Working within the B2B2C sector can be one of the most confusing things you do as a marketer. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
What is B2B2C Marketing?
B2B2C marketing? It’s a bit of a mouthful, we know.
So what even is it?
It’s easiest to think of the sum of its parts. The term Business to Business (B2B) indicates a transaction between two businesses. Similarly, Business to Consumer (B2C) is a transaction between a business and a consumer.
Taking that into account, B2B2C then stands for Business to Business to Consumer. Just like it sounds, its distribution pathway is a combination of B2B and B2C.
An Extra Step
Not to belabor the point, but B2B2C is like adding an extra step.
Here, goods and services are initially sold by one business to another. Then, the second business sells to an end consumer.
It may not seem like much, but that little step can complicate things quite a bit for marketers.
Marketers from the first business know that they are selling to another. The second business will then remarket their goods and services, add to them, or use them to provide additional value to the end consumer. The first business needs to keep this in mind at all times. While it may seem like a simple, fundamental concept from the outside, nuances within are easily blurred and overlooked.
Where Does B2B2C Marketing Go Wrong?
Marketing for B2B2C often falls apart during advertising implementation.
When advertising in the B2B portion of the B2B2C pathway, you want to get to your buyers, and not your buyer’s buyer. What we mean is that you want your advertising to reach the second business, not the end consumer.
Search ads are notoriously bad in B2B2C marketing. It’s far too easy online, where you search for goods and services through keywords, to accidentally find the wrong buyer.
For example, a protein powder manufacturer may wish to sell to other businesses that distribute it under their own labels. The search phrase “bulk protein powder” is going to look a lot different to a large repackaging business versus an average gym-goer looking to make some gains. When the end consumer is looking to buy by the pound, and instead can only find by the truckload, it’s frustrating for all involved.
It’s likely neither buyer can easily find exactly what they are looking for, and businesses are wasting money advertising to the wrong audience. This confusion among buyers is both annoying to the end-user and costly to you as the advertiser.
Now the real question is: how can we avoid these costly annoyances?
Tip #1: Avoid Search Advertising
Our first tip is pretty easy. If search advertising doesn’t seem to work for you, don’t use it.
It doesn’t matter how much search volume there is. If the advertising is misleading — even if it’s unintentional — people will misinterpret it.
The one exception to using search advertising is if you can get hyper-specific with your keywords. When it comes to extremely scientific info or trade show names, it’s unlikely to have unintended viewers.
Tip #2: Use Alternative Advertising Strategies
If you’re going to avoid search advertising, there are plenty of other avenues available for B2B2C marketing.
Try advertising on LinkedIn. The first-party data is fantastic, and the audience is primarily B2B. You can be more certain you are advertising to the right kind of people and avoiding end-consumers.
With programmatic advertising platforms, you can reach a much more targeted audience. With them, you can use someone else’s list to automatically retarget users and search for leads. This can be a huge time saver, but remember to focus on the businesses and not the end-consumers here.
Customer match advertising is an additional strategy that works especially well on Google and LinkedIn. With it, you can advertise to platforms with large lists of people, usually upwards of 10,000 at a time. It’s an underutilized and more exotic way of reaching people.
Tip #3: Work With Your Buyers
This last one sounds a little obvious, we know. But it never hurts to hear it one more time.
To do this, put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. Work with them by giving them the resources they need to succeed.
Don’t simply sell to your buyers, but empower them. Provide them with materials, sample products, and anything else you can think of. Help them out, and maybe they’ll do the same for you.
Additionally, make sure you don’t compete with buyers by advertising to the end-user. You want to be there for your buyers, not bypassing them. Clearly make and stick to the decision to sell directly to businesses. Don’t worry about being blunt — your buyers will appreciate the confidence. At the same time, look for ways to connect your buyers with their buyers.
If you’re a distributor who keeps getting inquiries about products your retailers sell, let them know. Publish the retailer’s contact info on your website. Automate email response forms for purchase inquiries to be sent to the retailers.
The possibilities are endless, and doing simple things like these examples goes a long way to build goodwill between businesses and create lasting partnerships.
B2B2C marketing can be a real headache. To avoid attracting the wrong audiences and be more successful, it’s best to stop using search advertising, use alternative advertising strategies, and develop close partnerships with your buyers.