B2B and B2C marketing were once 100% different. Yet, now the lines between them are more blurred than ever. Companies have been combining strategies and practices. In fact, it’s a way to get the most effectiveness and success out of their communication efforts.
But, for interactions to happen, it’s vital to recognize the differences between the two models. So as the pros and cons weigh in, practices improved.
This article will look at the differences between B2B and B2C marketing strategies. In essence, we’ll consider the most commonly adopted and preferred by pharma companies.
B2B VS. B2C Marketing
B2B marketing, or business-to-business, is a strategy adopted to establish communication with a business or organization, rather than an individual. The purpose of this approach to marketing and communication is to make other businesses and/ or organizations aware of your brands and products.
B2B marketing in pharma has relied on in-person interactions with different stakeholders. It’s a way to establish a strong awareness of the brand and products near the interested parties.
Nonetheless, the dissemination of the Internet has forced a greater digitalization for pharma. This was further aggravated by the pandemic. A 2020 McKinsey report showed that 80% of buyers in this period didn’t plan to go back to in-person sales interactions.
B2B marketing is about establishing a long-lasting link of communication. It is dependent on a complex sales cycle, where interest needs to be nurtured over time. That is now adapting to the new demands in the field, requiring marketers greater flexibility.
Digital is now a great part of B2B marketing strategies, which prove to be more cost-effective. However, strategic tactics such as direct mail and in-person meetings are still efficient.
Technological tools and software are vital to the success of B2B. Marketing teams in the pharmaceutical industry must now have CRM software. It’s used to store contact information, allowing the personalization of service, and tracking the buyer’s journey. It should also have email marketing software to maximize the potential of these communication efforts. Something which will enable the analysis of results.
Inbound marketing is also a crucial component of B2B marketing. The aim of all your communication efforts is to attract businesses, in pharma’s case HCP, into your brand and products. For that, you ought to provide it with valuable content that will enhance your offer’s USP (unique selling proposition), as well as VP (value proposition).
Some of the ways companies can do it are through:
- Off-site and on-site content marketing;
- Personal branding initiatives;
- Email marketing; and
- Influencer marketing…
Outbound marketing is a complementary part of this model. To allure different companies to your brand, it’s important to spark communication with the intended audience. And that can be done through:
- Traditional TV and radio commercials;
- Press releases;
- PPC (pay-per-click ads); and
- Direct mail (product catalogs, brochures…).
B2B marketing consists of any marketing strategy and content created with the intent to allure other businesses into your products and brand. With the digitalization of the industry, some of the most important channels and tools for these efforts have been:
- Official company websites;
- White papers and reports; and
- SEO (search engine optimization).
B2B marketing efforts for their comprehensiveness, display a set of important advantages.
Increased Product Exposure
Technology is part of B2B marketing and both its inbound and outbound marketing strategies. This allows brands to increase product exposure.
There is a growing tendency toward a hybrid communication approach with stakeholders. Pharma companies display an array of traditional and digital channels that allow them to raise awareness around their brand and products.
To increase product exposure some companies venture into:
- Leveraging exclusivity by providing loyal customers with exclusive content and material. Such as, for example, recent studies and research, and insightful analysis of new products;
- Creating content tailored to the audience’s needs, maximizing the potential and impact of the intended message; and
- Making use of events in a creative fashion. Showcase your product through interactive methods. Some of them include video explainers and AR (augmented reality).
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With increased product exposure comes stronger trust from customers. There are different platforms that allow them to interact with the necessary support that leads to brand satisfaction.
Improves Return on Investment (ROI)
The growing digitization and adoption of new channels into the marketing strategy proportionate to the collection of insightful, useful data from customers. These data elements come from the interactions established through:
- Meetings; and
- Engagement with other content, such as video, …
This data is then used to improve products and services. Tailoring them around the customers’ needs, interests, and preferences. This optimizes the potential of not only the interactions but also your brand and what it has to offer. In the end, it contributes to a better return on investment (ROI).
ROI is the ratio calculated between investment and net income. Altogether, a good or high ROI is one in which there is a favorable relation between expenses or cost and revenue generated with the different marketing and sales efforts.
Pharma companies that follow a B2B marketing model can then increase ROI. It’s possible through the adoption of a multichannel approach to their communication strategy.
It ensures the support of the customer on different fronts, throughout the different stages in the buyer’s journey to purchase. Hence why a blended HCP approach has been adopted in the industry. Learn more about it, here.
B2C marketing, also known as business-to-consumer. It’s a marketing strategy adopted to establish direct communication with the end-user of your product.
In addition, this approach follows an ongoing conversational journey with the consumer that intends to establish a strong link of familiarity and trust. It’s done on a daily or weekly basis, depending on innovation and the adoption of personalized strategies that respond to the end-users needs, preferences, and interests.
B2C marketing is about staying up to date with the latest advancements and trends in the field that guide communication with the consumer. Moreover, information and product consumption habits are key to the success of these efforts.
In pharma, its adoption has been shy at first. Being US pharma companies the first to venture into this path, even before the dissemination of the Internet and the pandemic. Yet, European organizations are now catching up and adapting their B2B businesses to B2C and more customer-centric practices.
B2C marketing practices are a valuable consideration when defining your communication strategy. Or remodeling it. But before you do it, it is worth considering its advantages. And if these fit within your needs and goals.
Builds a unique relationship with the consumer
B2C marketing is all about convincing the consumer that your product is the right one. As can be seen, there needs to be a close link of communication. Which is unique in its value.
All things considered, to successfully market a product, companies ought to strive to create comprehensive advertising campaigns. This will draw the necessary attention to their brand. The inclusion of an inclusive communication strategy characteristic of B2C marketing is vital.
All in all, through the integration of digital tools and platforms, B2C marketers have access to:
- User feedback;
- Customer preferences and interests; and
- Response to content.
B2C marketing is, then, a model that erases the HCP as the intermediary of information. Instead, it functions as another source of information and aids in a patient’s journey into treatment and wellness. Following then is a customer-centric approach that puts it in touch with Omnichannel marketing practices. Communication is created on different on- and offline platforms within a single, unified flow.
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Displays content flexibility
Focused on targeting the consumer, B2C marketers take content creation and management as key to their success. And this model is a plus when it comes to marketing material flexibility.
Overall, B2C marketing in Europe gained relevance with the dissemination of the Internet and changing information and product consumption habits that resulted from it. Consumers started to be found the majority of their time. Either for leisure or educational purposes.
In essence, communication on these different platforms became an integral part of marketing strategies. Namely in the pharmaceutical industry.
So, how can one target customers online? Customers, that are now more demanding than ever? The answer lies in the content you create and where you share it. Some pharmaceutical companies now invest in:
- Newsletters; and
Video is now a growing trend in the pharmaceutical marketing field. It’s expected to gain further relevance this year. 86% of businesses claim to be integrating it into their strategies this year (Wyzowl).
Particularly explainers are the main format adopted by organizations to target audiences. Especially in Pharma, these allow companies to share with their key consumers:
- Insight into a product’s contraindications and composition;
- Communicate your product’s features;
- Share a drug’s MoA (mechanism of action); and
- Share a brand’s values and mission…
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The results speak for themselves. Content creation online is more flexible than ever. As can be seen, the possibilities found in digital platforms and tools are endless. It takes innovation and in-depth consumer knowledge. In short, this established an effective marketing communication strategy that will make you stand out from the competition.
The dissemination of the Internet and the growing democratization of information has turned HCP into consumers. In fact, they value experiences built on trust and educational worth. This has forced the rooted B2B pharmaceutical industry to shift gears and start considering B2C as a new path. Or a complimentary journey to the developed marketing efforts.