On Business

B2B vs B2C – are you talking your customers language?

customer wantsEvery tech startup I know is trying to design their website to look and feel like Apple. Okay, okay, not every startup, I’m exaggerating to make a point. But Apple’s super successful, right? Every product they make people are buying, why not do exactly what they are doing? Here’s the problem, not every startup is communicating to the same audience as Apple.

A couple weeks ago I met with an ex Xerox sales person. We were meeting to discuss my companies value proposition and marketing strategies. To most people this meeting might sound incredibly boring, to me it was the highlight of my week. And I want to share what I learned.

I’ve being doing it all wrong. I spent the last few years telling my customers how shiny our products are, how awesome the features are and why our product is the most exciting thing to happen to their industry in years. Which is great if our customers were consumers, but they aren’t they are businesses. I’ll give you a quick analogy. Let’s say I was selling TVs. If I were selling to consumers I would communicate to them in a way they understand. “If you get this TV, all your friends will want to watch the game at your house.” Or, “this TV has the most features of any TV with the highest resolution and best and brightest colours.” A consumer might not care about money at this point, they might even be willing to spend more to get the TV that fulfills their longtime dream of owning their very own amazing flatscreen, ear numbing, mind blowing, live action TV.

But selling to businesses is entirely different. Businesses don’t care about the brightness of the colours or whether other people think they are cool (unless they are a marketing agency). They care about the return on investment (ROI). Will buying this TV make me more money? Will it improve my productivity? Will it make our workflow more efficient? For every dollar a business spends they want to make sure they are getting a return on that dollar. So features need to be applicable.

Knowing what I do now, if I were selling a TV to a business with a small square footage, I might highlight the fact that the TV takes up less room than their existing TV or it can be wall mounted. So they can fit another desk and have another employee working in their existing space. That might matter to them.

That’s my nugget of the week. Let me know what you think. Are you finding that people are designing websites to communicate to their customer, or designing them to look and feel like the other guys?

By Jonathan Whiting

I enjoy sharing what I am learning and hopefully it's of interest and help to you. I live in Canada with my wife. Follow me on Twitter.

2 replies on “B2B vs B2C – are you talking your customers language?”

Hi Anele, I think that is a cool idea. I would love to see what you have written. I will send you an email.

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