Marketing to Consumers vs Businesses. Is Just Apples vs Oranges.
‘Apples and Oranges’, is the very first thought that pops in my mind when I think of B2B and B2C marketing. They are both marketing aimed towards people who decide, but the differences are enough to make them as different as an Apple compared to an Orange.
B2B or Business to Business marketing is when you as a business owner are marketing your product/service to another business entity. Mind you, it’s a business entity and not a single owner or a decision maker.
B2C or Business to Consumer marketing is when you as a business owner are marketing your product/service to a person. This person is the end consumer and is the only and main decision maker.
Intrinsically both these channels are very different.
Naturally, marketing approach to nail the deals with these two decision makers has to be different.
Same applies to email marketing too. True, you will still design a template, content, use some visuals, and add a call to action. But, the tone and the approach will change.
In a way, B2C is like dating your girlfriend whereas, B2B is like dating her whole family. Funny but true in so many ways. In the first case, your love letter needs to only impress her and in the second case, your love letter has to convey the message without hurting the sentiments and feelings of the whole family. Phew!
Gain attention – one time vs. multiple times.
The purpose of an email, whether for B2C or B2B is to gain the attention of the recipient. The difference, however, is the action after achieving that attention span. In the case of a B2C, the person receiving the email can decide to buy whereas, in the case of B2B, the person receiving it necessarily is not the buyer.
You need to appeal to the buyer in case of B2C based on the product whereas in B2C you need to appeal to the recipient to consider your product.
Because of these inherent differences, the email to a B2C consumer email list can be direct, to the point and with a quick call to action. It is not the same case with a B2C customer.
Sales cycle – short vs long.
A B2C customer sees an email promoting a product, decides to buy it, goes online, checks out the website, places the order and makes the payment. It is simple enough once the email does the job of capturing the imagination of the consumer and creating the need for the product/service. The sales cycle is probably a day or at the maximum, a couple of days.
You cannot rely on the same mechanism in the case of a B2B customer.
A B2B contact sees an email. In most cases, he/she is not the main decision maker. So, the email is forwarded to the concerned chain of approvers followed by sending it to the main decision maker. This may itself take a couple of weeks and a persistent follow up from your side. Lack of a follow up from you may very well see your email moving into archives, even before it reaches the decision maker. Finally, if and when the decision maker sees the email, it will entail a telecon or a personal meeting before the deal is finalized.
So in the first case, one single email might convert a recipient to a customer but in the second case, multiple emails to the business contact list might be needed.
Deciding factor – feel vs. facts.
Creating an email for a B2C customer is a simple process. You just have to create a buyer persona, look at the key attributes and bring them up in your email design. It needs to appeal to the feel or the emotion of the buyer.
Creating an email campaign for a B2B business email list is a complex, time consuming and patient process. You will have to support all emails with hardcore data points or facts. These emails need to establish why the B2B customer should look at your services compared to others.
Design – fun Vs. serious.
Designing an email campaign for a B2C customer opens the possibilities of exploring with various fun and entertaining themes. It allows playing around with words, colors, templates, and content to suit the taste of the customer. Since it is an individual customer who is being targeted, the variety of email templates to be created can be a creatively satisfying process.
An email campaign for B2B contact leads is very business-like and literally hangs between formal and serious tones. It hardly leaves any room for fun but leaves ample scope for creativity. After all business communication also can be creatively designed.
Competition – increasing pool vs. a consistent pool.
The pool of B2C consumer leads increases by the day. It’s really directly proportional to population. Even if your email campaign lands on the wrong side of the taste of one customer, you don’t need to fret. There are still so many more to tap.
The pool of B2B customers is limited and increases marginally, to the extent that you will hardly notice its increase. One email campaign did wrong literally boils down to loss of one customer for good or until the key decision makers change companies. It’s going to be a long wait before you get an opening again.
Delivery times – weekday vs. weekend.
An email campaign needs to factor in delivery timing to have maximum open rate and response rate.
Typically a B2C customer opens promotional emails on a weekend. This is because transacting on these emails is not their primary work nor does it build into their primary work. In fact, it is spending on pleasure.
On the other hand, a B2B customer opens emails related to work on a weekday. These emails are possibilities to ease their work and hence the importance.
An email should be prepared for broadcast in a manner that it reaches a B2B or a B2C customer in their ideal times.