Marketers: Transitioning from B2C and B2B

Joshua Robitaille on Team Building

Switching jobs is always a stressful endeavor. Finding your bearings in a new organization, learning the details of a product, getting adjusted to new tools – the first few weeks feel like chaos.

Transitioning from B2C to B2B industries only adds to the pressure as you quickly realize that not only do you have to adjust your morning route to the office, but the way you do your job and think about marketing in general.

To make this transition easier, here are a few key differences between B2C and B2B marketing that you should prepare yourself for.

What Content Marketing Habits You Should Break

According to Statista, 91% of B2B marketers in North America use content marketing. This number is comparable to the B2C field, where 86% of marketers report doing so.

However, it’s the type of content your team produces and how this content is distributed that you will find the most different.

Content Depth

While both B2C and B2B marketers overwhelmingly create social media content – 96% and 94% respectively, according to CMI’s study – B2B content largely focuses on case studies, ebooks, and white papers.

As a B2C marketer, you might be used to having your team produce fun quizzes, interactive assessment tools, and colorful infographics.

However, they tend to be superficial in nature and are meant to be skimmed through.

Consequently, they do not provide the depth of knowledge that B2B marketing requires. Long-form content that positions your brand as a thought leader, while offering useful insights to your target audience, is better suited to generate and nurture leads.

Content Distribution

Email marketing rules.

Despite customers’ increasing expectations in terms of personalization and content of emails, not to mention users’ decreased attention span, email remains the single most effective way to deliver ROI and boost awareness.

This is true for both B2B and B2C industries, where marketers use email as their number one channel for content distribution.

What you won’t find as much in the B2B world, on the other hand, is content distribution via print mediums.

Instead, get ready to produce webinars, webcasts, and other virtual events. They present vast inbound marketing opportunities, allowing you to zero in on your target audience and generate highly qualified leads.

How to Adjust Your Social Media Marketing Practices and Expectations

2.23 billion people actively use Facebook every month. 336 million are on Twitter. LinkedIn is at half a billion users. The reach and potential of social media platforms are vast and diverse.

However, not all social outlets are created equal and, if you are moving from B2C to B2B marketing, you will have to adjust your expectations and daily practices.

Types of Platforms

In this day and age, if your brand is not on Facebook, does it even exist? 97% of B2C marketers actively use Facebook to promote their message. Short and sweet posts, flashy images, and informal language – that was probably your life as a B2C social media marketer.

Well, LinkedIn is the Facebook of B2B marketing.

In fact, 97% of B2B marketers rely on LinkedIn to engage with their audience and distribute content. Facebook is only the third most popular network in this industry. Pinterest isn’t even in the top 6. What is, though, is Google+.

Other platforms you will use more actively in B2B marketing include SlideShare, Vimeo, and Flickr.

Types of Metrics

Tracking ROI from social media marketing is a challenge for both B2C and B2B marketers.

Impressions, likes, comments, and click-through rates are standard metrics that, hopefully, every marketing professional, irrespective of the industry, is tracking. However, due to the naturally longer sales cycle in the B2B world, these KPIs are not nearly enough.

An ecommerce marketer is more likely to show the ROI of a social media campaign by tracking a user’s journey from a Facebook ad, to a product page, to a purchase. The entire journey can often times take minutes.

Depending on your product, a sales cycle in B2B can take anywhere from a couple of days to 6 months.

Get ready to track such metrics as the number of downloads of gated content, the number of webinar registrations and attendees, traffic volume to webinar materials after it happens, number of demos scheduled, influencer and network development, etc.

Since an immediate sale is an exception in the B2B industry, MQLs and their eventual conversion are what your social media marketing should be after.

What Email Marketing Strategies to Avoid in B2B

According to Statista, 269 billion emails were sent and received daily in 2017. The number is expected to increase to 306.4 billion by 2020.

Cutting through the noise and getting your product noticed by the right person at the right time is not an easy task, but is well worth it for B2C and B2B marketers alike.

Email Content

B2C marketing message is often emotions-driven. You send a special promo or a coupon to users who abandoned their cart, create a sense of urgency, add a beautiful image of the product, and maybe throw in a couple of reviews from past shoppers, and, more often than not, you end up seeing some of these users take immediate action and purchase your product.

A purchasing decision is significantly more complex and lengthy in the B2B sector. It frequently involves multiple decision makers, needs analysis, budget restraints, and logistical considerations.

As a result, B2C techniques will fall on deaf ears here. What you will find better suited for your email campaigns is a strategic drip of non-promotional, education-driven content and gradual increase of engagement with users.

Don’t rush to move leads down your marketing funnel.

Tone and Language

Short messages with attention-grabbing graphics work well for the B2C world. Emojis, humor, and quirky designs are just some of the tools at B2C marketer’s disposal to establish an emotional connection with a customer.

B2B tends to be significantly more formal and factual in its tone and message.

While striving to create a personal connection with your target audience should always be one of the goals of your email campaigns, your tone is primarily dictated by the need to establish trust with potential buyers – trust in the quality of your product, your expertise, and your brand. Therefore, the language used in email marketing tends to be more technical, structured, and industry-specific.

B2B marketing is a long-term game. Very few individual activities result in immediate actions, which, for someone who spent years working in B2C, may feel frustrating.

However, the rewards tend to be higher as well, so don’t despair if you don’t see returns in the first couple of weeks of your new job!