Epic Experiences for Everyone as B2B and B2C Marketing Converges

For too long, the indus­try has dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed between ‘Busi­ness to Busi­ness’ (B2B) and ‘Busi­ness to Con­sumer’ (B2C) mar­ket­ing. While I com­plete­ly agree that choos­ing and pur­chas­ing a new pair of train­ers is very dif­fer­ent from select­ing a ven­dor to deliv­er a six-fig­ure dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion project, at the end of the day, the per­son we are try­ing to reach is essen­tial­ly one and the same. And that per­son wants an epic end-to-end cus­tomer experience.

Ear­li­er this year, we sur­veyed 1,215 B2B mar­keters and B2C buy­ers from across a vari­ety of indus­tries in Europe to get a bet­ter under­stand­ing of what’s now dri­ving the B2B ‘con­sumer.’ What we found was that the tra­di­tion­al dis­tinc­tions between these two pre­vi­ous­ly dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed sub­sets of mar­ket­ing are con­verg­ing, with pur­chas­ing behav­iours usu­al­ly more preva­lent amongst con­sumers now being mir­rored by enter­prise buyers.

The find­ings in the Cre­at­ing Epic Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ences report from Mar­ke­to, an Adobe com­pa­ny, show that the top three pur­chas­ing dri­vers for busi­ness buy­ers now include brand trans­paren­cy (78%), brand-pur­pose (68%), and per­son­alised cus­tomer expe­ri­ences (49%).

Giv­en that 70% of the peo­ple we sur­veyed said that they are strug­gling to dif­fer­en­ti­ate their offer­ings in a crowd­ed mar­ket, B2B mar­keters must sim­ply change their approach to how they engage with their tar­get audi­ences. The approach must be based on indi­vid­ual require­ments and behav­iours, rather than rely­ing on the tra­di­tion­al tech­niques and meth­ods of B2B marketing.

Our report iden­ti­fied three key areas of con­ver­gence, and as such, oppor­tu­ni­ties for mar­keters in the B2E world:


Just as pri­va­cy, trans­paren­cy, and trust have become a pri­or­i­ty for con­sumers, they are also pri­or­i­ties for busi­ness buy­ers. This is not sur­pris­ing giv­en the huge changes in data reg­u­la­tion, com­pli­ance, and secu­ri­ty require­ments over the last few years. 85% said being treat­ed fair­ly was a pri­or­i­ty, fol­lowed close­ly by assur­ances of data pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty (83%), and final­ly, trans­paren­cy and hon­esty about how the com­pa­ny works (78%).


Brand pur­pose, and eth­i­cal, sus­tain­able val­ues haven’t only tak­en a strong­hold in the con­sumer world – they’re now a big pri­or­i­ty for buy­ing teams as well. Two-thirds of B2B buy­ers (68%) say that brand pur­pose is impor­tant dur­ing the buy­ing deci­sion process, two-thirds (67%) say they want to work with brands with strong envi­ron­men­tal cre­den­tials, and 64% are more like­ly to con­sid­er organ­i­sa­tions that demon­strate fair, eth­i­cal prac­tices through­out the entire sup­ply chain.

We also found that near­ly half of B2B mar­keters felt they had lost sales because their brand’s core val­ues and pur­pose weren’t clear. Fur­ther to that, a third of busi­ness buy­ers (30%) said they would walk away if a brand’s val­ues seem at odds with theirs. This undoubt­ed­ly rep­re­sents a big oppor­tu­ni­ty for improvement.

Customers for life

Major con­sumer brands are suc­cess­ful­ly using tech­nol­o­gy to deliv­er seam­less, per­son­alised expe­ri­ences across the ever-increas­ing num­ber of chan­nels, deliv­er­ing the right mes­sages at the right time to dri­ve cus­tomer acqui­si­tion and reten­tion. This is where per­son­al­i­sa­tion is cru­cial – near­ly half of B2B buy­ers (49%) state that tai­lored offers and com­mu­ni­ca­tions encour­age them to stick with a provider.

Per­son­al­i­sa­tion is an obvi­ous oppor­tu­ni­ty here. It’s about look­ing at a tar­get account holis­ti­cal­ly by deter­min­ing who the influ­encers and deci­sion-mak­ers are, what chan­nels they are using and what moti­vates them. Then, a com­pa­ny can take that infor­ma­tion and deliv­er con­sis­tent excel­lent expe­ri­ences through­out the entire life­cy­cle of that customer.

Fun­da­men­tal­ly, what dri­ves a pur­chase is no dif­fer­ent whether it’s con­sumer or enter­prise. The expe­ri­ence is what wins out in the end. What stands out for me in this report is the oppor­tu­ni­ty for B2B mar­keters to rip up the old B2B mar­ket­ing rule­book and get cre­ative and inno­v­a­tive around how they cre­ate and deliv­er epic cus­tomer experiences.

For more about how the B2B buy­ing and mar­ket­ing envi­ron­ment is chang­ing and how you can take advan­tage of a B2E approach, the Cre­at­ing Epic Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ences report is avail­able here.

About the Marketo Creating Epic Customer Experiences 2019 report

The Cre­at­ing Epic Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ences report is from Mar­ke­to, an Adobe com­pa­ny. 910 online inter­views with B2B buy­ers took place to under­stand what they want, need and expect from brands at dif­fer­ent stages of the buy­ing fun­nel. A fur­ther 305 online inter­views with mar­ket­ing deci­sion mak­ers took place to under­stand the chal­lenges they face in get­ting the right engage­ment at each stage of the sales funnel.


Sur­veyed 910 B2B buy­ers across the UK, Ger­many and France. Sur­vey respon­dents were drawn from a range of com­pa­ny sizes and job func­tions, includ­ing IT, Finance, HR and Oper­a­tions. 305 mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als with vary­ing lev­els of senior­i­ty from across the same three ter­ri­to­ries were inter­viewed. Respon­dents from both groups ranged from 18–65+ years of age.