I polled a group of 100 young entrepreneurs about what type of customer they were going to sell to. It was good to see an honest few saying that they didn’t know -but was very concerning to see how many felt they could sell to both businesses (B2B) & end-consumers (B2C).

Sure, it’s not impossible that you can sell to both, but usually the two customers are very different beasts, with very different needs. If you’re customizing your marketing to your customer (Hint: You should be!),  you’re going to need distinct materials for both types of customer. There’s isn’t likely to be much overlap either!

B2B Survey Results

The amazon example

A great example is amazon, the 800 pound gorilla of online retail, amazon has a substantially different approach to consumers & businesses. To illustrate the difference, I looked at a few basic elements on the respective amazon home pages. Specifically the imagery, copy (text), and the focus (what they want the visitor to do) – these are the same key elements that would apply to any type of marketing collateral (brochures, flyers, adverts, etc.).

Amazon Business Website
Amazon Consumer Website
B2B (Amazon Business)B2C (Amazon for consumers)
ImagesNo rotating banners. Non-specific product imagery. Top image & text box focused on registration. Embedded video focuses on value prop and business registration Rotating banner, with product advert images. Images are unambiguously focused on sales of the product to a consumer.
Copy (text)Text entirely focused on value proposition, learning more about amazon business benefits and driving registration. Minimal text. Title text is focused on price deals, product offerings and seasonal offerings.
Focus/IntentRegistration. This is the sole objective.Displaying a product/deal of interest to drive an immediate click-through or sale.

The amazon business website is almost the complete inverse of the consumer website. Everything from the photography, layout, and language to the content itself is completely different. It’s business centric, and is entirely focused on addressing the specific needs of a their business customers. It assumes that a business will need more information than a customer to make a purchase, and focuses on providing that -rather than catering to the more emotionally driven purchase of a typical consumer.

Still not convinced? To decide if your audience really can be marketed to in the same way, try asking the 6 basic journalistic questions (who, what, where, why, when, how) to both sets of your prospective customers. If the answers are the same, you might one of the very lucky few that can sell to both audiences without any change – I would be very surprised if this was the case though.

Even if you can use the same materials, and build out completely universal content. Consider carefully if you have the resources to chase both audiences. It’s much easier to focus your attention on one type of client – or perhaps one at a time, like amazon, consumers first then businesses(?)