How B2B retailers are using B2C strategies for growth?
Marketing to businesses has always been different from marketing to customers in a number of ways. B2B sales involves more people and longer timelines, and are often based on logic and need. B2C sales, on the other hand, are based on emotions of the consumers. Moreover, B2B sales are more customized while B2C sales are more about a product or service’s benefits and features.
While all this is true, today B2B and B2C marketing strategies are slowly converging, thanks to the increased popularity of social media in influencing buyers’ purchase decision, and better access to comprehensive consumer data. Like B2C marketing, B2B marketing is slowly moving into the digital realm that is dissolving all the boundaries between the two.
But what B2C marketing strategies should B2B retailers be integrating for growth?
1. Investing more in social media
Social media marketing has been a game changer for business-to-consumer marketers. It has been proven to be the most effective channel to reach out to the target audience, increase brand awareness and conversion, and acquire new customers.
As per a study by Avaus, social media marketing can be as effective for B2B businesses as it is for B2C businesses. As per another survey by Pew Research Center, 77% of American professionals access their social media accounts while at work. The survey also found that:
- 20% of American professionals use social media to access information that helps them with their work problems
- 24% of professionals use it to support or make professional connections
- 17% use it to strengthen or make personal relationships with their colleagues
There are many B2B businesses that have already seen huge growth on social media marketing channels, and continue to succeed as a result of using social media marketing to acquire more customers. However, establishing social media presence as a business-to-business company can be challenging, especially if you are into a niche or highly-technical industry. But taking cues from B2C companies can help B2B businesses establish their online presence to reap more benefits in regards to conversions and sales.
If you haven’t established your social media presence, you are certainly missing out on a lot of potential business that you are trying to capture.
2. Mobile marketing is a staple
It is a well-known fact that B2C companies have gained a lot of business from mobile marketing. Today, almost everybody uses their mobile phones to shop, book tickets, order food or check restaurant reviews. In fact, according to Google, over 50% of searches are performed through mobile devices.
Is mobile marketing as effective for B2B businesses as it is for B2C businesses? Of course, yes!
However, as per a survey conducted by Regalix Inc, more than half of the B2B marketers still haven’t integrated mobile marketing into their marketing strategies. It also shows that most B2B marketers invest in mobile marketing only to target existing customers. They don’t use it to acquire a new customer base. B2B marketers often forget that B2B customers also use their mobile phones just like B2C customers, which makes it all the more important to provide a seamless user experience on all of their devices.
Businesses that fail to provide a better user experience on mobile to their customers often see a significant drop in organic rankings. They might even experience an increased bounce rate. B2B businesses must consider mobile marketing by building websites that are optimized for mobiles as they ensure increased user engagement and site visibility.
Many leading B2B companies such as Dell, FedEx Corp and others are already making use of mobile marketing to maximize their sales and increase their brand awareness. For instance, Access is a product of FedEx Corp which was recently published and is available on Android devices, iPad, and Kindle Fire.
Here are some statistics on the importance of mobile marketing for B2B marketing:
- According to Smart Insights, mobile apps account for more mobile media time than the mobile site, which is approximately 89%.
- As per Salesforce, 68% of businesses are already using mobile marketing
- According to eMarketer, 83% of B2B marketers consider mobile marketing crucial for content marketing
The aforementioned statistics clearly indicate that mobile marketing is something B2B businesses cannot afford to overlook.
3. B2C buyers influencing B2B buyers behavior
B2B buyer’s behavior is changing constantly. And with this behavioral change, businesses also need to change their sales process.
Where a millennial B2B buyer is more inclined towards digital experiences, Gen X B2B buyers were more used to interacting with a sales representative. Although the sales representative interaction cannot be entirely replaced, yet it has reduced drastically.
According to BCG 2017 report, over three-quarters of B2B sales today have little to no interaction with sales representatives. Rather, they prefer making the purchase on digital resources such as social media, blogs, buyer reviews, mobile-optimized websites, B2B ecommerce development and suppliers’ mobile apps.
This indicates how buyers are engaged from their first interaction with the business through to after the sale has been changed. Therefore, the way businesses approach a customer needs to be changed else they’ll lose their potential customers.
4. New customer acquisitions with improved B2B CX
The CX index ratings of B2B businesses are significantly lower than those of B2C businesses. B2C businesses score in a range of 65 to 85%, while B2B businesses score less than 50%. As B2B buyer expectations rise, this ratings gap will become more evident. Therefore, the rise in mobile usage and digitization are setting new standards for better customer experience.
Easy-to-use apps and real-time responsiveness for everyday chores like ordering groceries or daily banking are setting high standards in B2C industries, and the same expectations are moving to B2B industries. Thus, B2B businesses that fail to meet these standards may be left in the dust.
For B2B businesses that have yet not integrated e-commerce, now is the right time to do so.
In the end, it’s all about converting the prospective buyer and providing them with the latest resources to buy. As many B2B businesses integrating m-commerce into their marketing strategies, B2B buyers are experiencing the same online shopping experience as that of B2C buyers.