely difficult to secure any contracts, deals, or even just one-time purchases. Even if you manage to secure one deal, you run the risk of your business flopping if you rely on just that to stay afloat. It is also harder to compete in marketing against more prominent names as they are already out there, so it is relatively easy to stay out there. Still, you must work on both getting out there and maintaining whatever position you hold. Other problems with the competition are the monopoly many places have. Big names can survive simply undercutting your price to whatever consumer while you might not be able to. You must be very careful when entering markets and avoid being shut out.
• Difficult Entry – Given the vast majority of B2B commerce taking place online and the quick judgment by consumers, you need to have a robust online presence and a good website which can be expensive and difficult to set up initially. Extensive research must be done to understand the customer’s desire and streamline that experience for them.
• Negotiations – You, a business trying to min-max profits, are selling to another company trying to accomplish the same. A big part of B2B commerce is negotiating with customers to reach a deal that both parties are happy with, especially since prices you may list on your website are likely not as low as you are willing to go.
• Sales Cycle – Sales cycle is essentially the stage at which a purchase is made. There is a significant benefit to B2C commerce in that the sales cycles are much faster and easily influenced by provoking certain emotions. B2B sales take an immense amount of time as they are often big purchases for big projects, and so the buyer will take their time to ensure they find the best deal with a high-quality partner. B2C commerce can happen in seconds with someone thinking, “Oh, these grapes look good, let me buy them!”. If you can cater your product towards the quick decision-making of buyers, you can generate good sales.
• Discounts – One great thing about B2C is the ability to offer discounts. This partly feeds into the sales cycle, but having values makes customers feel like they are getting a good deal and may buy a product they don’t even need. Or in some cases, loyalty programs offering discounts or free items after certain purchases can be geared towards your profit margin when set up correctly. Loyalty programs are great as it gives the incentive to create a relationship with customers like that in B2B markets. Still, here you can get repeat customers to provide you with business continuity.
• Customer Base – While B2B markets directly to a business, B2C calls to a consumer. Everyone in the world is a consumer and is thus a potential customer, while B2B does not have that liberty. This, of course, does not mean your product appeals to everyone and will mean you have an infinite customer base, but the percentage of people potentially looking for a product like yours is massive. This can be of big help to any B2C business, especially those that sell “occasional” purchase products like furniture in that a large customer base means you do not need to rely on repeat customers.
• Slow return on investment – The high upfront costs of starting your business with storefronts, websites, marketing campaigns add up quickly. With the generally low price of B2C products and usually prolonged initial start to new business, one should expect profits to be in the red for a while.
• Quantity of sales – With large sales comes to the downside of an increased number of issues customers may have. If one wants to get good ratings and maintain an excellent reputation, one must deal with problems that arise well. It is easier said than done since many issues can be hard to resolve in ways that don’t overeat out of profit.
• Marketing – This applies to any business, but it is especially hard for B2C commerce. Like how big-name B2B companies can undercut you and shut you out, B2C companies do that on a more complex scale. The profit margin on a majority of B2C products is already low given the generally low price anyway. So it is hard to compete for customers looking for a reasonable price. When you cannot afford to lower your cost further, how do you market your product as “worth the price” in the face of competitors? It is hard enough to get your product on the shelves or in the market, but you also must market that to large numbers of customers.
Which is better? B2B or B2C?
The simple truth one, as an aspiring business owner likely knows, is it depends. It truly does not matter which one is better, and depending on your business, both might even be an option. This paper is not meant to sway a business owner to go down a specific route but rather inform one about the way they plan to take already. There is no easy method in the business world, and as someone without any business experience, I am not in a position to dictate where one’s business should go.