B2B vs. B2C Marketing...What's Different
Written by: Sean Geehan, Founder, Geehan Group
CEOs and leaders alike need to understand the differences between B2B and B2C worlds. Many marketing leaders have a difficult time making the much-needed adjustments to be successful when they move from a B2C to a B2B organization. Understanding the differences is essential to yielding predictable results.
I’m a living case-in-point. I drink more Diet Coke than I do anything else. I have it stocked in my home fridge, in my work fridge, and I order it every day at lunch. The image of the Coke brand, for me as the customer, is defined entirely by the advertising, package design, and my experience with the taste. I have no personal relationship or connection with the organization itself, and yet I am entirely loyal to that brand. If the package is damaged, I assume my local grocer dropped it while putting it on the shelf. If it doesn’t taste right in a restaurant, I assume the restaurant messed it up.
B2C companies invest millions to understand the various personas, segments, demographics, and geographical nuances of their customers to help them determine how to position and manage their brands to appeal to the masses. In the retail category (e.g., Starbucks, Disney, Target), the brand is also impacted by elements such as the store itself (look, experience) and the people within (knowledge, culture, and interactions). B2B companies invest to understand their customers as well, but the path they take must be very different.
While the fundamentals of marketing are universal, there are three key factors that require a different application in the B2B arena. They are:
- Number of customers — B2C firms usually have 100 to 1,000 times as many customers for a similar amount of revenue. Williams Sonoma has 33 million customers with $3 Billion in revenue, while HCL has the same revenue, but fewer than 500 customers.
- Multiple buying levels within a B2B customer — In my Coke example above, I am the sole person involved in the buying process. In the B2B world, there are typically three levels involved (users, influencers, and decision makers), and each level may have 1 to 1,000s of people, all of whom may impact the purchasing process.
- Domain knowledge — The B2B buyer has the expertise and experience in the offering being considered. Think about the Boeing Engineer evaluating a GE jet engine for a new airplane…a CIO evaluating a new IT provider…or a CFO reviewing audit firms. Each has a level of expertise that most consumers do not have. Let’s face it, how many wine drinkers can really distinguish between a $10 vs. $100 bottle of wine?
Understanding the key differences between the B2B and B2C worlds and applying the appropriate approaches will boost the overall ROI of marketing efforts and ultimately propel an organization toward sustainable, predictable, and profitable growth.
About the Author
Sean Geehan is Author of The B2B Executive Playbook and founder of Geehan Group, the premier thought leader in and provider of Customer Advisory Board research, services, and methodology. Sean can be reached at [email protected] or 937.271.3914.
How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans
AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”
AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”
Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”
Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”
Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”