By Judith Pottgen, Consulting Analyst, Chemicals, Materials & Food
Advertising is an indispensable communication tool for promoting and selling any product or service to a customer - this holds true for both the B2C (Business to Consumer) and the B2B (Business to Business) sectors. However, advertising strategies differ significantly between the two business models, given the differences in the target audience, purpose and level of financial investment.
This article aims to illustrate the motivation for B2B companies to advertise directly to end consumers, focusing specifically on the chemical industry. Chemical manufacturers are traditionally poorly known by end consumers, due to their upstream position in the value chain. Chemicals are often fundamental in the manufacture of an end product and can represent important ingredients that confer performance enhancements and/or functionality to a finished product. End consumers rarely realize how ubiquitous chemicals are in everyday items and are generally unaware of the manufacturers of such products.
This work incorporates key findings from a quantitative online survey1, as well as qualitative insights from industry experts. The questions were aiming to test the general public's knowledge of chemical companies, their product portfolio, and investigate the success of their advertising campaigns and the resulting public perception.
Why do the B2B and B2C sectors have such different approaches to advertising?
B2C advertising strategies are product-driven and involve shorter sales cycles than in the B2B sector. They rely on flashy images, repetition and merchandising in order to capture interest quickly. B2C transactions are mostly based on a single-step buying process, whereas B2B purchasing decisions involve a multi-step buying process and a smaller, more targeted audience. Both strategies focus on building a relationship with the customer and educating them about the company's product portfolio.