Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Are B2B and B2C Marketing Converging? Hardly.

Gary Slack provided today's post. He is chief experience officer of Chicago-based Slack and Company. Ad Age named the firm as a runner up for B2B Agency of the Year in 2014.

Hardly a week goes by without someone saying the worlds of b2b and b2c marketing are converging.

For this claim to be true, nothing less than the following would have to start happening.

Boeing would have to start buying jet engines on impulse.

Police and fire departments would have to switch to other brands of first-responder radios on mere whims.

Coke would have to start reformulating sodas with new ingredients procured with little or no due diligence.

Of course, were this all to start happening, pigs would be flying, too.

Consumer and business purchasers and purchases are just too different—always have been and always will be.

It’s not that b2b buying is more rational than consumer buying. In fact, it may be more emotion-wracked—the emotion being fear of making a bad decision.

That's why tier 1 suppliers, a la the IBM of old, are so lucky. As the "safe bet,” they get a pass a lot of the time, while lower-tier suppliers have to try harder.

But CEB research shows there can be a more positive emotion involved, too—the pride of making a good decision and the career enhancement it can generate.

In fact, CEB says the personal value of making a good b2b buying decision is twice as great as the business value.

So b2b buyers aren't automatons—they are people, too, as our agency’s ad here explains.

But exaggerated praise, or puffery, the province of so many consumer marketers, won't work with b2b buyers.

With their careers and livelihoods at stake, they need loads of convincing and months and maybe years to take a chance on another supplier.

And that's the extra fun and formidable challenge of much b2b marketing—and why it'll always be very different.
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