What I Learned in B2C E‑Commerce that Can Help B2B Clients Succeed

October 15, 2023

By Lorna Ladd

With her MBA from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles in hand, Lorna Ladd launched an online business in the pet care sector. A few years later she sold that company to a major industry player. Today, Lorna uses her entrepreneurial instincts, and marketing and analytical acumen to help clients grow their businesses through the use of CRM, data, insights and KPIs, with an eye to maximizing engagement, conversion and trust.

Key Ideas:

  • B2C and B2B are different, but human nature is invari­able.
  • People need to be intrigued, excited, inspired or enter­tained.
  • B2B companies can take cues from B2C.
  • Don’t get bogged down in technical details without inspiring your customers first.
  • Validating high-impact ideas requires extra stake­hold­er support.

B2B selling is different from B2C selling, to be sure, but human nature remains the same no matter what you do pro­fes­sion­al­ly. B2B can take some cues from B2C when inspiring and cap­ti­vat­ing buyers in a crowded mar­ket­place.

Increasingly blurred lines between private and pro­fes­sion­al lives

The main thing I learned in my decades in B2C e‑commerce is that people are people. Whether they’re buying dog food or making a major corporate purchase, people want to be intrigued, excited and quite often, enter­tained. So, when you’re creating marketing programs for your B2B customers it’s important to figure out how you can com­mu­ni­cate your message in a style that uses all the dimen­sions available to reach them as people – as human beings – whether that’s through a humorous (when appro­pri­ate) or thought provoking ad, by telling a dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing inno­va­tion story in a long-form article or white paper, or via an infor­ma­tive and engaging video campaign that rivals what they’re seeing on TikTok – or at least close to it.

An Image of a deck of playing cards with a modern young woman in the place of the Queen, with B2B and B2C written on the opposing corners of the card

Appeal to the heart and the brain

Too many times companies get in the way of them­selves by trying to walk the ‘corporate line’ to the point that their content and marketing can become boring and/or irrel­e­vant. Letting loose a bit and having fun when possible is a way to let your customers know that while what you have to com­mu­ni­cate is important, you under­stand that applying constant pressure isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly the answer. Speaking to each audience in a manner that piques their interest is key. You can always get into the nitty gritty of your inno­va­tion on your sales call. But keep in mind that the initial goal is to raise interest so that you get to those calls by creating content/assets/programs that people want to engage with and respond to. 

Powerful ideas require more internal support to prevail

Standing out means taking on more risk. In complex, tech­ni­cal­ly oriented B2B orga­ni­za­tions, it can be easier to fall back on “safe” ideas which are often clichéd and over-used (think light­bulbs, mountain climbers, hand­shakes and Swiss Army knives). Getting to a level of ideas that are dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing, sur­pris­ing and that take your B2B brand to a new place requires prepa­ra­tion, teamwork and effort to build up key stake­hold­er support. Not every B2B company is used to doing that. But in a world attuned to TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and other platforms, B2B success requires rein­forc­ing certain muscles to better compete in a world where B2B buyers and B2C consumers aren’t so different after all.

“People are people. They want to be intrigued, excited and quite often, enter­tained.”


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