Peter O’Neill here. We held our annual research planning meeting the other week and ended discussing yet again the eternal question of B2B marketing versus B2C. This is also a common discussion point with clients in my experience. Many of the documented marketing stories and best practices seem unsuitable for B2B marketers, they claim. B2C marketers respond that even business buyers are people and so the lessons they have learned apply equally to B2B. Now, as is always the case with these interminable arguments, both parties are partly right — and they are partly wrong.

My colleagues and I are planning a Forrester report that explores this dilemma in much more detail. Here is a table which I have often used to lead discussions and which I would like to include in the report. As this is “research in progress”, I have annotated the graph accordingly. In fact, I am looking for YOUR feedback on this please.

The most important difference between marketing/selling to an individual and to an entity is the natural science line: sociology versus psychology. B2B marketing is about understanding how a buyer center works as a whole. Good buyer journey research involves finding out which member has which influence at which phase — and what makes that member decide to continue on that journey. These are what we call decision triggers, and identifying them is the secret sauce for successful content marketing. It is also vital for effective sales enablement because you need to prepare your salespeople with this information as well. What makes the buyer decide to plan a project, obtain the budget for a project, assemble a vendor shortlist, select a vendor, and even stay with a supplier? If you know the answers to those questions, you will create compelling marketing content and prepare your salespeople for successful conversations across the complete buyer journey.

We will be talking to this topic in detail at the upcoming Sales Enablement Forum. Come along and join our discussion. Need more details? Drop me a line. As always, I’d love to hear from you on this and other topics.

Always keeping you informed! Peter