10 Business-to-Consumer Marketing Strategies
We were curious about what business professionals thought about marketing. We took a look at recent survey results and reports that compiled data on the topic, and created a list of 10 B2C marketing strategies commonly recognized as successful regardless of industry. Here’s what we found, in no particular order:
Cause marketing is a cooperative effort between a for-profit business and a non-profit organization to mutually promote and benefit from social and other charitable causes. Cause marketing is not to be confused with corporate giving, which is tied to specific tax-deductible donations made by an organization. Cause marketing relationships are “feel goods,” and assure your customers you share their desire to make the world a better place.
Fast Fact: 64% of consumers want corporations to integrate social impact directly into their business models.
Direct selling accomplishes exactly what the name suggests – marketing and selling products directly to consumers. In this model, sales agents build face-to-face relationships with individuals by demonstrating and selling products away from retail settings, usually in an individual’s home. The top three direct sellers in 2015 are Amway, Avon and Herbalife.
Fast Fact: The top 3 direct-sell companies averaged $9 billion in sales in 2015.
Cobranding and Affinity Marketing
Co-branding is a marketing methodology in which at least two brands join together to promote and sell a single product or service. The brands lend their collective credibility to increase the perception of the product or service’s value, so consumers are willing to pay more at retail. Secondarily, co-branding may dissuade private label manufacturers from copying the product or service.
Fast Fact: In 2014, 6% of all product launches relied on co-branding.
Earned media (or “free media”) is publicity that is created through efforts other than paid advertising. It can take a variety of forms – a social media testimonial, word of mouth, a television or radio mention, a newspaper article or editorial – but one thing is constant: earned media is unsolicited and can only be gained organically. It cannot be bought or owned like traditional advertising.
Fast Fact: Nearly 75% of consumers identify earned media as a key influencer in purchase decisions.
Point-of-Purchase Marketing (POP)
Point-of-Purchase marketing (or, POP marketing) sells to a captive audience – those shoppers already in-store and ready to purchase. Product displays, on-package coupons, shelf talkers that tout product benefits and other attention-getting “sizzle” often sways buying decisions at the shelf by making an offer simply too good – and too visible – to pass up.
Fast Fact: 64% of consumers making unplanned purchases switch brands when a deal is offered in-store.
Internet marketing, or online marketing, combines web and email to advertise and drive e-commerce sales. Social media platforms may also be included to leverage brand presence and promote products and services. In total, these efforts are typically used in conjunction with traditional advertising formats like radio, television and print.
Fast Fact: 97% of consumers search for businesses online.
Paid Media Advertising
Paid media is a tool that companies use to grow their website traffic through paid advertising. One of the most popular methods is pay-per-click (PPC) links. Essentially, a company buys or “sponsors” a link that appears as an ad in search engine results when keywords related to their product or service are searched (this process is commonly known as search engine marketing, or SEM). Every time the ad is clicked, the company pays the search engine (or other third party host site) a small fee for the visitor – a literal “pay per click.”
Fast Fact: 76% of businesses use promoted posts and search engine marketing.
Word of Mouth Advertising
Word of mouth advertising is unpaid, organic and oh-so-powerful because those having nice things to say about your product or service generally have nothing to gain from it other than sharing good news. A recommendation from a friend, colleague or family member has built-in credibility, and can spur dozens of leads who anticipate positive experiences with your brand. It’s important to note that word of mouth isn’t strictly verbal. Leveraging online reviews and opinions are equally effective at spreading the word.
Fast Fact: Word of mouth referrals drive $6 trillion in annual consumer spending.
Social Networks and Viral Marketing
Social media marketing focuses on providing users with content they find valuable and want to share across their social networks, resulting in increased visibility and traffic. Social media shares of content, videos and images also influence Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts in that they often increase relevancy in search results within social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and search engines like Google and Yahoo.
Fast Fact: 54% of B2C companies report revenue generated from social media leads.
Brand storytelling uses a familiar communication format to engage consumers at an emotional level. Rather than just spew facts and figures, storytelling allows you to weave a memorable tale of who your company is, what you do, how you solve problems, want you value and how you engage and contribute to your community and the public in general.
Fast Fact: Brands that inspire a higher emotional intensity influence consumer purchase intent 3 times more often than less emotionally connected brands.
Every Strategy Requires an Effective Marketing Plan
Regardless of the strategy you choose, marketing effectiveness is most dependent on how you execute. Check out our complete guide to building an annual marketing plan—for businesses of any size—to get started.