B2C traffic is facing a challenge

For years the business-to-consumer operations have generally led business-to-business companies both in mobile and online traffic. That model, however, is facing a sea of change in the near future according to a study conducted by Usablenet. The current Internet marketing strategy is to capitalize on what people are doing with their mobile devices now – reading reviews, pricing items and feature comparison – to make their brands more accessible than traditional B2C methodologies.

Mobile gains for B2B

According to a Biznet article by Kristina Knight that quoted the study, mobile commerce  is less than 10 percent total sales for the B2B sector,but more than half of the survey respondents said they are moving transactions to online or self-serve areas from the current offline protocols.

Soon, B2B mobile traffic will match the 22 percent of traffic on B2C sites and mobile commerce looks to be B2B’s future method of selling to companies, said the report. Additionally,  48% of B2B’s have instituted plans to add a stand alone mobile sales channel to their business plan.

More corroborating evidence

Additional data contained in the study showed that 56 percent of B2B clients check reviews via mobile devices and 55 percent read details about products they are interested in. Fifty percent also compare features with their devices while 48 percent actually price items through mobile applications. The survey stated that the reason for all the high numbers was the B2B company clients were rapidly adopting mobile platforms and that is in keeping with the mobile public who are using mobile technology to watch videos, read newspapers or play on social media.

B2B is using B2C marketing strategies

A recent 121 Direct Marketing article by Matt Ford said that B2B marketers are utilizing marketing tactics usually employed by B2C operations for the first time. The increased use of social media is being attributed to the change in advertising philosophy, according to the report. The bid to attract new customers by embracing a different business model cuts both ways, as B2C operations are employing B2B marketing methods as well.

Visual advertising a boost for B2B

B2C businesses have been using eye-catching advertising while B2B advertising has generally been more focused on the logic of the products. B2C advertising is designed to achieve an emotional resopnse driving the consumer to make the buy based on pleasing sensory input. The Agency Post’sJaqueline Zenn recently pubished an article that detailed some intrinsic differences between advertising strategies of both B2C and B2B businesses. In the story, Zenn cautioned that the B2B marketing cycle is often a much longer one than it’s counterpart in B2C. Zenn added that because consumer purchases tend to be instant gratification buys, the B2B campaign needs much more attention to bring it to a successful conclusion.

Another difference between the two that is slowly changing is the chain of command issue. B2B firms have a much larger operation and decisions have to made at many different levels before a purchase can be made, said Zenn.  B2C buyers mostly make their decisions alone or with ancillary input from someone they trust. Now, B2B customers are working to make their purchases more quickly and the mobile world is helping to facilitate that concept.

While both business models are moving toward each other’s traditional marketing strategies and blurring the lines of difference between the two methodologies, Ford’s 121 Direct Marketing story said that B2B marketers are heading to Facebook to garner sales and leads – formerly B2C territory – while the consumer-oriented operations are heading to LinkedIn for more sources and customer contact – a realm that used to be primarily B2B.

The language of marketing, or jargon, is also changing as the business models drift into new territory. B2B has always embraced technical and industry language to market to their client bases while B2C is much more straightforward. These differences are still prevalent but slowly, Zenn found, even those lines are being softened and changed. Ford said that both can use each other’s tactics and there may come a time when there will be one model for business instead of two.

B2B clients want to be wowed with expertise and efficiency, noted Zenn.  While consumers want to be happy with what they buy, business customers want to be lauded for their purchases by their colleagues and bosses. B2B customers also require heavy content in their pitch materials while the consumer likes targeted and snappy content in their advertising, Zenn said. Especially, she added, if the item is small or inexpensive.

So while the two business models continue to move closer together in terms of marketing content and strategy, Zenn reminds us that in spite of it all, good business is always person-to-person.

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