Recent days have seen a flurry of debate about the differences between B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) marketing and arguments about which is more sophisticated. Having worked on both sides of the fence I guess I’m qualified to have an opinion but, to be honest, I’m not sure if it’s worth having one. Which is more advanced is largely irrelevant; they both perform quite different roles and rightly tap into different channels to reach their audiences.
To help us understand the differences, a new video by Ernest Agency (c/o Jeff Bullas’s blog) shares some impressive stats about how B2B and B2C marketers are using social media, an area where B2B is arguably leading the pack (81% of B2B companies use social media vs. just 67% for B2C). This makes sense: B2B marketing success relies heavily on personal relationships between the buyer and the seller and social media is a fabulous way to develop these. What makes less sense is the claim that 93% of B2B buyers use search to start their buying process alongside a competing stat that says 7/10 buyers start this same process at vendor sites. My instinct tells me the former stat makes sense (the search engines win hands down) while the second is bunkum. What’s perhaps a more useful exercise is estimating how quickly and how far that 93% could fall as savvy B2B buyers start turning to social media channels to decide what to buy for their business. There’s no doubt about it, search marketing is facing up to its biggest threat yet in social media.
Enjoy the video: