In creating this glossary Visionary Marketing came up against a major problem: should we write BtoB or B2B? and B2C companies entitled to media exposure commensurate with their size? On the contrary, I observe that the media coverage of B2C is disproportionate, particularly in the field of high technologies. This is no doubt explained by the fact that the media, to please the reader, focus on easy-to-understand anecdotes, embellished with catchy and evocative titles for these audiences. To better understand the reason for this imbalance, Visionary Marketing asked Dave Sobel, host of the Business of Tech podcast and recognized player in IT services to companies, to shed some light on this subject. [NDLR Cet article a été rédigé par Mandy Philipps, étudiante américaine, dans le cadre de son stage chez Visionary Marketing durant l’été 2022]
B2B and B2C: Why B2B Matters and Deserves More Media Coverage
I am currently a university student, about to graduate, and the time has come to find a lucrative job in a promising sector. All students are faced with this situation and I must not be the only one to be a little tense.
It is indeed the culmination of all my years of study. And I see my older friends landing jobs at companies like Apple and Facebook. I definitely agree that saying you work for a tech giant is alluring and turns heads.
But this podcast on B2B IT services (and how it compares to B2C) prompted me to dig deeper and question my job search goals, largely influenced by what I’ve heard around me.
Why are we all obsessed with consumer marketing?
Throughout my business studies, I was taught to think only in reference to consumers.
What do they want? What do they need? This business model is commonly referred to as Business-to-Consumer (B2C) or Direct-to-Consumer, a model where a business focuses on selling products or services directly to end customers.
I had never thought of B2B services before, especially in the technology sector. the Business-to-Business (B2B) concerns companies that carry out a commercial transaction with another company, whether it is a service, a product or a collaboration.
You will find below key differences between the two models.
BtoB in the mind of the general public
I vaguely remember one of my teachers mentioning this word “B2B”, briefly, in the middle of a sentence in passing, and then continued with his lesson.
It didn’t help me assess the importance of B2B, and no one in this class probably thought of asking the question either.
Students learn how companies source materials for their production or how they outsource the manufacture of products… But this always seems to be mentioned as a simple prologue to the release of a product intended for a consumer.
My comrades and I are therefore encouraged to intervene at the climax of the product’s story and to market, sell and deliver to the consumer.
There is little talk about B2B services after the product is manufactured and there is no focus on current B2B opportunities.
Also, there are not many mainstream media talking about these topics.
I think that if I haven’t received a sufficiently in-depth teaching on B2B, it may also be because the media does not pay enough attention to it.
Indeed, the latter tend to focus on B2C and as this concentrates the attention of the greatest number, it is wrongly thought that it is the real engine of commerce, that it generates more income and therefore that it is therefore more important.
Dave Sobel: B2B requires a lot of attention and research
Dave Sobelshow host Business of Tech, a leading player in the provision of IT services, has made this disparity its business.
In this podcast produced by Visionary Marketing, Sobel explains, in essence, that this phenomenon is explained by the fact that B2B is “more difficult”.
Understanding niches within B2B is very complex. There is also the added challenge of making these professional topics “digestible” for the general public.
B2B is difficult at first and requires a lot of time, attention and work. It’s not necessarily the cup of tea for journalists trying to reach the masses and engage the end consumer.
The high-tech world in particular is drawn to universal subjects, whether latest fashionable gadgets or the place where the next Tesla factory will be located.
People love to read about start-ups and tech gizmos, but tend to ignore the service industry and especially those aimed at businesses.
The fact of focusing on general topics thus makes the publication of posts on niche topics, including those relating to B2B services, marginal.
B2B and B2C in the high technology sector
In order to better understand B2B services, Sobel suggests a test.
Ask any company which vendors support it in implementing software or hardware technologies.
You will thus realize that “these professions concern an incredible number of companies, small or large”, he tells us.
In these companies, the work involves strong leadership, tight project management, technical skills, sales and marketing.
In particular, “it is in the area of technical skills that recruitment needs are incredibly numerous” and the needs for new profiles are significant.
It can also be interesting to start in one of these small organizations and then quickly move up the ranks.
For every dollar sold, there is only $8 of services on average. But for a company like Microsoft, that’s $12 worth of services for every dollar sold!
Generally, B2B companies tend to be more successful than B2C companies.
Financial discourse aside, Dave Sobel points out that the B2B service industry offers many intellectual challenges.
For example, on the surface, integration projects around health data can seem terribly boring.
However, another way of looking at this theme is to see the challenge of making vital data available while preserving the confidentiality of private data that transits from one information system to another.
This is an example of resolving a complex issue in B2B services.
And such a solution helps the many actors in a professional process, “it has more value than a disposable photo editing application”.
Appearances can be deceiving.
For the same reason that we cannot all become professional football players, it is necessary to understand that real opportunities hide behind seemingly boring topics. It is when we decide to go deeper into them that these subjects become fascinating
B2B service jobs can be lucrative and interesting. There is beauty in complexity and a future to be grasped in understanding that complexity.
Once I graduate, I intend to pursue a career in B2B services and students reading this would do well to do the same.
Don’t miss Dave Sobel’s podcast, The Business of Tech, here or on most podcast hosting platforms.