There are so many different ways to communicate to customers through marketing – you’ve got everything from postcards to billboards to television commercials. Generally, companies divide themselves into who they sell to – businesses or consumers. Business-to-business (B2B) companies reach their customers differently than business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. Here’s an outline of which kind of marketing mix is best used for each type of business.
In B2B selling, customers are reached through the following channels:
• Mass media: print, fax, email, Internet, broadcast
• One-on-one: presentations, email
• Trade shows
• Customer referrals
In C2B selling, customers are reached through these channels:
• Mass media: commercials, Internet, print
• Display: building, signage, billboards, location, counter or shelf displays
• One-on-one: door to door, letter, telephone, email
• Follow up: in person, email, letter, telephone
You’ll notice that there are some overlaps. That’s okay – when it all boils down, you’re still selling to people. Businesses are made of people and the people are who make the buying decisions.
Let’s talk about a few of these options in greater detail:
Mass media: Many marketers think mass media is the end all and be all of marketing. And don’t get me wrong – mass media is one of the main marketing channels for B2B and B2C companies. But, mass media is generally reserved for sales (meaning discounts) and to introduce new products or services.
Display marketing: This works best for B2C marketing because most consumers will travel to your store to buy your product. Many businesses will not. Businesses are too busy to travel from store to store to pick up goods, which is why they generally have everything shipped to them. Displays also encourage impulse buying, which businesses are somewhat immune from because everything they purchase is preordered.
One-on-one marketing: One-on-one marketing works for both types of companies because it’s the most personal way to build a relationship with customers. You talk with them and there’s rapport there. You can also personalize your presentation or lineup of products for each consumer or business. This tactic is most time-consuming, but it can pay off in ways that impersonal marketing can’t.
Speaking of impersonal and personal marketing, these broader categories can also determine your marketing mix:
• One-on-one: presentations, email, letters, telephone, direct mail
• Your selling environment (your store atmosphere)
• Trade shows
• Mass media: print, broadcast
• Display: billboards, location, signage
• General email
Generally, personal marketing is aimed at current customers and impersonal marketing is aimed at prospects. You don’t want to get all up in a prospect’s personal space (real and virtual) because they don’t know you yet and aren’t comfortable with you. If you send an email that has the prospect’s name on it, like “Dear Molly,” Molly’s going to think “You don’t know me so don’t call me by my first name.” However, Joe who is your customer already, will welcome your email opening of “Dear Joe.” He’ll think nothing of your personal greeting.
Now that you know the categories of marketing, you can make your own marketing mix based on whether you want to go personal or impersonal, or based on your type of company. If you’ve already used mass media to reach your customers, you can try some one-on-one marketing to mix it up. There is no right way to market to a group of customers because each group is different. But you can find your own effective marketing mix from these lists and tweak it as you go along.