Tuesday, May 12, 2009

B2C Versus B2B – Is There Really Any Difference?

Note: This is the first in a four-part series of guest posts on B2B branding strategy and website design from Rebekah E. Donaldson ("Red") and Cris Rominger of B2B Communications.

It’s a question we hear a lot. And for good reason. Either way, you’re still marketing to a human being – right?

Yes and no. We wrote an e-book that covers how B2B marketing differs from consumer marketing, called What Marketing Directors Need in a B2B Marketing Consultant. But here is a short version.

Perceived risk is generally higher for B2B buyers

In business to business (B2B) marketing, a purchase of professional services may impact the company’s customer service, productivity, operations, legal issues, reputation, sales, and/or the bottom line. The perceived risk of a wrong decision is high. In B2C decision making the level of perceived risk is typically low, because most consumer purchases can be returned or exchanged.

Buying committees look to Google and service providers’ websites for information first and repeatedly, according to Enquiro. After all, B2B purchasers are buying the supplier along with the product or service.

Enquiro surveyed 1,000 B2B buyers to learn what the top influencers are in the purchase decision. They found that “respondents across all phases indicated that the website of the vendor” was the top influence on buying decisions. The upshot: if you’re a B2B company, get it right when it comes to your online presence.

Prospects are looking to educate themselves, do their own comparisons, and create their own short lists. Charts comparing solutions, suggested decision criteria, ROI calculator tools, case studies, testimonials, certifications, awards, affiliations, and executive profiles all help diffuse fear of making a wrong decision.

Contact: Red(at)b2bcommunications.com

Next: Cut B2B branding guesswork with a methodical 5 step system

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