B2B and B2C marketers pitch to very different audiences and so naturally they try to adopt different marketing tactics to lure new sales. But one thing is certain – all marketers, whether selling to business decision makers or consumers, must treat each customer or prospect as a unique individual. And while B2B and B2C campaigns have traditionally used different strategies, there is in fact a lot that the two different styles of marketers can learn from each other.

In the first of a two-part blog series, I’d like to offer some tips about how B2B marketers can learn from the strategies and tactics of their B2C brothers and sisters. In part two, I’ll reverse the conversation to look at how we can learn from the B2B professionals.

Communicate one prospect at a time

The majority of B2B marketers cite that delivering highly relevant email content to recipients is one of their top challenges. But you can begin to improve relevancy very quickly by segmenting your lists in the early stages of the sales cycle. Very few B2B marketers use email list segmentation to target prospects whereas most B2C marketers look at buyer behaviour quite closely (and very early on) to deliver personalised communication.

If you’re not already, begin to segment messages based on recipient actions. For example, you might send customers who opened your email and clicked through to download a white paper, a message for a related webinar. For those who opened your initial email but didn’t click, send a survey requesting more information about their interests so you can improve relevancy going forward.

Multi-channel approach

Find out what social networks your customers and prospects frequent. Use surveys to get this information or capture it through a preference centre. You can also tap into customer communities to understand where they’re residing and think about the following:

  • Deliver content that educates, not just sells. Taking a consistent educational and engaging approach with your content allows companies to occasionally drop promotional content into the flow (depending on the context) and have these messages be accepted.
  • Make it easy to spread the word. Use highly visible text and graphics so it’s simple for customers and prospects to share your content, whether it’s posted on your website, in a blog or as part of an email.

Use surveys to learn more

Surveying prospects and customers about their likes, dislikes, needs and desires is a great way to gain customer insights that enable marketers to better send relevant campaigns that increase engagement.

Today, new technology lets marketers create more sophisticated surveys that incorporate exciting branching and advanced logic options. This allows B2B marketers to set up surveys that move respondents through different question paths based on their answers to previous questions.

The benefits? Marketers have to ask respondents fewer questions to get the same amount of information, resulting in higher levels of survey completions. Plus, you can set up countless different branching scenarios that enable you to get very specific in the prospect data and preferences you collect, which you can then use to send highly targeted communication.

The wind up

Hopefully these few tips encourage B2B marketers to think about how they can leverage B2C tactics for their own marketing game. While some processes may not be relevant, there are many tactics we can borrow from each other… and perhaps you’ve got an ex-B2C marketer in the team bursting with past experience that you can use to snare your next group of prospects?