B2B and B2C Buyers. Different Animals.

In a recent blog post we announced the availability of our latest eBook, The Right Mix: A B2B Marketing Allocation Guide. The 55-page eBook takes a close look at the classic buying process (Awareness | Interest | Information Search & Evaluation | Purchase |Post Purchase Evaluation) and the role that each marketing tactic plays in moving prospects along this continuum.

For those of have provided such wonderful feedback on the eBook - via email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs and of course, the telephone - thanks! The eBook is certainly interesting and will force you to look at your marketing "spend" in entirely new ways.

But we realize not everyone has time to read a 55-page e-Book. So we decided to carve out some key sections of the e-Book and turn them into a series of blog posts. This post looks at the key differences between B2C and B2B marketing.

To effectively market to human resource professionals, HR vendors must understand the differences between B2B and B2C buyers. Most marketing literature is focused on B2C; unfortunately, many of the principles covered by this literature simply don’t apply to B2B marketing.

B2B buyers are not spending their money on watches they don’t need. And no HR executive I know is going to go online to purchase a six-figure talent acquisition or HR Technology system because of a funny promotional video or a 25% off coupon.

Not gonna happen.

B2B buyers are spending their "company's" money more carefully than ever. Each purchase must solve a real business problem. In many cases, the dollars at stake are so precious that a poor purchase can be a career-ending event. As a result, business buyers use more rational thought when making purchasing decisions. They’re motivated by saving money, increasing productivity, reducing risk, or raising profitability rather than by desire, style and prestige.

This is not to say that a professionally developed brand is not important for a B2B business.

It is.

But putting excessive marketing dollars into building brand awareness does not guarantee success in B2B.

Although the goal of B2B marketing is to convert prospects into customers, the process is longer and more involved. For instance, once a lead is generated, B2B marketers need to focus on marketing tactics that foster relationships and nurture prospects throughout the buying process.

Sometimes marketers must engage with multiple influencers across a variety of departments like IT or Finance. Other times marketers need to “educate” prospects who might not fully understand what they’re buying. Each marketing challenge is a separate touch point in the long, integrated process of the sales cycle.

And unlike the B2C market, most B2B companies - no matter how hard they try, how great their product is or how charismatic their CEO is - won’t ever secure widespread national media exposure no matter how creative their marketing and PR. And outspending the competition doesn’t guarantee profitable awareness.

Bottom line: B2B and B2C marketing are different animals.

In our next post in this series, "The B2B Buying Process: Unclog Those Arteries!" we'll expand on each phase of the buying process and why most HR vendors get stuck on awareness and interest and fail to move prospects to evaluation and purchase.

If you can't wait, download the full eBook now.

Post by HRmarketer CEO Mark Willaman. Join Mark on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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