Those who consistently try and find the correlation between business to business or business to consumer concepts (B2B and B2C) sometimes find a marked contrast in how they handle customers. Businesses that use the business to consumer model already understand the techniques of superior customer service and generally try to apply those steps. Even if they sometimes fail, there’s an automatic awareness that this is how you work with a customer.
Conversely, a business using a business to business concept usually doesn’t stop and think that there’s a person on the other end when selling their products. Perhaps because they have the word “business” at the end of their title, they look at selling to them as a collective rather than a customer.
Some evidence of this contrast was seen in a recent Forbes article that talked about the importance of personalization in marketing and how it’s starting to change. Figures showed B2B businesses were less likely to want to foster customer engagement when compared to B2C businesses.
But the point was that both businesses are starting to become more aware of personalization in the world of business marketing. Making it personal when selling to another business works exactly on the same playing field as those who market directly to one consumer.
Why Personalization Works
A business marketing to another business works the same way as to a consumer, because there’s still a manager or owner of a business being aware of the purchase. That assumption of selling to a group of people might have some validity when those doing the actual purchasing are perhaps hired staff and not the business owner. Nevertheless, the owner would be aware of the prior marketing that leads to the sale.
When marketing to a consumer or a business, the age of personalization hits home because it gives the feeling that the business doing the selling understands the customer. The age of personalization in online marketing basically started in the social media world where a business could gauge prospective customers by watching certain conversations under a specific hashtag. Interacting and learning about what they want (plus studying what their problems are) allowed a business to set up an email marketing campaign that worked on a more personal level.
Similar research can be done with businesses and figuring out exactly what kind of products they need to thrive. Much of this can also be done through social media and by simply visiting their websites to determine what they may need in their inventory. The only question when marketing to that business is just how personal the marketing should be.
Nurturing a B2B Relationship Like a Real Friendship
Some businesses might feel that starting a personal customer relationship with another business doesn’t work like a real customer. Regardless, when an owner of another business sees another business extending an offer to help solve a problem for them, it becomes personal. In fact, having a mutual understanding of what each person needs to stay alive is close to how real friendships work. A reciprocation will likely occur when a competing business sells products to another to help their bottom line.
However, just like real friendships, a more personalized way of marketing in B2B works by finding businesses that are similar in nature so the match has plenty of harmony behind it.