Is B2C Marketing Really Different From B2B Marketing?

A lot of marketers will designate their specialty as B2C or B2B, but I struggle with finding a difference between them.  To be honest, I think the demarcation is unnecessary.

Marketing is about finding the right message that resonates with the right target and delivering it in such a way as to evoke a response.  

Target audience, frequency, trust and a call-to-action:  These are the core tenets of a marketer as they drive awareness and demand.  

I find an old construct that works well for any marketer in any business is the same construct I used when I ran marketing in a data company; data in, create value, data out.

A marketer still focuses on data in: customer insights, research and data points that help you understand why a customer chooses your brand over the competition.  These are the insights that help you understand benefits, differentiation and help you as you move toward formulating a strategy.  

The data inputs can come from any number of sources, but as with any kind of data analysis, you have to sort the signal from the noise.  Which signals are valuable, and which exist to confuse the issue?



Then you move to the creation of value.  This is the storytelling stage.  This is where you hypothesize the messages that will resonate with the persona likely to buy.  

You break the message into two camps; short-term demand vs. long-term demand.  Long-term demand is also considered awareness or delayed demand.  

Short-term demand are the people who are in market now and who you want to drop into your immediate funnel.  

Both are essential to growth, but the metrics by which you evaluate them are different.  Some companies focus solely on short-term demand gen while the most successful ones consider both, but I personally consider it all to be demand gen.  

The term “growth marketing” gets thrown around a lot, but it’s all the same to me and it is within this stage of value creation where the strategy gets laid out and the story is written.

Then you move on to the “data out” stage, or the implementation of said strategy.  This is where people tend to focus the most on the delineation between B2C and B2B because there is a familiarity with the channels used by one or the other, but these channel lines have begun to blur because before a consumer is a business consumer, she is a personal consumer, too.  

Humor and education can go hand in hand, and many B2B marketers focus on education as a tool for driving demand.  I find humor can be used everywhere.  It applies to both business and consumer.  

The data-out model can be used to define a target audience, leverage first- and third-party data, and focus your message against a qualified audience.  

Regardless of “specialty,” this stage requires knowledge of tech stacks, data tools and the ability to optimize quickly.  Data out is where the magic happens, so to speak, and this is where you determine if the work in the first two phases was strong or not.

I network with lots of marketing execs because I find every one of them has a unique spin on this model. Still, I have yet to find a successful marketer who doesn’t yet use this model, although perhaps under a different name.

What construct do you use to define the type of marketer you are?

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