Terms like “B-to-B” and “B-to-C” still exist in today’s marketing world, but they are fading. The distinction between selling to an individual and selling to a corporate entity seems like common sense: when you think of a company you don’t think of a face, you think of a logo. But it’s important to remember that a person is behind that logo. More than that, it’s a person behind that logo who will decide whether or not to buy what you offer their business. At the end of the day, whether you’re selling to a business or a consumer, you’re always selling to a person.
That idea is important because people have emotions. Duh, I know. To put it more clearly, people have emotional connections with brands. Think about your own business. Do you prefer UPS to FedEx? Why? Is it because you have a detailed knowledge of their business practices, of how they handle each individual package along the delivery chain? Or is it because you like that they “love logistics?” (Spoiler alert: FedEx probably loves logistics too).
Marketing that does not exclusively target businesses or consumers can work really well for your company. Using all the digital and traditional advertising opportunities that the current landscape offers is important in casting a wide net to target an entire population of potential customers. Strategic marketing campaigns should span multiple platforms so that this wide net can bring that emotional attachment that brands strive for. A recent study found that college students are open to advertising via Snapchat, but that doesn’t mean that you should only market to college students via five-second long videos.
Corporate emotions are not a new concept: a 2007 report indicated that between 40% and 70% of customers feel emotionally connected to brands like Oracle and Salesforce (which would be classified as “B-to-B” marketers) while only 10% to 40% of consumers felt the same way about Wal-Mart or CVS. Emotional bonds are actually more important in “B-to-B” marketing. It makes sense: if something helps make you money and makes your job easier, you’re liable to love it.
At all times, remember that your brand is reaching out to people. It’s not being scanned by a computer and analyzed for viability. Take advantage of that. Forging those emotional connections can take your business a long way.