Building an online presence to make a brand known to the public can be a huge investment in terms of both time and money, so why your company should target the final B2B consumer?
The end-users of a product may seem of little importance to organizations operating in the B2B market, however, there are many advantages in addressing final customers with your marketing strategy.
In the long run, keeping consumers in mind when developing a marketing strategy can make a big difference in terms of sales. When done right, raising awareness about your product, service, or brand towards the end consumers can translate into higher demand, more engagement, and better relationships with distributors.
In this article, we will look into the benefits a B2B company can obtain if they target the right consumer . By understanding the vital role of end-users in the decision-making process of distributors and direct-to-consumer (DTC) enterprises, it will be possible to set up a strategy that will create demand, rather than just follow it.
Changing business mindsets: how to target the final consumer for better branding
Traditionally, companies are divided into two main categories, business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C). The first refers to a commercial exchange of products or services between companies, while the latter refers to organizations selling directly to final consumers.
So how to target the final consumer? Which are the right acquisition strategies?
As we explained when we talked about mapping business models, there are many differences in how the two types of companies operate. A B2B company tends to build long term relationships with fewer clients, while a B2C company normally focus on impulsive buyers and immediate transactions. In terms of marketing, strategies go in opposite directions as well: on the one hand, lead nurturing is a primary concern, while on the other personalised experiences are a key tactic.
While these business models are still employed by most companies, a new approach can be adopted where B2B and B2C strategies overlap to strengthen a brand’s reputation. In the past, B2B businesses directed their resources toward production only, delegating the sales to a third party with a network in the consumer community. With technology becoming a constant presence in people’s lives, businesses have the opportunity to influence purchasing decisions directly and improve their own product by analysing consumer behaviour.
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In order to stay relevant, B2B companies target their final consumer to establish their position on the market and gain a deep understanding of customer’s preferences and decision-making processes.
A clear example of the power of targeting the final consumer is one of our recent clients, PFI Hong Kong. As one of the most influential certifying institutions for the sustainable footwear industry in the Far East region, PFI relies on consumer awareness to provide its testing service. That’s why when we worked on rebranding their business the marketing strategy included a content plan aimed at footwear buyers. By making the final consumer conscious of the testing process and its importance, shoe manufacturers started viewing the sustainability certificate as added value for their customer base.
You can read the full PFI case study here.
A new approach to marketing: from B2B to B2B2C
In recent years, analysts and entrepreneurs have introduced a new type of business model called B2B2C. Business-to-business-to-consumer is a new strategic model in which the “business” and “consumer” influence each other indirectly. With a growing number of companies designing products and services targeted at consumers but sold through intermediaries, it has become necessary to develop new solutions for branding.
While the growth of e-commerce technologies has allowed many B2B companies to sell directly to the end-consumers, many businesses still prefer to rely on an intermediary to get the product on the market. The problem is that manufacturers, by having distributors reach customers, don’t have access to the data of the final customers. This sort of information is useful to improve sales, customer service, cross-selling and up-selling. Without data, it becomes difficult to transform and improve the company’s digital ecosystem.
By using a multi-channel approach, B2B2C companies market themselves to end-users as a tactic to produce demand and beat competitors working in a traditional way. In other words, by targeting the consumer, companies make their brand irreplaceable in the eyes of the distributor. With the B2B2C model, manufacturers are able to speak directly with their end-customers while continuing to sell through their agents, representatives, or dealers.
The advantages of a B2B2C model are varied, ranging from data access to a better understanding of the changes in customer’s taste and habits. Additionally, this model allows for full control of the brand image and on the pricing.
How to develop a content strategy to target the right consumer?
Communicating with the end-users of a product can be tricky for B2B companies used to speaking in technical jargon via phone, email, or fairs. Despite the difficulties, finding the right way to send your message out to the public has become essential in many sectors. A key example is the Food & Beverage industry: while relying on a network of distributors, restaurants, and bars to sell the product, companies can benefit greatly from final consumers ordering their brand.
This was the reasoning behind the communication strategy we developed for Luretta Wines, one of our clients. Their award-winning wines were well distributed across restaurants in Italy, however, people were not familiar enough with the brand to be willing to order it and the company had no control over how sommeliers were presenting it. By aligning the communication with the customers’ needs we were able to reach a wider audience and attract new wine enthusiasts.
How to do so? B2B companies need to expand beyond their immediate clients and speak to everyday end-consumers who will be influenced by the message or product. They need to abandon industry-specific terms and formal language to provide an inclusive, pleasant user experience for people who encounter their brand online.
Meeting rooms are substituted with social media platforms and lead nurturing is replaced with targeted, personalized advertising. By making use of the tools typically used by B2C companies, B2B organizations can develop editorial plans that will produce brand awareness in the long term. Consistency is key: publishing often and regularly on both owned and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter, can translate in increased conversions and a more stable customer base.
If you target the right consumer you will also grow sustainably: some final words
The relevance of a brand today depends in great part on how this is perceived on the outside. Targeting final consumers means strengthening a company’s reputation in the long term, which is a fundamental step to sustainable growth. Rather than pushing for sales, including B2C tactics in a B2B marketing strategy, allows to attract new potential clients and analyze the behaviour of existing ones.
Creating an influential brand isn’t easy, but it’s possible with a solid communication plan. Do you need help in reaching new clients with your B2B company? Get in touch, we are here to help.