I know…the title seems a bit condescending to B2C marketers, but I assure you it wasn’t meant that way. There’s many reasons why it’s only “3 Things…” rather than “15 Things…”
One of those reasons is that, historically, B2C has been way ahead of B2B when it comes to tech, innovative marketing strategies, and the now proverbial data-driveness. Yet, resting on laurels is never a good idea, so after conversing a with a few B2C experts, here are the three main themes I gathered:
1. Marketing tech has something to offer
B2C has always been at the vanguard of advertising technology (AdTech), but when it comes to MarTech, most B2C organizations typically have homegrown systems that used to be far more advanced and tailored to needs than anything offered by the vendors.
This is no longer the case. With marketing automation providers such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Oracle Eloqua and Marketo making significant strides into the B2C market with focused products and features, B2C marketers are forced to give greater consideration to these vendors.
Scalability is the key consideration here. As marketing evolves alongside customer needs and new sources of data, B2C marketers will need to ensure their homegrown systems evolve too. This is resource-intensive (in time, human capital, funds), and the larger the organization becomes, the larger these resource drains become.
Investing in a vendor-provided martech solution, on the other hand, enables marketers to benefit from the cloud (automatic software updates, easy access to systems, far less IT involvement, etc.). Most importantly, vendors provide the customer support to tackle the onboarding and continual tech issues that are the common bane to growth – integrations between systems is chief among these.
Simply put, investing in martech allows B2C marketers to focus on their key strengths and priorities.
2. Nurturing with content rather than coupons
Nurturing (specifically lead nurturing) is a cornerstone B2B strategy. The long, complicated buy cycle that typifies B2B marketing and sales makes content nurturing a no-brainer. Most B2B organizations separate their funnel into six to eight stages, aligning content all along the way (and this is a very simplistic explanation).
B2C marketing is usually understood in terms of a much shorter, less-complicated path to purchase. And any nurturing is often used for retention: rewards programs, coupons, loyalty benefits, etc. But there is reason to get more granular when thinking about the B2C funnel and addressing consumer buy-cycle needs with aligned content, especially when it comes to expensive products: cars, healthcare, high-end electronics, mortgage, etc.
Consumers are just as likely to research these products before purchasing as a company is when considering a new networking software provider. As the top marketing automation providers battle it out to win B2C market share, they’ll be developing more and more B2C-focused capabilities.
B2C marketers would be wise to take a few notes from their B2B counterparts and begin laying out the groundwork for a more sophisticated content nurturing strategy.
3. You’re not beholden to networks and exchanges
When it comes to scaling customer acquisition, B2C marketers often feel no choice but to leverage ad networks and exchanges for added reach. Otherwise, they just can’t get the traffic or lead volume.
This, however, creates many difficulties in itself. Exchanges and networks are notorious for evading transparency, which makes optimizing difficult (to say the least). Ad spend minimums further complicate matters, because testing numerous exchanges and networks against one another becomes cost prohibitive. And if the spend minimums don’t prevent wide scale testing, the manual effort to manage, report on and optimize all these disparate sources does.
Consequently, B2C customer acquisition pros are encumbered by the processes of one or two exchanges. And this ends up affecting the marketing org’s entire strategy (and in some cases business model). As one B2C marketer I interviewed put it, “They [exchanges] are inflexible – it’s like hammering a square peg through a round hole…and something eventually breaks.”
Taking a cue from B2B demand gen practitioners, B2C customer acquisition pros can instead begin developing their own transparent media partner ecosystems. Centralizing direct relationships with numerous media partners on one platform provides the reach, transparency and flexibility to continuously scale acquisition efforts while cutting resources requirements.