Effective marketing strategies begin with a thorough grasp of the target market. This knowledge enables businesses to communicate with prospects in the appropriate language and tone while appealing to the elements most likely to influence a sale.
However, individuals are not merely ‘personas’. As consumers, we all make daily purchasing decisions. We may also have professional purchasing and budget management obligations at work.
B2B marketers can achieve the best results by understanding their target market will best respond to campaigns and buying journeys that speak to them both on a rational and a human level.
B2B marketing: Understanding the buyer’s journey
B2B marketing entails assisting clients in making sensible, justifiable, and relationship-based choices.
When we make purchasing decisions while wearing our professional hats, they tend to be more expensive and have longer-lasting effects. Simply put, committing our organisation to a new software package is a much larger decision than deciding which shoes we will purchase for working out.
In the workplace, we must frequently justify B2B decisions to others or make them as a team. Therefore, we must be able to defend them logically. Others engaged may have competing goals, such as the CFO’s focus on the budget and the CISO’s interest in data security. To persuade all of them, we need marketing materials with an attractive array of facts and numbers supported by reasoning and comparisons.
However, these findings won’t reach the boardroom unless we are emotionally invested in the product first. We conduct business with individuals we like and trust. And the larger the transaction, the harder we expect them to work to earn our trust and develop the connection.
A major purchasing decision at work could be a career-defining event. Therefore we’ll need to have complete confidence in the other party’s business procedures, ethics, and principles. We seek marketing messages that are reliable, reassuring, and genuine. Once everything is aligned emotionally (assuming the product meets our needs), we will utilise the facts and features to justify our decision to ourselves and others.
In brand messaging, we will even tolerate some industry jargon. It may make us feel informed and demonstrate that the organisation understands our concerns.
B2C marketing: The customer experience
In the majority of consumer decisions, the stakes are lower. And we rarely have to justify our decisions to others.
We utilise simple criteria to sift through the many options in most consumer categories. We gaze at the supermarket shelves and do little more than a superficial comparison before putting an item in our cart. We do not invest, evaluate and contrast their many features and benefits to make a highly deliberate and considered choice. Instead, transactional considerations drive us, such as:
- Brand awareness – resulting from advertising and a strong presence.
- Convenience – location, accessibility, opening hours, free or fast shipping, etc.
- Trust – established at scale (one-to-many instead of personal interactions with a salesperson).
Sponsorship, advertisements, and a recognisable brand assist us in relating to and associating particular values and traits with a consumer product. We’ll even extend that trust beyond categories (such as when a shoe manufacturer develops a pair of socks, we’ll have an unconscious positive association with it owing to the branding on the label).
Even when we actively analyse purchase decisions as consumers, we prefer marketing communications that are straightforward, unambiguous, and centred on the benefits they will provide. We do not have a lengthy company procurement cycle or a board to persuade. We only desire something that alleviates our suffering and simplifies our life.
Most of the time, we let our unexamined emotions dictate our decisions, choosing the latest pair of shoes simply because we like them. Little else matters.
When B2B and B2C blend
We make consumer decisions differently, using different factors, not because they are less significant. For high-priced consumer goods, the process more closely resembles B2B and vice versa:
Imagine discussing the purchase of a new vehicle with your spouse. Even if the glossy brochure and gleaming chrome first piqued your interest, you must be conversant with the financials and features. In contrast, a small-business owner or freelancer may make a more emotive choice to purchase a ‘cool’ new tech solution. Their understanding that less recognised companies offer functionally identical products at a lesser price is not always the deciding factor.
Today, many products sell first to channel partners or distributors, who subsequently rely on consumer sales. This is how many web platforms connect parties in a transaction by leveraging datasets and audiences. This trend is continually expanding.
Brands must comprehend the various aspects that influence the purchasing behaviour and sales cycles of both B2B and B2C buyers. They must also accept a certain level of blending and ambiguity.
Understanding your customer and what motivates them is the utmost priority. You will be able to build the most successful brand marketing strategies by carefully analysing and researching your customer personas and unique user journeys to determine which hat they are wearing while making a decision.
Although the relative importance of emotion and rationality may vary depending on the situation, there is always a balance between the two — regardless of which hat the buyer wears.
Resonate is your partner in marketing beyond personas
We are a full-stack B2B marketing firm specialising in the B2B sector as that is where our passions lie and it is what we are good at. If you need a marketing strategy designed for your target market, please reach out to us. We are experts in optimising your marketing efforts and believe in taking a strategic approach to getting the best results. Please visit our Marketing page for more about our services.