When people think about the differences between B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business) advertising, they typically differentiate between the two based on emotions. B2C advertising has been fueled by the notion that consumers are irrational and make purchase decisions impulsively. Therefore, B2C advertisers rely on emotional or storytelling messages to trigger a sale.
B2B advertising, on the other hand, gas traditionally sat above emotional messaging strategies. Because B2B sales cycles are longer, require more research and deliberation, and are motivated by need and budget, the decision is presumed by advertisers to be a very rational process.
This is why B2B advertising is often stiff and "corporate" looking. Ads feature men and women in suits, sitting in boardrooms with pie charts projected on the wall. But B2B advertising doesn't need to be so detached, cold, and clinical. At the end of the day, B2B buyers are still people, and people can't be expected to make decisions without emotion.
This post examines why B2B advertising is a 'big deal' through key B2C advertising tactics that can be leveraged for an effective B2B strategy.
1. Focus on Benefits, Not Features
Too often, B2B advertisers assume buyers are driven by the specs and features of a product. They develop detailed product sheets outlining every bell and whistle and highlight how innovative and sophisticated their "never-before-seen technology" is. But they never tell you why all that matters.
Don't make consumers wonder, "What's in it for me?" Show them.
Great advertising doesn't seek out a problem and scream at consumers with a solution—it allows them to discover a solution to a problem they never knew they had, as part of a natural progression in their storyline.
2. Inspire Hope
Business-to-business relationships carry a lot of weight and substance. The impact a partnership can have not only benefits the partners, but also the community. Establish and build rapport with messages that inspire.
B2C inspires hope with every advertisement it creates. Coca-Cola's famous "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" commercial is 100% about inspiring hope in consumers with the goal of equating enjoying a Coca-Cola with world peace.
B2B buyers want your brand to fill them with the same hope and inspiration.
3. Offer Credibility
In the wide world of micro-influencers, finding credible sources to provide your brand with a voice is easier than ever. Match up with clients who resonate with your target audience base and provide them with social proof that your brand is reputable.
4. Relate to Your Persona (Audience)
As mentioned previously, finding stories that resonate with your audience is vital. In a day and age where consumers get to create their customized online experience, your story needs to resonate and relate on as many fronts as possible.
Only when you have taken the time to understand your audiences through the exercise of persona development, will you begin to craft authentic stories that align with your buyers' needs.
5. Keep it Simple (One Message at a Time)
Just like this blog post, keep your messages short and sweet, but ensure you're getting the complete message across.
Tips to Get Started
We have discussed a few creative campaign tactics and examples, however, there are also a few tricks of the trade for those dabbling in paid digital media.
Takeaway: Your audience is always your consumer. Realize that in the days of digital, you don't have to cram all of your company information into one ad. Instead, focus on storytelling. Remember that your story matters and leveraging B2C marketing tactics will help elevate your brand and its impact.
Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash