There is a great debate raging on the relevance of social media marketing.
Questions are asked:
Is it as relevant for B2B as well as B2C? Is B2B marketing any different to B2C?
Should there even be a division in the marketing world? Or should we be concentrating on connecting with individuals?
Here is why, from a marketing strategy perspective, B2B - and by extension, a business franchise - and B2C should not differ:
- Buyers are individuals. Individuals rely on recommendations from their friends. Is there really any difference between connecting with a buyer and a consumer? They’re both just folks wanting to connect with other folks.
- Everyone uses networking. B2B contracts are often negotiated from networking and social media is a good networking tool.
- Personal connection. You should market seller to buyer and not business to business. There is still a personal bond between you, which can be enhanced by social media.
- Relationship marketing. Business to business is often based on relationship marketing through business partnerships - just like B2C marketing.
- You still need to differentiate. Whether you are selling gadgets or clothing, to create value, you need to distinguish yourself. You must generate a reason for someone to buy from you, and social media acts as a differentiating tool.
- Home social networking. Although businesses in some industries are slow at taking up social media tools, the individuals behind them are likely to be using social media at home. If you can create value within your industry, then you can still connect with those who influence the buying decisions, creating brand awareness.
- Internet marketing. If you think of how B2B marketing often operates - via catalogues and other direct mail – this is deliverable at a much more reasonable cost on the internet. Businesses can also take enjoyment in a ‘deal of the day’ feed delivered straight to buyers’ inboxes via RSS.
- Changing behaviour. This is key for both consumers and buyers within firms. They can both be educated via RSS or through tools such as ‘wikis’. But the behaviour barrier is the same for both areas.
Is the old way of distinguishing between B2B and B2C over? Or are the processes still very different? What do you think?