Can you imagine a world where the terms “B2B marketing” and “B2C marketing” are obsolete? It may sound crazy today, but digital transformation is changing the way brands operate, and the differences between B2B and B2C marketing are dwindling. Brands that were once considered strictly for individual consumers have expanded into corporate partnerships and sponsorships. Meanwhile, traditional B2B brands recognize the importance of marketing directly to the persons making buying decisions.
Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C marketing strategies opens the door for a new wave: all-to-all (A2A) marketing. A2A is a new way of going to market. Businesses of all kinds want to connect directly with their customers, regardless of whether that customer is purchasing for themselves or on behalf of another group. And while the motivations of those buyers may be different, what they want out of an interaction with a brand is similar.
A2A isn’t just changing B2B marketing. Consumer-oriented brands are searching for B2B opportunities that can help grow their business and provide stability in the face of change.
Watch the video to hear Tamara Prewitt, senior director, ACX Product Marketing at Oracle, discuss what A2A is and how it will impact marketing.
How can you prepare for A2A and the avalanche of marketing changes heading your way? It starts with becoming obsessed with customer data. Knowing who your customers are allows you to personalize marketing campaigns. It also shows you who your customers aren’t—and that’s where the opportunity lies.
The shift toward A2A marketing has a ripple effect on your marketing infrastructure. Modern marketing practices incorporating both B2B marketing and B2C marketing means you can’t succeed with tools that do one but not the other. For example, B2C brands may be using a transactional platform that adeptly handles marketing at scale. But if it can’t successfully integrate B2B marketing tactics, it’s not equipped for A2A.
Businesses are already testing the waters of A2A marketing. Read on to see how two brands broke out from traditional B2B and B2C marketing to find new opportunities.
Find out the latest marketing technology trends helping teams adapt when circumstances arise and still deliver personalized experiences.
Paciolan, a leading ticketing platform with marketing, fundraising, and other services, experienced this shift firsthand during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. With in-person events and sports on hold, Paciolan, which supports over 150 college athletic programs, needed to adapt. They had the data and capabilities needed to switch to an end user-focused strategy that ultimately helped customers engage with fans and generate revenue when it otherwise would have been impossible.
Paciolan used data collected by Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation and Infinity Behavioral Intelligence to help customers forge deeper connections with their fans. For example, while Paciolan couldn’t sell tickets to sporting events, they were able to sell fan cutouts that filled otherwise empty arenas when athletics returned. They also gamified fundraising to get fans involved and rallied around their teams, even when nothing was happening on the court.
“We were able to quickly pivot and be creative to act on that desire for more content and use the first-party data and all the data that we have in our ecosystem to effectively nurture and give our customers’ customers, the fans, the content that they were craving,” said Kyle Murphy, director of Marketing Automation and CRM at Paciolan.
B2C brands can branch out into B2B avenues. TIGI, a haircare brand favored by salons and professional hairstylists around the world, is one example. The salon industry heavily depends on human interaction, personal recommendations, and hairdressers getting a sale. Nataly Avila, head of Global Digital Transformation, TIGI, and head of Marketing, TIGI Americas, discussed how the brand used B2C tactics in a B2B setting during Oracle’s Personalized Marketing Summit.
“The salon professional industry was still relying, and still does, on human beings going into salons and interacting with those owners and those hairdressers and getting the sale, but also understanding who they are, what they are, what they like, when their birthday is, all these little pieces of information that they use to craft a relationship that drives the business forward, Nataly said. “We had that analog model that we started to try to replicate on our B2B environment. So how could we get some of that information digitally, not to replace that analog experience, but to grow the business or offer more breadth to the people we could touch?”
TIGI looked at the data they already had to study: Who was buying their products, what they bought, and when they purchased. Looking at this information through a B2B marketing lens painted an interesting picture of who the customer was and what their motivations were.
“For example, even within our B2B environment, if you are a salon owner that is not the hairdresser, you might be motivated by things like inventory, cost, frequency of a requirement, in usage. If you are a salon owner that is a hairdresser, you may be much more motivated by the creativity, by the educational support of those products, by what it can do, the style that can give your client, et cetera,” Nataly explained. “So now we're starting to peel that layer back to really think about beyond promotion. Maybe it's not a new promotion. It could be the same promotion, same product, but perhaps now it's just a different message. And how can that garner a better response from our customers?”
TIGI used the data to produce marketing that better engaged existing and potential customers. It put the customer at the center of the process in B2C and B2B environments, providing the company with more ways to increase sales and grow brand affinity.
A2A is gaining steam as the digital space becomes the go-to for consumers. Buyers have no shortage of options when looking to make a purchase, so your relationship with them matters. Today’s B2B marketers need to embrace traditional B2C tactics to prepare for the A2A world ahead.
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Vanessa Denice is a Senior Content Manager for Oracle Advertising & CX, specializing in B2B and B2C Marketing. She has a decade of experience writing, editing, and managing content for agencies and corporate marketing teams.