As one of the premier small ad agencies in San Francisco, we're asked often about our B2B experience. We've executed a lot of B2B campaigns for a variety of different clients. But those campaigns have been successful not because we have B2B experience, but because we have B2C experience. And, because we think both those terms are passe' and need to be retired.
There's been a lot written about the consumerization of B2B. But John Becher from SAP summed it up best when he was encouraging his team to get to know their business customers as individuals and he reminded them that, “Big glass buildings do not buy products. People do.”
And there is no distinction between a person “at work” and a person “at home.” They’re always “at both.” We can’t manage to put our phones down at the dinner table, or stay off Instagram at the conference table. And where we happen to be located when we see a message does not change the way we make purchase decisions. It just doesn't.
The purchase process is the same no matter how long the purchase funnel is.
People need awareness. People want brand value. People read information and content about a category and products. People consult friends and colleagues. And ultimately, people make emotional decisions based on rational input because that’s the way people are.
Humans make emotional decisions no matter their physical location. They’re insecure and need to feel like they made the right decision whether their boss is judging them or their spouse is judging them.
SAP, IBM, GE and HP have done some of the world’s best advertising. Is it business to business?
Apple, Nike, AT&T and VW have done some of the world’s best advertising. Is it consumer advertising?
Marty Homlish, EVP and chief customer experience officer at HP sums it all up this way: In today’s networked world, terms like B2B and B2C are no longer relevant—it is all about B2C. Whether you are a CEO or a CPA, you can be a consumer anywhere and at anytime. You can window shop, read and write reviews, bargain hunt, or bespoke until you drop. And when you go back to being a CEO or CPA, you want the same always-on, simple experience in your “B2B” world since there is no longer a distinction between what hat you are wearing.”