Why B2P Marketing Has Replaced B2B

Consumers Expect Convenience

Tech companies have changed the way consumers think about purchasing a product. Instead of walking into a brick-and-mortar store to purchase an item, why not just order it through Amazon? Similarly, why not order your favorite meals from the comfort of your own home using an app like DoorDash? The same goes for ridesharing apps like Uber and many other convenience-focused platforms—they all work to make the consumer’s life easier.

These platforms provide an unprecedented level of convenience and prioritize building an intuitive and user-friendly experience in their apps, which consumers have come to expect from brands. The question is, do today’s B2B buyers expect the same level of convenience as their B2C counterparts?

Keep in mind that millennials are the largest generation in the workforce today. Tech-savvy millennial B2B buyers have probably used the brands we discussed above—they know how simple and easy a transaction can be. Unsurprisingly, they’re starting to expect this same experience from their B2B purchases, which has accelerated the shift toward business to person (B2P) marketing.

The Impact of COVID-19

When shelter-in-place mandates went into effect across the country, the conveniences of the platforms we discussed earlier shifted from something nice to have into a necessity for many people. 

For those at greater risk of complications due to COVID-19, grocery delivery services became a necessary safety precaution. As restaurants closed in many places, ordering takeout became the only way to enjoy a restaurant-style meal. Other shuttered businesses had to pivot to offer curbside pickup as well. All of these shifts have one thing in common—they made purchases easier for consumers.

These effects aren’t going away anytime soon, even after we emerge from the pandemic. Not only have consumers gotten used to these conveniences, but they’ve also experienced a once-in-a-century global crisis that has altered their circumstances personally and financially. We can expect these effects to stick around for a long time.

Research from Accenture claims that new or low-frequency e-commerce shoppers are expected to increase their e-commerce use by 160% in the future. They’ve also increased their use of omnichannel services like curbside pickup, and 35% intend to increase the amount of time they spend working from home after the pandemic.

These statistics demonstrate that the changes consumers have made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are here to stay, and they will undoubtedly influence the way buyers approach the purchasing process in the future—even in the B2B world. The need to shift to B2P marketing has never been greater.

The Shift to B2P Marketing

As you can see, the distinctions marketers make between B2B and B2C marketing are rapidly becoming irrelevant. B2B buyers are people, too—their business decisions involve both rational and subjective considerations, just like everyone else. In a world of increasingly user-friendly and convenience-focused apps, they’re used to a level of accessibility and individualization that traditional B2B tactics don’t provide.

The merging of B2C and B2B marketing practices has led to a paradigm shift toward B2P marketing. B2B buyers increasingly expect the same level of customer experience that they receive in their personal lives. Therefore, to effectively market to buyers who are used to being the center of B2C’s fun and individualized marketing campaigns, you have to start thinking of buyers as people, first and foremost. 

B2P marketing focuses on the people behind the buying decisions. What are their purchasing preferences? What do they value? What motivates them? How can your company help them achieve their goals? By incorporating questions like these into marketing strategies, B2P marketing takes traditional B2B practices to a deeper, more personalized, and more effective level. 
The B2P paradigm is the basis for any successful marketing campaign in today’s world.

The Role of Content in the Buyer’s Journey

Buyers Aren’t Just Buying Your Product

When buyers purchase solutions for their companies’ problems, they know that they’re not just buying a product — they are also buying the company offering the product. If they don’t feel comfortable with the company, they’re not going to buy the product — it’s as simple as that.

In the past, salespeople could effectively build their company’s reputation with clients through conversations over the phone or at in-person events, like trade shows and conferences. But this is becoming more difficult—buyers are speaking with company representatives much later in the process. On average, today’s B2B buyers are over 70% of the way through the decision-making process before engaging with a sales representative.

This means that the majority of buyers’ perceptions of your company rests on what they can find online. As buyers scroll through the content you’ve posted, they get a sense of your company’s values and what you can provide for them. This is a key step in the buying process, and it is up to you to design the content experience that will draw buyers in and demonstrate your company’s value. 

The Role of Content in the Buyer’s Journey

Successful B2B marketers know they must design their content experience with the buyer’s journey in mind. However, as the following infographic from Gartner demonstrates, the buyer’s journey is not a straight line 


As you can see, buyers take many twists and turns before arriving at their final decision. This makes intuitive sense — buyers want to make sure that they’ve thoroughly considered every option before committing to one product. 

As a marketer, your job is to simplify this journey. You want to make it as straightforward as possible for your prospects to find your company, read your content, and meet with your salespeople. This involves creating the buyer’s content experience with sales in mind

Strategies for Architecting the Buyer’s Content Experience

As you design your buyer’s content experience, keep in mind that buyers need to be convinced to purchase on both a logical and an intuitive level. Not only do buyers need to hear the rational reasons to purchase your product, but they also need to believe in your company on a deeper level.

This is a lot for your content to accomplish, and it requires a well-thought-out content experience. You should start by aligning your objectives with your buyers’ objectives throughout their journey. After all, you both want the same thing — the right solution to the buyer’s problem.

To start, 71.7% of buyers begin their journey by searching online for solutions. During this phase, you should make it as easy as possible for buyers to access your Demand Generation content, which is content that increases brand awareness and drives buyers to your website. Make sure there are as few barriers to your Demand Gen content as possible so buyers can use that information in the exploratory phases of their journey. 

As buyers begin to narrow down their options, they want more highly specialized content that is relevant to their needs. At this stage, you should provide buyers with Lead Generation content, a type of content that is valuable enough for a prospective client to fill out a contact information form to access it. This high-quality content will establish your company as a thought leader in the industry, and strengthen your reputation with potential buyers.

The Creative Content River™

Now that you’ve architected your buyer’s content experience, it’s time to actually produce the content you need to reach buyers. Instead of doing it all in-house, you can easily fast-track your company’s growth by outsourcing content production through SOMAmetrics’ Creative Content River™.

Generating compelling content in-house is an expensive, fixed-cost endeavor that drains your resources each year. But the Creative Content River™ provides you with all the content you need, for less than half of what it would cost to do in-house. A flexible, scalable subscription to the Creative Content River™ gives you the freedom to focus on the big picture, while still receiving the high-quality content you need to reach today’s buyers through your Demand Gen and Lead Gen campaigns.

For more information about what the Creative Content River™ can do for your marketing efforts, download this white paper

The Importance of Behavioral Science in B2B Marketing

There is a common misconception in B2B marketing that businesses are rational entities—meaning that they respond to rational marketing messages—as opposed to consumers who respond to emotional messages. In thinking this way, marketing teams forget about the humans behind the businesses. 

The B2B Institute calls this the “objectivity trap”—people generally assume that buyers are simply rational, profit-seeking entities that don’t suffer from the same decision-making biases as consumers.

A new phrase seems to be catching on, “there is no such thing as B2B or B2C, only H2H” (human-to-human). This phrase is a reminder that regardless of the target audience (companies or consumers), we’re always working with and selling to human beings.

B2B sellers can greatly benefit from applying behavioral sciences to their marketing. Behavioral science takes into consideration the various decision-making defaults that people rely on that push them to take a desired action. It’s the science behind what makes a prospect open an email, click on a call-to-action, or make a purchase. 

Sellers that have fallen into the B2B “objectivity trap” are missing valuable opportunities to put behavioral thinking to work. 

One large area of focus in behavioral science is cognitive biases, which are systematic patterns of deviation from rational judgement. By identifying the main biases that may affect their prospects, sellers can frame and present their products in a way that better deals with those biases.

For example, sellers that are marketing new, innovative products will need to address the status quo bias. People can be generally averse to change and may prefer to stick to the systems they know well. The status quo bias may make it extremely difficult for sellers to market their cutting-edge products if they don’t take it into account when marketing.

To counteract the status quo bias, sellers can address common concerns they think their prospects will have. For example, maybe prospects are concerned about how their roles will be affected by this new system, rather than considering the vast benefits of this new solution. Taking these concerns into account will help sales teams craft an appropriate strategy.

Another important bias that behavioral sciences has noted is the false consensus effect. This effect indicates that people tend to overestimate the extent to which other people are similar to them, leading sales teams to project their own lifestyle and beliefs on audiences. As a result, sales teams tend to focus on channels and tactics that may not align with their target audience. One way to counteract this effect is to base marketing decisions on data, and to test value propositions and messaging before going live.

By taking the false consensus effect into consideration, sales teams can also use it to their advantage. Sales teams can make prospects feel that others in their industry are making smart decisions and encourage their prospects to make similar decisions in order to keep up. 

Clearly, cognitive biases can have a huge impact on the efficacy of marketing efforts. Behavioral sciences have identified nearly 200 cognitive biases that can affect how people make decisions, and these biases have significant implications for the way sellers design and run their marketing campaigns. 

When sellers fall into the “objectivity trap” and prefer the convenient idea that business are merely rational agents, they are leaving vast amount of economic value on the table by undervaluing the importance of behavioral sciences. Behind businesses are humans, and by understanding the biases that shape peoples’ decisions, marketing leaders can build effective campaigns that will drastically impact their contribution to their company’s sales growth.