Both B2B and B2C marketers are working to promote products and services, but they’re faced with very different challenges and audience needs. Trying to adopt a B2C strategy to address a B2B audience can backfire – and vice versa. If you’re an insurance agent handling your own marketing, it’s important to know the difference.
B2B stands for “business to business,” and B2C stands for “business to consumer.” In general, many B2C purchases are targeted toward individuals. They’re fairly quick and emotion-driven, and don’t require a lot of knowledge or money. For example – deciding whether to pick a can of Coke or Pepsi.
B2B purchases, however, involve businesses deciding whether to buy a product or service. Usually it’s complicated, specialized, and expensive. There may be a complex buying cycle where you must convince more than one decision-maker, all with different priorities.
Of course, insurance is a complex product, even for individual consumers – and in some ways, selling B2C insurance has more in common with B2B. Here’s a breakdown of the tactics used in both types of campaigns and how they differ.
Casting a Wide Net vs. Focusing on a Niche
In B2C marketing, your market tends to be broader. You want to reach as many people as possible and aim to spread a wide net.
In B2B marketing, however, your market is more niche. There may be limited businesses who need what you sell, and limited people within those businesses who have the authority to make a purchasing decision. As a result, your marketing list will be much shorter (which also means your competitors may be more limited).
While consumer insurance marketing can also have limiting factors – for instance, if you sell homeowners insurance, you need to limit your audience to homeowners – it also tends to be broader than the typical B2B market.
Transactional Marketing vs. Building Relationships
B2C marketing tends to be more transactional. Individual consumers want to get problems resolved quickly, and don’t want to spend a lot of time getting to know your business.
The goal of B2C marketing is to drive large volumes of prospects to your website to fuel more sales. The signup process needs to be seamless, with as few friction points as possible. In insurance, this is a particular challenge, because the product can be complicated. The simpler you can make it for your customer, the better. That’s why insurtech tools such as instant quotes are so important.
In B2B marketing, the goal is to build long-term relationships with prospects over time. The process of making a purchasing decision is much longer, and prospects will appreciate having you on-call to discuss solutions to complex problems.
It’s important to demonstrate that you understand your customer’s challenges – and that your ethics and values are aligned with that of your customers. B2B marketing in insurance tends to be driven by referrals and repeat business.
Simple vs. Complex Buying Cycles
The decision-making process is often much shorter and less complex for B2C buyers. While choosing a new insurance plan is a more complex decision than buying a can of soda, customers tend to be very price-driven. There’s usually only one person (perhaps two, in the case of couples) to convince.
In B2B, the buying cycle can be much more complex. You may need to produce different marketing materials and have a different pitch for various stakeholders in the company – the CEO, the financial officer, and others. All may have different interests and priorities.
Depending on whether you sell insurance directly to consumers or if you distribute your products via independent/captive agents, these factors can profoundly influence how you craft your marketing materials. Adjust your strategy accordingly, and you should see success.
For additional information, contact Brad Nevins at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 707.759.5391