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How to Share: B2B and B2C Make Amends

Yesterday, I found B2B and B2C fighting in the backyard. “What the heck are you two doing?  Why are you fighting now?” I turned my attention to B2B. “What did you do this time?!?” 

As you can tell, I was favoring B2C — or it could be that the marketing industry has branded B2B as a problem child. Either way, I figured that B2B had to be at fault. Besides, isn’t good parenting all about choosing your favorite child? 

Both of them looked up at me, battered and bruised, and B2C said, “Because ... we’re supposed to.”

“Everyone keeps saying that we are different and we are opposed to each other in one thing or another.” He took a breath, on the verge of tears, “We’re only trying to live up to everyone’s expectations.” 

B2C stepped behind his compadre, “YEAH!” I could see the forming of an alliance.

“OK, OK.” I said. “Calm down guys. You actually have quite a bit in common. There are even some things that you can learn from each other.”

B2C glanced up with a smile, “Yea, I’ve taught B2B a ton.” He arrogantly bumped the back of B2B’s shoulder.  

“Well B2C, would you be surprised to learn that there are some things that you could learn from B2B?” I offered.

With that in mind, I sat them both down to discuss three B2B techniques, which B2C might want to consider adopting as part of its marketing practice. 

1. Engagement Scoring

This is a standard B2B practice by which a company identifies the prospect and scores them by importance (e.g. purchase authority) and level of interest. While B2C may not need to focus on the importance aspect of the customer, they could track the level of interest with the customer and respond accordingly.  

For B2C, it is rather simple to start setting up a methodology around scoring a potential customer’s level of engagement. Especially for products with a longer decision-making cycle. Developing and automating the customer’s level of engagement is a lot easier than one may think — look to your email or campaign management platforms as a starting point.  

Let’s take email for example: Within email, most people measure the view and click-through rate. However, they are not leveraging all the metrics available to them; which are “multiple views” or “multiple click-throughs”. Knowing that someone is interacting more (e.g. multiple views or clicks) with the emails that you have sent is likely to tell you that this person is more interested in the product than someone who views or clicks-through only once. 

2. Creating more than one conversion point

Okay, I understand. B2C really doesn’t have funnel leakage — or do they?  Have you ever tried to understand why the consumer is not converting or in the case of retail, why they are not purchasing? Typically, it is because B2C only tracks to one primary conversion point.  

For this example, I will use the website. Let us presume that your final conversion point is “application submitted”, and that all of your marketing activities are focused on increasing the number of applications submitted. However, if you move all the way to the top of the funnel and look, you have your first “soft conversion”; converting people to go to the website. Initially display and search are supposed to drive people there. You should have a testing and optimization strategy focused on increasing the number of people clicking-through to the website. Then, the theory states: If you get more people to the site, you can have more people learn about your offering. If more people learn about your offering, more people will start an application. If more people start an application ... you get the idea.

3. Prospecting through digital media

B2B has the art of hunting prospects down to a science. They know exactly what their clients look like and have an entire department focused on reaching out to those individuals and instigating a conversation.  

B2C does too; however, they are typically not as “aggressive” as B2B. But, times have changed. With the addition of third-party data, B2C now has even more information about their customers than ever before. By leveraging third-party data, B2C can identify key attributes and segments, about all of their most valuable customers. You can then turn that data on everyone else (in the digital display ecosystem) and target those people who meet the same characteristics as your most valuable customers. The exciting thing about this is that B2C can be just as “aggressive” about prospecting as B2B, in that the same segments can be leveraged in paid social media.    

If anything, we are certain of the differences between B2B and B2C; however, we should still share our learnings, insights and strategies with one and another. B2B has always relied on B2C’s strategies. The performance of those strategies make for an excellent case that reinforce that model, however, B2C will benefit from listening to B2B methodologies as well.

As I finished the story of how B2C and B2B should get along and share, my attention returned to the two individuals who had started the discussion, and who apparently wandered off during my ramblings.