Business-to-consumer marketing is a very different animal than B2B marketing, requiring its own strategies and methods. Read on to learn more about the key terms you need to know and how to get started on your B2C marketing strategy.

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What is B2C marketing?

B2C marketing encompasses the various strategies, techniques and tools used to promote products by companies that sell directly to consumers.

How is B2C marketing different from B2B marketing?

Buyer personas are different.

Both types of marketing address multiple buying personas simultaneously and build messages around brand value, but the types of personas are very different. B2C buyers are typically the end user of that product or service. B2B buyers, on the other hand, are often making a purchase for a larger organization. B2B personas can also include multiple influencers and decision-makers, rather than a single individual.

Sales cycle lengths differ.

Consumer purchases also have far shorter sales cycles involving comparatively less research. However, larger ticket items like automobiles and refrigerators are often exceptions, as consumers tend to extensively vet those kinds of purchases. Nurturing leads isn’t as long of a process in the B2C world, although positioning the right content at the right stage of the buyer journey is still a major priority.

Why is B2C marketing important?

The explosion of digital platforms in recent years has fractured traditional marketing channels. To adequately engage consumers, brands need to navigate a wide variety of touchpoints and fine-tune their message for each scenario and platform.

Creating and maintaining a strong brand image on digital channels is also extremely important, giving B2C companies more opportunities to connect with consumers and nurture brand loyalty.

Local search, SEO, brand websites and social media are all important facets of B2C marketing, helping businesses reach prospective customers and raise brand awareness.

What are the biggest challenges in B2C marketing?

Modern B2C marketing is driven by data, personalizing brand interactions and making every customer experience unique. There’s a great deal of opportunity to boost engagement, but also plenty of pitfalls for companies to run into.

One of the biggest concerns is addressing the privacy-personalization paradox, in which consumers value customized brand experiences that are tailored to their specific preferences while also remaining skeptical of any effort to gather personal data to drive such initiatives.

Modern B2C marketing is driven by data, personalizing brand interactions and making every customer experience unique.

A July 2018 eMarketer survey further highlights the biggest challenges facing B2C marketing:

  • Sufficient technology skills.
  • Using customer insights to drive decision-making.
  • Gaining expertise in emerging channels and touchpoints.
  • Consistently maintaining a positive customer experience.
  • Producing high-quality content.

What are the top priorities for B2C content creators?

Despite the differences between B2B and B2C marketing, marketers in both concentrations have a few things in common when it comes to content objectives. That includes prioritizing content quality over quantity and delivering a meaningful message to audiences rather than pushing a promotional agenda. According to a 2019 Content Marketing Institute survey, 66% of B2C marketers prioritize addressing their audience’s informational needs.

The previous year’s survey found that the most important factors contributing to the success of B2C content marketing efforts included:

  • Having a robust content marketing strategy in place.
  • Creating high-quality content at a quick rate.
  • Distributing content over targeted channels.
  • Measuring the effectiveness of content marketing strategies.

How is the B2C sales experience distinct?

Consumer marketing is driven by personalized engagement strategies.

B2C marketing involves direct customer outreach, and those efforts are increasingly tailored to an individual’s history, activity, profile and preferences. When done well, personalized engagement gives customers a brand experience that’s wholly unique and provides value beyond product quality or low costs.

For example, promotional offers can be tailored according to a site visitor’s past activity. If they abandoned their shopping cart, the brand can pass along a discount on that product to encourage a purchase.

A more sophisticated example could be a supermarket chain sending customers recipe ideas through their customer loyalty programs based on their shopping history and user profile information. B2C sales and marketing efforts continually work to strengthen the relationship between brand and customer, even inserting the brand into the individual’s day-to-day life.

What makes a B2C marketing strategy successful?

B2C marketing strategies need to be extensive, covering every digital channel that reaches potential customers:

  • Web.
  • Social.
  • Mobile.
  • Email marketing.
  • Affiliate marketing.
  • And much more.

Leave no stone unturned when searching for opportunities to engage consumers.

Make social media marketing a priority.

Social media platforms present fantastic opportunities to interact with customers, build brand awareness and encourage customer loyalty. The best B2C marketers have a firm grasp of their brand and how to deliver their message through social media marketing.

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Embrace SEO best practices.

Search engine optimization is extremely important for B2C marketers. Consumers typically research products and services extensively, comparing available options and prices before buying.

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Streamline customer outreach with email and marketing automation.

Marketing automation tools help deliver sales, promotions and exclusive deals directly to your target audience, enticing them to buy your brand’s products. B2C brands have a chance to score easy wins and drive revenue directly from email campaigns.

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Help customers find you with local search.

Local businesses must account for local search, leveraging marketing strategies that boost visibility for search queries that originate in your area. Optimizing your Google My Business profile increases the chances of appearing in the top local search results and makes it easier for consumers in your city or region to seek out your products and services.

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Personalize the customer experience.

Always treat returning and potential customers as individuals, tailoring your outreach and engagement efforts to each person whenever possible. This will boost customer loyalty and increase the lifetime value of consumers who buy your products.

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B2C marketing operates on a different set of rules than B2B strategies and campaigns. Understanding the nuances of consumer-focused marketing will help your brand keep customers coming back for years to come.

More insights from B2C marketers on their approach: