Winning the debate between B2C and B2B marketing strategies
There is an age-old and ongoing debate on the differences between B2B and B2C marketing strategies. The question of just how divergent these strategic paths are usually depend on the POV of the person making the argument. In this post, we will disrupt the discourse as it applies to PPC campaigns, proposing the real debate should focus not on marketing strategy, but on execution.
As an agency that works with both B2B and B2C clients of varying size (and budget expenditures), we’ve found that similar marketing strategies apply to both. Success in a B2B or B2C context is often not dependent on reinventing the marketing paradigm or turning the conversion funnel on its head. The real differences driving success in these distinct marketing streams are found in the implementation of overarching strategies that have been universally proven over time.
Price-Per-Click Campaigns: B2B vs B2C Marketing Approaches
In this post, we will further explore this position as illustrated through Price-Per-Click (PPC) ad campaigns. In the spirit of opposing view-points, we’ll cover three core tenants of successful PPC campaigns and our two founders, Chris and Aniel, will provide the differing POVs and approaches for B2B and B2C marketers.
Chris: There’s no denying the importance of targeting in B2C marketing. In fact, understanding your target and fully defining who’s going to buy your product is the most important part of any marketing strategy. Looking at things like demographics, behaviors and interests help marketers zero in on the key group (or groups) that will most likely purchase their product.
Then, it’s all about reaching that target with an engaging message so they know the product exists. The predominating theory behind B2C targeting, is that sales are determined by broad reach. The more people who see the product, the more people will likely purchase it.
Aniel: A broad reach strategy would be a great way to go for sure, but with B2B products and services, the pool of potential “buyers” is automatically smaller, since the end consumer is not the direct purchaser. B2B marketers have to reach the product manufacturers and the service providers. So in the case of B2B digital marketing, targeting is even more important and must be more precise to really get in front of the people who are more willing to make a purchase. A broad reach is still the goal, but achieving it generally takes a bit more effort, creativity and a different approach.
Think about it. If your client develops image processing software for digital cameras, simply targeting people with an interest in photography with your PPC campaign is going to fall way short. You have to go another level down to digital camera manufacturers, and those buyers are going to be in different places searching for vastly different keywords.
Keyword Research and Optimization
Chris: I cannot stress enough, the importance of keyword research and optimization in any PPC campaign. The keywords we purchase and our ability to shift spending to the high performers has a direct impact on the efficiency and success of implementing a PPC strategy. Research and optimization are also what make PPC campaigns a valuable strategy for clients of all budget sizes. With the right keyword plan and execution, smaller companies can level the playing field against larger competitors and make their ad dollars go even farther.
B2C campaigns generally have larger markets, even if you’re targeting a specific niche, you can take advantage of keywords that attract a more general audience. You can test out a little broader and optimize against the keywords that are resonating and generating traffic. It’s a good way to cast a wide net on the way to hitting the desired conversion goals.
Aniel: Once again, the strategy of casting a wider net and then optimizing, also plays out well for B2B clients. However, the starting point is different. When general consumers are researching a product or a purchase, their keywords and search terms are more general, as well.
Business targets search for pain points. That is, they search for solutions to problems, they themselves, can’t solve. They’ve already done some research and have narrowed down to the specific solution they’re looking for, so their keywords and search terms are much more specific. They use phrases that are more likely to return a result that will be helpful to relieving their specific pain point.
Create Engaging PPC Ads
Chris: A simple concept, but not always so easy to execute. Without engaging ads that speak directly to your audience’s need, it doesn’t matter how well targeted your campaign is, or how much money you’ve spent on keywords. Your KPIs will suffer.
Aniel: That’s true for B2B and B2C campaigns alike.
Chris: Also, in both cases, a big part of creating engaging ads that lead to higher conversion means using your ad copy to prequalify visitors to your landing page. That way, you’re thinking beyond click-through rates, and you’ll be drawing traffic that is more relevant and targeted to your product, service or business.
Aniel: For B2B ads, that means including copy cues that address things like business size, industry, pricing or even target persona. A/B message testing is another way for B2C and B2B campaigns to ensure the most positive outcome possible. When considering the potential long-tail gains of a B2B customer relationship, allocating more funds for testing upfront often pays off in the end.
In conclusion, if generating leads and driving conversions is a goal, then PPC is a sound strategy for both B2C and B2B marketers. When planned and executed as outlined above, PPC campaigns have a way of generating returns far greater than many industry “innovators” give them credit for. We ran a recent B2C retail campaign that generated a 500% Return on Investment, and one of our B2B clients generated 30x more qualified leads in as many days, when compared to the same time period the previous year. A similar PPC strategy, executed two different ways is more than capable of yielding the same successful results.