The Key Differences Between B2B & B2C Marketing

10-20-2014

In the digital age, the success or failure of a marketing campaign hinges on targeting the right audiences. For B2B marketers, this starts with identifying a company’s pain points, motivators, limitations, needs, budgets, and other influencers. A tall order, certainly…but with the right tools, it’s within reach.

In my recent guest post for Demandbase, I talked about what sets B2B marketing apart from B2C, such as a longer sales cycle, more practical motivators, and a more diverse mix of strategies. To connect with influencers within an organization, marketers need to use the right type of personalization. The key is augmenting a user’s online behaviors with business-level details to deliver deeper insights.

Demandbase and Adobe: Revolutionizing B2B Targeting and Personalization

Adobe partner Demandbase offers a unique technology solution that enables B2B marketers to identify the companies that visit their clients’ sites. When company-level data is combined with individual behavioral profiles, the result is a stronger foundation for precise personalization and targeting.

Nick Panayi, Director of Global Brand and Digital Marketing at CSC, relies on Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, and Demandbase to boost engagement and revenue. “In the world of B2B, the purchasing process is a group sport, led by committees, not individuals,” Panayi notes. “Aggregating and delivering insights at the company level and aligning that with our segmentation model is a cornerstone of our entire ABM program. In turn, this enables truly valuable interactions and engagement with our sales teams.” (Learn more about CSC’s success stories with Adobe and Demandbase.)

Recently, I talked with Louis Moynihan, Vice President of Business Development at Demandbase, about how B2B marketing is changing in the digital age—and what marketers should be doing to keep up.

Gina: What is the benefit of augmenting individual user data with company-wide data?

Louis: When an organization is the pivot of the segment, marketers can get deeper insights across multiple solutions, such as Analytics, Target, and CRM [customer relationship management]. Instead of displaying to only a single person, ads are shown to everyone in a company or account, resulting in higher click-throughs and conversions.

Gina: Personalization is nothing new. How is this different?

Louis: Up until now, personalization has been largely available for B2C, but there were no specific solutions for B2B. Our platform is designed to give B2B marketers a more refined data set, so they can use their targeting tools to present the right messaging to the right audience at the right time.

Gina: What makes B2B marketing so different from B2C?

Louis: For starters, the average sales cycle is much longer in B2B. Business audiences place a higher value on expertise, return on investment, and efficiency; individual consumers’ purchases are often influenced by mood, desire, or price. Businesses respond better to professional, industry-specific messaging, whereas individuals prefer more relatable messaging. And there’s the committee aspect—with B2C, a single person makes a buying decision. With B2B, marketers need to reach and convince multiple people.

Gina: How do new online behaviors make marketing more challenging?

Louis: More research is done anonymously these days. A sales department may not have any idea that a company is researching them. This makes it even more important to implement a B2B detection system.

Gina: What about cookies? Are they not enough anymore?

Louis: As people use multiple devices to shop and research online, and as buying decisions are made more by committees than by individuals, the cookie crumb isn’t nearly as reliable or effective as it used to be. Before Demandbase, marketers didn’t have the capability to identify a company, only a cookie. Now, with company-level data, marketers can tailor content to specific businesses or accounts, without using cookies. This provides a more accurate barometer for reaching highly specific audiences with timely, relevant messaging.

Gina: So if you don’t use cookies, how do you identify the company?

Louis: We use a patented identification technology that detects the IP addresses of anonymous companies visiting our clients’ sites. We provide detailed business attributes, in real time, which marketers can then use to target their campaigns.

Gina: How does Demandbase tie into Adobe?

Louis: When used together, our technologies are even more powerful. With Demandase, B2B marketers have the ability to pinpoint which companies are primed to purchase. They can then use Adobe Target to reach and connect with these organizations. As with all marketing efforts, analytics is incredibly important for B2B. When we direct a new customer to Adobe Analytics, we call it “turning the lights on.” Suddenly, the company has all of this valuable information on the traffic that’s been coming and going.

Gina: For a new company just starting to consider your solution, what would you suggest as the first step?

Louis: The most common question we hear from new customers is “How do I get started?” It can seem overwhelming at first. I tell them to start by determining their MVCs—most valuable companies, the companies they care about—based on their business objectives. Once they have a segment, they can begin the personalization process. And finally, analytics comes into play. It’s pretty much the same process as B2C, but the pivots are different.

For B2B marketers in the Buyer 2.0 landscape, the challenge is clear: to reach today’s smart, informed, and self-sufficient buyers with highly targeted, timely, relevant messaging that identifies with their needs and goals. By accessing company-level data through Demandbase, targeting those corporate clients with Adobe Target, and monitoring reports in Adobe Analytics, B2B marketers can finally start marketing with the lights on.

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