Topic: Social Media

Combine Or Separate B2b And B2c ?

Posted by remco.p.1989 on 250 Points
Hi all, I've been asking myself this question for quite a while now. I hope to find the answer in this forum by the help of your expertise.

Our company processes natural stones (granite and marble), ceramics and composite. For privacy reasons we'll name the company "ABC". The overall name for the company is called ABC Group which is divided into 2 separate brands/companies: ABC 1 and ABC 2.

ABC 1 has got both B2B as B2C customers. ABC 1 mainly produces custom-made products like windowsills, fireplace-coverings, kitchen tops, wall coverings, sills etc. Main focus is B2B (architects, interior designers and -builders), but sometimes a consumer comes to us directly.
ABC 2 focuses on B2C customers for renovating stairs specifically.

Our e-mail signatures contain "ABC Group" logo and we also answer the phone with "ABC Group". Also our invoices are printed on "ABC Group" paper with the "ABC 1" and "ABC 2" logo's small in the down left corner.
We just recently rolled out this separation between ABC 1 and ABC 2. In this matter ABC 2 is a fairly new company.

What I am questioning myself is how we should arrange our Social Media Strategy. Should we go out as ABC Group in all communication or should we do separate communication for ABC 1 and ABC 2?
What seems more logical to me is separate ABC 1 and ABC 2, but I still have some doubts about this because it takes much more time to work these separate social media communication.

I'm hoping for some good and new insights into this matter. Might there be any questions for detailing some information, that'd be possible.
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  • Posted by dubois on Member
    Welcome to MarketingProfs! Questions: Is the company really committed to this dual brand strategy? Do you have the resources to build 2 brands? Does ABC 1 invest in marketing, or rely mostly on selling? Does ABC 1 push thru the ADB market, or pull thru the homeowners, or both? Given that, how much do the ABC 1 and ABC 2 markets overlap?
  • Posted by Mike Steffes on Accepted
    ABC 1 sells a host of products through representatives, with some exceptions for customers who contact the firm directly. ABC 2 sells one product type directly to consumers. The "exceptions" issue is the main problem here. It's bad practice, but in addition, it is misleading you into thinking there is more overlap between businesses than there is. I believe the customers should see 1 and 2 as separate businesses. This would align better with the way in which ABC Group executive leadership seems to view the company—they split it up. I'd take that as a cue.
  • Posted by telemoxie on Accepted
    As you analyze this, consider the perspective of your long-term resellers. Independent of what actually happens, how will they feel about this? Will they feel that you are being disloyal to them, trying to go direct to their customers?

    Back in the 80s, IBM and DEC both sold microcomputers. Both of them sold through their own sales forces, but also direct. But IBM had a policy to support their dealers. The policy at IBM was that they would not offer any discount to an end-user who was buying fewer than 20 computers. This way, they were not competing with their resellers.

    Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), on the other hand, would discount to their own customers, even on selling a single unit. And so, if a DEC customer were to wander into our store, and answers which was the better computer, we would always say IBM, because we had no shot whatsoever at getting the business from a DEC customer.

    A lot of people thought that IBM made a big mistake by being loyal to their dealers. Maybe IBM would not have lost so much market share to DEC and Dell. but there is value in things like loyalty. And IBM is still strong and well-respected today. Where the others?

    In a similar way, I had a client who sold printing services to advertising agencies, but also full-service brochure production (writing, graphics, printing) to one particular vertical market. And they used two names to do this, since they did not want to give the impression that they were competing with their advertising agency and design clients. Good luck.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    You actually have a third choice: 1) ABC Group (only), 2) ABC 1 and ABC 2, or 3) ABC 1 and ABC 2 and ABC Group. The latter allows you to do share the overall message universally and targeted messaging to your niches.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    A good rule of thumb: If the targeted audiences are different, and/or if the positioning benefits are different, you probably need to keep the marketing plans and elements separate.
  • Posted by Peter (henna gaijin) on Accepted
    Because they are different products, I would also lean toward using separate social media strategy. What may affect my decision is if you looked at overlap customers and saw that there was a high number of them, then maybe it would be worth it for cross selling benefit to stick with one strategy on both products.

    But, if the long term plan in rolling out the separate ABC2 company is to better differentiate the two, then having separate social media strategies for the two would better support that goal.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Accepted
    Another vote here for stand alone streams for each line: you have distinct buyers in specific niches. You'll do much to build exclusivity and authority by speaking to each community as its own entity.
  • Posted by dubois on Accepted
    My earlier questions aside, social media is not a business strategy, it's a marketing tactic. If both businesses are using pull marketing to homeowners then you could conceivably get away with a single social presence. If ABC 1 is using a push strategy through designers, the social platforms you choose will be different (Pinterest and Houzz versus LinkedIn and YouTube) and so you'll have separate social activities for each and your principal question might be 99% moot.
  • Posted by remco.p.1989 on Author
    Thanks for these answers. There are some nice and new insight in here. In answer to all questions:

    ABC 1 mainly focusses on a push-marketing strategy over kitchen resellers, architects, designers, interior designers etc. If you look at the marketing of ABC 1, it may look like pull-marketing as well. This because the consumer may see our products over Social Media, website, etc. But pull-marketing is not our intend. ABC one thereby relies more on selling, but does do invest in marketing via social media and a website.

    ABC 1 and ABC 2 markets do overlap because a consumer can be rebuilding their houses. They may want a stairs renovated at ABC 2 and at the same time, buys a new kitchen at one of the kitchen resellers which is being provided with a stone countertop of ABC 1.
    In this case a stairsrenovation is not something the kitchen reseller wants to sell. Might the consumer go to an interior architect or interior designer, than the interior designer or architect might be the reseller for stairs renovations.
    Although there is some overlap between ABC 1 and ABC 2, the competition of ABC 2 is selling stairs renovation directly to consumers as well.

    Another thought in this is the following.
    If ABC 1 and ABC 2 communicated to the markets as 1 company, it might not be clear for consumers that we also sell directly to them. It might seem to them as being to expensive.
    Also if ABC 2 sold over resellers, the product would be pushed into a higher segment of the market as it's becoming to expensive when the reseller puts his margins on top of our price.

    Considering the perspective of the resellers in this case:
    I don't think they will be feeling "left out" as the DEC resellers did. Do you?

    The third option Jay Hamilton-Roth gives, will be much more confusing I think because it'll be less clear which company delivers what products.

    And then for the resources the company's got. They are fairly limited, because I and the owner are the only people in the office being able to do sales and marketing.
    However, if we invest some time in it we might be able to grow and grow enough to hire new personnel.

    I hope to see such great responses again. Thanks guys!
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    If this were my company (or client) I'd be conducting SWOT analyses for ABC1 and ABC2. That would lead directly to consideration of how the businesses conflict or complement each other. My gut feeling, based on having done dozens of these, is still that you need to keep them separate.
  • Posted by kerenblau1 on Accepted
    Both are sales prospecting strategies ( ,it may be different but the product can be the same. It depends, both individuals and businesses can use the product/ service.

    The bottom line is that the difference between B2B and B2C marketing comes down to the buyers’ emotional perspective about the purchase. Consumers make buying decisions based on status, security, comfort and quality. Business buyers make buying decisions based on increasing profitability, reducing costs and enhancing productivity.

    If you are a B2B business offering products and services to other businesses, put your marketing dollars into marketing programs and materials that offer your target what they need to make a rational buying decision. Help them determine the value of the product and service you offer through quality materials, testimonials, and other activities that build credibility.

    If you are a B2C business, understand what motivates your buyer and the emotional aspect of the buying decision. Create compelling materials that build awareness for your brand, enhance their comfort in buying from you, and project quality service and best price.
  • Posted by Shelley Ryan on Moderator
    Hi Everyone,

    I am closing this question since there hasn't been much recent activity.

    Thanks for participating!


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