Business-to-customer marketing refers to the tactics and best practices used to promote products and services among consumers. B2C marketing differs from B2B marketing in a number of key ways, one being that it often depends on campaigns’ abilities to invoke emotional responses, rather than solely demonstrating value.
Those selling consumer-based products typically engage in some form of B2C marketing. Some examples include:
- Short sales cycles—days or even minutes, for those impulse buys
- Brand is built through advertising and referrals
- Customer service is core to sales
- Social media gives greater access to customers, opening up huge opportunities for advertising, customer service, and building of customer loyalty
- Computer and gadget companies often market new products, providing tools to make your life more fun and efficient, solving problems you didn’t even know you had.
- Software and game companies use, among other strategies, conventions (such as Electronic Entertainment Expo, aka E3) to get the word out. (See also In-Game Marketing)
- Restaurants will market their food, but also their reputation and atmosphere.
- Clothing, jewelry, and make-up companies do much of their marketing through the concept of “fashion”—which can be changed whenever there’s a new product to sell.
- Drug companies in the United States run advertisements about new products, urging you to “ask your doctor if [Fixitol] is right for you.” (In some other countries, it is illegal to market drugs directly to the consumer; in those places, companies market to the doctors.)
- Car companies continue to be creative with their B2C campaigns, such as doing road trips building towers of gasoline cans to show how much fuel you save with their high MPG cars.
- Food companies selling in grocery stores market not only through advertising, but through product packaging and in-store displays.
Since “consumers” refers to all individual buyers of products and services, and no product is likely to appeal to every single consumer, B2C marketers break consumers down into target segments— for example, 18-25 year-old single males. The goal is to match the marketing message with the target consumer segment, since different consumer segments will respond differently to various marketing methods.
B2C marketing campaigns begin with comprehensive market research. Companies must know who their customers are, what they want, and the messages they respond to. Market research enable companies to craft effective messages and select campaign elements that engage specific audiences.
- Know your audience
- Own your brand
- Take advantage of user-generated content online
- Take action to respond to negative feedback
- Build brand loyalty
In today’s age of Internet interconnectivity, an audience is likely to spend a significant amount of time online. Because of this, some of the rules for developing an effective B2C campaign have changed. A winning B2C campaign should take the Internet into account, using tools such as company websites, affiliate programs, quick response (QR) codes, and social media.