The Increasingly Blurred Lines Between B2B and B2C Marketing Strategies

Apr 18, 2024

Guest blog by Abby Bunting, Director, Client Solutions

The boundaries between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing are beginning to blur, especially within digital channels. This trend, exacerbated by the pandemic, is a result of the growth in B2B e-commerce and the rising expectations of B2B buyers to operate and transact online. 

The Shift in Digital Advertising Spend

Digital channels are commanding a rapidly growing share of B2B advertising budgets. This year is the first year digital ad spend is projected to account for over 50% of total B2B ad spending, a stark increase from less than 30% in 2019. This surge underscores a fundamental shift in how businesses are reaching their audiences, driven by digital transformation and changing buyer behaviors.

Understanding the Convergence

The convergence of B2B and B2C marketing strategies in digital channels can be attributed to several factors:

  • Accelerated Growth of B2B E-commerce: E-commerce is not just a B2C phenomenon. In fact, B2B e-commerce is expanding at twice the rate of B2C and has recently overtaken in-person selling as the most effective sales channel. This rapid growth is a clear indicator that corporate decision-makers are increasingly turning to digital solutions for purchasing convenience. Surprisingly, 35% of these decision-makers are now comfortable making online purchases worth more than $500,000, signaling a significant trust in digital transactions.

  • Growth in martech: this has become a massive and congested industry and more and more investment continues to funnel into it.

  • The changing B2B buyer: 65% are under the age of 40; millennials are now the most dominant players in B2B buying committees, and they rely heavily on digital.

Embracing the Blend

The blending of B2B and B2C requires a nuanced approach that respects the unique aspects of each while leveraging common strengths. Consider these points:

  • Optimize for mobile: Nearly 50% of US B2B digital ad spend will go to mobile this year.

  • Lean into video: Over 90% of B2B buyers say video is crucial in purchase decisions. 

The convergence of B2B and B2C marketing strategies within digital channels presents an exciting opportunity to redefine how products and services are marketed online. Companies that recognize and adapt to the integrated dynamics of these fields stand to gain a significant competitive edge. As digital platforms continue to evolve, so too must our strategies for engaging with our diverse audiences. Embracing this blend not only enhances the customer journey but also propels businesses towards more innovative and impactful marketing outcomes.

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