How Manufacturers are Transitioning from B2B to B2C .

B2B_B2C

In a bid to keep up with the modern digital commerce consumer, brands often find themselves needing to re-focus their approach and transition from B2B to B2C which is by no means an easy feat. In this piece, I’ll be exploring the elements of change brand’s experience and how best to implement this across your business.

The current global business model sees manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers all squeezing for profits and with consumers demanding better pricing; manufacturers are going out on their own in a bid to improve margins, enhance the customer experience and reduce their dependency on resellers.

Businesses that choose to transition from a B2B to a B2C model can expect to benefit from:

  • Instant feedback
  • Higher profit margins
  • The ability to control the way their product interacts with their audience
  • The ability to offer their full range to customers and not just products cherry-picked by retailers

With these benefits in mind, it’s important to consider the business impact of this transition and which areas will be most affected and how best to implement these changes.

Changes in the Approach to Marketing

B2B businesses are not typically well versed with B2C marketing strategies, as previously, these have been up to the resellers, but brands looking to make this shift will now need to consider eCommerce, PPC, SEO, automation, engagement plans and more.

Marketing will also encompass a lot more ‘sales’ work than seen previously; with marketers being responsible for retargeting abandoned checkouts, sending email follow-ups and interacting with customers at every stage of the purchase journey. This is very different from B2B where sales would usually take over leads and nurture them through to fruition.

The most important thing to consider here is data. Marketing needs to own all customer and prospect data so that they can harness this and deliver successful data-driven marketing campaigns; having a very clear marketing strategy for every stage of the consumer journey would also be highly beneficial.

Changes to the Sales Cycle

In B2B the sales cycle is more predictable with set stages… However, in B2C this is very different. There’s no real way of knowing how long a sales cycle might last; it could be a quick 30-second, impulse buy or it could be something that takes a week, month or year with several interactions with your brand across multiple channels. With this in mind, it’s really important to have clear, concise user journeys where the path to conversion is friction-free!

Customer Retention / Loyalty

In the world of B2C, it’s likely that brands will experience a pretty large target audience in comparison to B2B.

It’s important, therefore, to remember that whilst audiences might be much larger and marketing campaigns might be talking to millions of users, you’re only likely to convert a small percentage of the target audience to customers. This makes it increasingly important for your brand to be delivering personalised experiences where possible with 56% of B2C customers reporting that a tailored experience based on past interactions is critical to winning their business.

It’s also crucial for B2C brands to focus on repeat customers as they tend to spend up to three times as much as someone making a one-off purchase and it costs five times more to attract a new customer than it does to drive repeat purchasing. Here are a few key ways to incentivise this:

  • Start a loyalty scheme
  • Offer discounts to customers that spend over a certain amount or offer them exclusive discounts and early access to sales
  • Recommend other products at checkout or ‘other users also purchased’ items
  • Send out replenishment emails
  • Provide smart product recommendations and send these out in your email blasts
  • Ensure check-outs are friction-free
  • Send checkout abandonment emails

Customer Service

There are multiple touch-points to consider when working in B2C all of which come before consumers even make a purchase, these might include a phone call, live chat, social media posts, emails, website browsing, form completions and so on. One of the biggest things to consider as you transition into a B2C offering is ensuring that your brand is able to cope with the volume of interactions and that they are able to manage them and deliver an exceptional customer experience that positively represents your brand from one touchpoint to the next.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
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Naomi Harper
Head of Marketing & Communications
Naomi is the agency's Head of Marketing & Communications with a strong background in Public Relations, events, Marketing and Brand campaigns.

Naomi joined Sagittarius in January 2021 to deliver exceptional external brand experiences, engaging internal communications and to assist with the driving of sales and the developing of relationships with key strategic suppliers.
 

Thumbnail-Naomi-Harper

Naomi Harper

30 Jul 2019 - 6 minute read
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