Hi. B2B Marketing certainly has a lot of similarities with B2C Marketing, but it’s also different in some really fundamental ways. Today I want to distil those differences down to 4 big differences, and then give you 2 “so what?” insights into the differences between B2B Marketing and B2C Marketing.

The first point is about motivation; B2B marketers are trying to fix, accomplish, or avoid something. It’s not about wants, it’s about needs. More particularly, it’s about the problem that gives rise to the need. What are they trying to fix, or avoid, in order to accomplish what?

Decisions are slower, that’s the second point. They just take longer. Now certainly there are really consumer-like purchases, like small business goes down to your local stationer and buys a ream of paper. That’s a very consumer transaction. Most B2B takes a long time for the decision to be made.

Third point, there are multiple iterations along the journey. The buyer and the seller dance, quite a few times before the end of the journey. There are multiple stakeholders, often. Again, it’s not always the case, but it is very often the case that there are multiple stakeholders, each of whom have many steps along the journey.

If that’s the broad, top-line differences between B2B and B2C, there are some important tactical consequences from that.

Firstly, certainly digital is growing in importance. It’s been a little less important for B2B than for B2C, that’s changing rapidly. Digital is growing in importance, in the broad, all of digital. We’ll talk about that in the conclusions a little more and finally, digital is only a part. You cannot rely on a digital only journey except in very rare circumstances. Certain SaaS businesses can rely on a digital only journey, that’s the exception, not the rule. We actually need tactics end to end and many of them are not digital.

Let me dive into that; I’m going to share with you 5 fantastic articles about B2B Marketing versus B2C Marketing, then I’m going to give you the synthesis of those articles but my own conclusions in a little bit more detail at the end, so stick around. I’ve also got an exciting announcement, something that we’ve not previously told you about, but I’m really excited to announce and another motivation for you. Stick around until the end of today’s blog.

First article is from marketingschools.org and argues that B2B has very similar principles to consumer but is executed in a unique way. It gives a basic insight. Frankly, it is too basic and I’m not going to recommend that you read it. There are no real insights about the world of B2B, it’s a very 101-ish description.

The second article though, is a cracker. Nick Hague is the author of this article at B2B International. It’s a great article. It explains concretely, but also with real insight, the differences. It’s about meeting the needs of other buyers, B2B markets a more complex decision making unit; that is the multiple people involved in the buying, buyers are more rational, B2B products are often more complex, there’s a limited number of buying units in B2B markets this is a sort of concentration of traffic, B2B buyers are more rational, buyers have fewer behavioural needs based segments – I’m not quite sure I’m on board with that but the rest of it I agree with 100%. B2B buyers are long-term buyers, most certainly. Markets drive innovation less than consumer markets; read that bit, form your own view. I don’t think I’m quite on board with that but I sort of get it. Consumer markets rely on packaging, most certainly. Sub-brands are less effective, would agree and B2B buyers are more demanding.

It really is an excellent explanation and insight into the differences between B2B and B2C marketing, and I recommend it as an oft-used reference. Well done. Well written. Love it.

Next one: Business 2 Business Marketing from Brafton. Thanks guys. It’s kind of long on arguing why digital, online SEO content and social are growing, but if you’re after a B2B Marketing primer it kind of misses the mark. I don’t mind that, except I probably would have enjoyed it more if it said why digital is growing in B2B marketing? Then I would have read it in that context. The heading is suggesting it’s a primer; it’s not really. For all that, we certainly wouldn’t disagree that online is becoming more important. I think though it misses the point. What about the non-online tactics? Nice, but it’s not the one I’m in love with, I’ve already shared which one that is.

Fourth article is pretty basic. It talks about derivative demand, not just consumer demand, so let me just get into that. Derivative demand; so this is basically that you might be selling something to a business, clearly they’re a business, but they may well have consumers as their market, and therefore they are somewhat beholden to those consumers. Not quite sure. Certainly in B2B there is a knock on effect, and I would say really read this section of the article to understand that understanding your customer’s customer matters. Whether your customer’s customer is consumer or themselves B2B. It’s a paid site and I couldn’t get much deeper into the article, which is why I’m faffing around a little bit, but it’s not a great one.

The final one I want to share with you, I am doing so because it was shared lots by you. 244 times on Facebook, nearly 10 times as many times as 2460 times on LinkedIn, 1400 times on Twitter, a few on Pinterest and Google + got 185, well done. Long story short, this fifth article is quite well loved and it talks about the myths. I would agree with their conclusions about each of these myths; Millennials aren’t making B2B decisions. Well, yes they are. Second myth: B2B Marketing should target the highest level executive. Well no, not always. B2B researchers are not always in the c-suite. I want to go further. Often the decision maker is not in the c-suite. Most certainly a big decision will need to be taken to the c-suite for approval, but the person who is taking it to the c-suite for approval will not themselves necessarily be from the c-suite. Therefore, conclusion, don’t assume that you’re selling to the highest person in the organization. Find out who has the problem, and target them. It goes on, there are lots of other myths and I think they’ve done a great job of dispelling some great myths.

Clearly, I enjoyed article 2, which is explaining B2B marketing and its difference. I enjoyed article 5, which is talking about changes to B2B marketing. Good job, thank you to all of the authors of those articles, even the ones that I didn’t love quite as much on this occasion.

That’s the articles. What’s the net of what those articles are arguing? Then I want to argue a slightly different twist, with my own conclusions. Let’s honor the content first. Here’s what I think they’re fundamentally saying.

B2B is genuinely more complex than B2C. Personal relationships do matter. Now I’m not saying that personal relationships don’t matter in consumer marketing, you try and tell the person that buys their veggies from their favorite veggie vendor at the market. Clearly, personal relationships do matter but they matter more often in B2B. Buyers are more rational. There’s a really high concentration, maybe 80% of the traffic or of the business will come from a very small number of buyers. Highly concentrated. Digital is certainly evolving as a useful B2B tool. There are fewer customers of higher value who have long-term relationships. That’s certainly more the case in B2B than it is in B2C and the buyers are more demanding as a result.

That’s their take. Let me give you my take on the differences between B2B and B2C.

The first one is that the primary motivation of a B2B buyer is different. It’s not about what they want, it’s what they’re trying to fix, accomplish or avoid. Decisions are often bigger and more important, and are therefore slower. For the same reason, there are often multiple iterations between the buyer and the seller that can be planned and measured and tracked. There are multiple stakeholders involved often, and for sure digital is growing in importance, in particular (and these are I think the 4 most important digital tactics) email, video, SEO, and optimization generally. I know that’s not a tactic, it’s more about a tweak to a tactic, but I want to suggest it’s its own thing. Optimization of any digital interaction is its own thing and is becoming critically important and I would argue it’s one of the 4 most important digital tactics, but, and my final point, digital is only a part. We actually need tactics end to end. Think about it from a marketing perspective; events, telemarketing and from a sales perspective, gap analysis tools to help the buyer really recognize what the problem is. Meeting tools, proposals, comparison tools so you can knock your competitors off and finally testimonials and reference calls to give them comfort to move forward.

These are typical tactics in the mix used by B2B marketers and it’s that, fundamentally that makes them different from consumer marketing counterparts.

That’s it for this week, but I have a little bit of a surprise announcement. If you’ve been watching Funnel Vision these shows for a while, you would know that we have a tool called Funnel Plan that largely we use as consultants. Increasingly, we’ve made that tool available to a larger pool of people, predominantly our consultants and then select people from 1 of our largest customers. In fact, 2 of our largest customers.

We are now making that tool available for you as a DIY tool. That is a self-directed tool. You can get access to Funnel Plan or you will be able to get access to Funnel Plan in early 2016 without a consultant attached to it. That opens up a whole lot of uses for you that we’re quite excited about.

We’re also attaching to that amazing measurement, directly from the CRM and automated coaching, where we give you weekly insights that tell you things about your plan and your actuals that you don’t know and why do we know them? Because we’re comparing your plan to thousands of others in our database. We can give you insights that are only available because you’re using Funnel Plan to plan and measure your Funnel Optimization.

Here’s the thing. We want early adopters to join a little club where those folk, you can if you choose, can get access to Funnel Plan earlier than the rest of the market and for significantly less money. Fast Funnel Club, go to funnelplan.com, Fast Funnel Club is your way to do that. What it means is, you get onto that list, it’s free and there’s no obligation, you’re not absolutely committing to buy Funnel Plan. You are just joining the Fast Funnel Club. We’ll give you unique insights into what’s coming, and when it comes out in February 2016, you will be amongst the first in the world to have access to this tool. Exclusive access.

Now, you’ll then have 2 months to work out whether you want to actually buy this thing. If you do, you’ll get discounts that range between 25 and 50% discount cheaper than anyone else can buy it. Long story short, get in on Fast Funnel Club. It’s free, there’s no obligation, but it does mean that you will be able to access the tool way ahead of your competition and if you do end up buying it, you’ll pay significantly less than the market.

I hope that’s enough motivation for you to join Fast Funnel Club. Go to funnelplan.com you can put w’s in that if you really want to, but funnelplan.com will get you there. Join up the Fast Funnel Club and then you’ll get to enjoy those great benefits.

Second request, is that if you have already joined Funnel Club, then you may want to subscribe to this blog, on either youtube.com/alignmeb2b or align.me/blog.

I’ll leave you with that for now, thank you so much for joining us. I’ve got loads more lined up for next week which we’ve done the research for now, I’m looking forward to getting into that next week. Until then, may your funnel be full, and always flowing.

Our thanks this week to: