In my first year of business, I’ve been given two great pieces of conflicting advice: focus on your core vs. expand your horizons. Having worked in B2B my entire career, focusing on B2B markets for new business certainly makes sense. It’s where my expertise matches the demands of the client.
But in today’s tight market, it also makes sense to take advantages of other opportunities that come by. For me, this includes looking at B2C clients and even doing work for non-profits. Plus it’s an opportunity to have some fun.
So how different is the world of B2C marketing? I came to an interesting analogy while I was driving my pick-up truck. I only drive the truck on weekends to haul a horse trailer. It has an automatic transmission verses the car I normally drive which has a manual transmission. So as I pulled up to a stop light and reached for the shifter and clutch that wasn’t there, I realized this was like the difference between B2B and B2C. The fundamentals of driving the two vehicles are similar, but with subtle differences.
The fundamentals of B2B and B2B are the same. It’s about understanding value propositions and establishing key differentiators all wrapped around the 4 P’s of marketing. According to Kotler and Keller’s Marketing Management, B2B marketing focuses on fewer larger buyers, professional purchasing agents, and has more of an inelastic demand. Given the current competitive nature of business and the free flow of information on the internet, I believe these differences are becoming minimized. And the B2B community is now embracing the social media craze that was once exclusive to B2C. I just had a Midwest automotive manufacturing manager ask me to join his Facebook page.
So for 2011, I’m going to go with the “expand your horizons” approach. It will be an interesting year.