The world of products is constantly changing. And the significance of marketing is felt more now than ever before. The staggering pace of changes is one of the main reasons that has made customer acquisition more challenging and expensive.
In this article, we’ll discuss the two broad types of businesses: B2B and B2C marketing and the exclusive customer acquisition channels that help to gain traction in each of them.
The difference between B2B and B2C marketing approaches
The key differentiator between the two approaches is their audiences. A B2B buyer journey is long and complex, and it involves multiple decision-makers. Your marketing language has to be compelling and enticing enough to convince those educated and well-aware decision-makers. Whereas, if your product caters to customers directly, you might have to strategize an entirely different marketing approach to educate the market, popularize your product, and thereby convince your target audiences to buy your product.
There are different marketplaces, channels, and platforms where you can acquire customers. Based on the nature of the channel and its users, we have categorized top channels for both B2B and B2C product marketing. But this doesn’t limit your business to experiment with cross-platform advertisements if the nature of your product warrants the same.
Top B2B Marketing channels
- Search engine marketing
- Guest posting
- Affiliate marketing
- B2B landing pages
- Engineering as marketing
- B2B marketing events
- LinkedIn marketing
- Account-based marketing
- Business development partnerships
- Direct marketing / Sales
#1 Search engine marketing
Google holds a whopping 93% share of the search engines worldwide. It’s a great idea to advertise your products on the world’s biggest digital marketplace. Google Ads serves as a great marketing tool especially for B2B businesses that are looking for high-quality web traffic with an intent to make instant purchases. World’s leading businesses are investing hundreds of dollars in search engine marketing every day. If your target audiences are likely to make purchases through search engine research, it’s definitely a great idea to leverage Google Ads.
#2 Guest posting
There are a lot of content aggregation platforms specific to each industry. These websites and forums serve curated content tailored to engage and educate the readers. You can use this as an effective channel to post thought leadership content and industry-leading articles that can have hyperlinks to your product landing pages.
Here are some examples for B2B great content marketing ideas:
→ Thought leadership articles
→ Industry news and updates
→ Trend forecasts
→ Product comparison articles
#3 Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing refers to the process where a business commissions an affiliate for each lead, qualified visitor, or customer that is acquired by their marketing effort. This is a fruitful scenario for all three parties: you, your affiliate, and your customer. For example, leading eCommerce platform Shopify hosts a popular affiliate program where you can refer businesses to subscribe to one of the paid plans by Shopify and you’ll earn for every successful conversion. Take a look at the outcomes: Shopify gets a new customer, a business gets the best eCommerce platform for their online market, the affiliate gets paid too. This is a classic example of how B2B businesses can benefit from affiliate programs.
#4 B2B landing pages
B2B websites usually have overwhelming information with a number of web pages that are created with the intent of driving organic traffic. Landing pages help you create exclusive and mission-driven pages that engage the visitors with spot-on content about a particular feature/highlight of your product and thereby making them convert faster. Well-written and beautifully designed landing pages go a long way in helping your ads perform better. You can create unlimited landing pages that are tailored to the goals of your Google and social media ads.
#5 Engineering as marketing
Engineering-based marketing is the latest buzz in the B2B space. This refers to the practice of leveraging engineering to create a product or tool that will be resourceful to the entire market. You can take advantage of the engineering and use it to gain traction with your actual product or business offering.
Hubspot’s website grader is a famous example of engineering-as-marketing where they offered free site audits and website scores and thereby popularized their website-related services and marketing automation products.
#6 B2B marketing events
Despite the advent of technology-powered automation in every phase of customer acquisition, the role of in-person conversations and human-powered interactions always remains to be irreplaceable. Here are some of the interesting ways of benefitting from different types of B2B events:
→ Trade shows: They help you get closer to your potential buyers directly and give them a personalized demo of the product in person.
→ Online events: Webinars and e-summits are the order of the day. Engage industry insiders with advice and thought leadership through insightful online events and thereby create awareness for your brand
→ Offline events: You can host offline events like community building workshops, speaking engagements, etc. where you can help and get help from your community and win a chance to advertise your brand.
#7 LinkedIn marketing
LinkedIn is the most recent trend that is changing the way B2B businesses are marketed online. LinkedIn being the Facebook of the business and professional world provides you with a great opportunity to connect with your target companies directly.
→ Connect with businesses directly: Acquire the visibility of your target companies and engage them with conversion-focused marketing communication.
→ Connect with the decision-makers directly: B2B buying journey involves multiple decision-makers but the good thing is that you can reach out to those key contacts of your target company on LinkedIn and pitch them a personalized message.
#8 Account-based marketing
Often abbreviated as ABM, account-based marketing refers to a next-gen B2B marketing approach that works like 1:1 conversation. You can dynamically change the content of your website based on the company that visits your page and offer them a hyper-personalized experience. We know that personalization is the key to customer conversion especially in the B2B space and ABM is the epitome of personalization.
#9 Business development partnerships
In the increasingly complex marketplace that the world is becoming today, it’s almost impossible to succeed independently. That doesn’t mean you have to rely on others; rather it means that you should co-grow with others in the industry. Strategic partnerships and business development deals are great channels for two companies to market and grow together. If you can identify a non-competitive business whose customers are the same as yours you can reach out to them for a combined business development plan.
Here are a couple of examples of famous business development collaboration:
→ Leading cloud-based ERP company Acumatica is open for partnership with eCommerce agencies. A number of eCommerce development companies have benefitted by partnering with Acumatica (and vice versa). Both have the same target users who want to set up an eCommerce store for their business or improve their existing store.
→ This approach applies to B2C marketing too. For example, Spotify and Uber combined together to give a music-rich ride experience to the commuters.
#10 Direct marketing
It refers to the direct outreach to those who had shown interest in your product and those who you think have a high chance of becoming your buyers. Direct emails, cold calls, sales pitches, etc. are the channels for direct marketing. Sending a series of cadence emails is one of the most popular and successful marketing practices for B2B businesses where you engage and nurture your recipients through thoughtfully written emails and move them further through the sales cycles based on their intent.
Top 10 B2C Marketing channels
- Television, radio, and print ads
- Facebook for B2C marketing
- Instagram marketing
- Marketplace advertising
- Customer acquisition through referral campaigns
- Retargeting advertisements
- Influencer marketing
- YouTube advertisements
- YouTube content marketing
- Search engine optimization
#1 Television, radio, and print ads
Mass media is one of the most effective channels to reach out to customers directly. These mainstream advertising channels like television, radio, and newspapers cater directly to millions of users straight to their living rooms and hands. Besides marketing your product to a vast audience base, publicity on mass media helps you popularize your brand to the entire market. This helps you to build a great reputation and familiarity for your brand in the long run. Hundreds of B2C products have benefitted from successful marketing campaigns on televisions and newspapers.
Besides being the best-fit marketing channel for B2C players, TV and radio work well for some B2B companies too. Businesses like Go Daddy have started attracting customers through TV ads.
#2 Facebook for B2C marketing
Facebook is one of the most successful marketing channels that rose to popularity in the last decade. According to a survey by Marketingprofs, 97% of B2C marketers use Facebook as one of their primary online marketing channels. Facebook has over 2.6 billion registered active users which is a huge market size with audiences of varied demographic traits. Taking advantage of Facebook audience insights helps you to handpick the right target users for your campaigns, finetune, and refine your marketing language accordingly.
What are the different types of Facebook ads?
→ Highly targeted ads to specific location or demographics
→ Ads for brand awareness
→ Ads for post reach
→ Ads to drive audience engagement
→ A wide choice of formats like videos, images, carousels, blog posts that link back to your website, slideshows, polls, etc.
→ Endless engagement options for audiences to like, comment, tag, and share your post or page.
→ Paid as well as organic marketing options
#3 Instagram marketing
It is studied that up to 60% of B2C marketers rely on Instagram for their product marketing while 11% of them state that Instagram is their primary place of traction.
Initially conceptualized as a photo and video-based social media platform, Instagram has now become the go-to place for ads with high conversion rates. The nature of the platform that attracts Millenials and teens make it the number one channel for B2C industries like fashion, food, boutique, lifestyle, travel, tourism, etc.
#4 Marketplace advertising
This refers to gaining visibility and traction on a marketplace by effectively strategizing and curating your marketing communication tailored to that channel. For example, in eCommerce sites like Amazon, Flipkart, or Walmart, you can feature your sponsored ads in the product feed for specific keywords and search queries. The biggest benefit of this channel is the purchase intent of the customers who are readily willing to buy your product after seeing the ad.
#5 Customer acquisition through referral campaigns
If you are looking for an all-time customer acquisition strategy that works for all sorts of businesses, ‘word-of-mouth’ is all you need to rely on. Word of mouth is an age-old, organic, and effortless marketing method that happens as a side benefit of great customer service or product quality.
Referral programs are nothing but a motivation for your customers to do word-of-mouth advocacy. It can be considered as an analog to what affiliate marketing is for the B2B world. This works best especially for B2C products that are in the startup phase. If executed well, this can become one of the viral marketing means for your product.
#6 Retargeting advertisements
A marketing funnel consists of different phases starting from awareness and consideration to interest and decision making. You need to create ad artefacts for each stage of this funnel strategically and move the audiences to the successive stages of the funnel. Imagine a scenario where your audience shows interest in your product but they haven’t moved to the successive stages (like shopping cart, purchase.) Retargeting helps you attract them with more engaging content on other third-party websites and marketplaces.
You can run retargeting ads on Facebook along with programmatic display ads, intent-based ads, Google shopping ads, etc. The benefits of retargeting ads include cost-effectiveness, lifetime customer value, brand awareness, and positive brand reputation. A classic example of retargeting ads for B2C marketing is the eCommerce giant Amazon using Google display ads or shopping ads to remind you of the shoes that just checked on their site.
#7 Influencer marketing
The changing trends of marketing necessitate businesses to invest in new concepts that are off-beat and unconventional. Influencer marketing is one of such all-new marketing concepts where businesses reach out to industry excerpts and influencers to do the advocacy for their brand. Since 2018, from small businesses and startups to established leaders and giants, businesses of all sizes have started investing a huge chunk of their marketing budget in influencer marketing.
Here are some tips and tactics on how to carry out an efficient influential campaign:
→ Identify influencers for your product who have the visibility, voice, popularity, and most importantly the credibility that your customers will believe
→ Define your campaign goals and influencer budget
→ Choose how to do the influencing, review your influencer’s previous works
→ Develop the campaign messaging and finalize the campaign expectations
→ Consider giveaway contests where you can incentivize influencers to run giveaway contests on your behalf
#8 YouTube advertisements
YouTube is one of the biggest open-source content libraries that house loads and loads of videos. With 1.5 billion users worldwide, YouTube has been the marketing destination for almost 46% of B2C marketers. You can identify channels that have ideal audiences for your product and request to place sponsored ads or product placements on their videos.
#9 YouTube content marketing
Another way to leverage this biggest online video platform is to create videos that are engaging and interesting to your audiences and thereby promoting your product and popularizing your brand in a direct/subtle way as needed. You can also reach out to popular content creators on YouTube whose audience is relevant to yours and incentivize them to create content to promote your product.
#10 Search engine optimization
This is one of the most important methods of acquiring traction for your B2C business. The best thing about this approach is that it’s an organic method, and the brand building happens at a slow but steady pace. This involves identifying the right keywords for your business and invest your time and effort in building organic links to your website. Except for the cost that you spend on your SEO resources, this is a complete organic and free tool where you don’t pay anything to the search engines. Holding 90% of the search engine market, Google remains to be the king of search engines. Hundreds of thousands of B2C companies rely on Google for their marketing and customer acquisition. Google also allows location-based keywords and results which is a great opportunity for you to optimize your website for local keywords and searches.
Channels that are common to both B2B and B2C
The above classification that differentiates the marketing channels into B2B and B2C is based on the majority of the audiences and their intent. But that doesn’t mean that this is a hard and fast rule. You can choose a B2C channel from the above list for your B2B business if your business warrants it.
For example, SEO can work well for both B2B and B2C players. Content marketing, blogs, social media marketing are other channels common to both B2B and B2C businesses. To keep pace with the rapidly changing trends in business and customer behavior, you need to devise a hybrid approach that combines the best of all the platforms and helps you to reach your customers in every possible place. For example, you can run in-site ads on Amazon and show Google display ads for those who abandoned their shopping carts. At the end of the day, it’s all about your product and your audience based on which you should choose the channel.
We all know the famous saying that reads ‘one size never fits all’ and this best applies to product development and its success. You need to figure out the customer acquisition channel that is cost-effective and suitable for the nature of your product and target audiences.
Wondering how to choose your ‘traction channel’?
Looking for a free consultation with our product development experts? Write to us at email@example.com. Siam Computing helps you build tailored product and mobility solutions that are industry-best, scalable, and provide a great customer experience. At Siam Computing, we deliver unique, next-gen product experiences by bringing together the best programmers, product designers, and business strategists in the industry. Leveraging cutting-edge technologies, we transform your dreams and ideas into compelling products and app solutions through a foolproof roadmap that guides you throughout the journey from pre-build to post-launch support.