B2B and B2C can go hand in hand if developed correctly

It has always been viewed in business that you are either a B2B company or you focus more on B2C. It looks like companies now however are beginning to see a potential link and growth when combining the two together. Both lucrative channels to explore separately, the big bad boys of business have already begun to put the pieces together to create a mass growth and profit when focusing on the two together.

The thought has been that you concentrate on one, either consumers or businesses, and not merge the two over. When looking at it though, it makes total perfect sense and we’re shocked that nobody, until more recently has tried to do this and has been successful in doing so. Why then we ask, has it fallen through the net for this long, when business to business is just as important, if not more so, than pumping out information to consumers whose loyalty may no longer lay with you?

Virgin Media is a great example to use when looking at this latest combination. The fundraising sector of the business, JustGiving is branching out into the B2B sector, as well as still focusing on B2C. Through research they found that when people were creating a donation page, there was a sufficient and evident rise in sign-ups with corporate email addresses than personal, exposing a huge gap in the market for following this lead. Research also showed that the people were extremely positive when asked f they would like to tell colleagues about their fundraising efforts, with JustGiving responding to this and setting up a link from the donation page to the company’s website. This shows that they aren’t just thinking about the consumer, but have given thought to both sides. JustGiving is also pushing resources into the B2B side to encourage businesses to set up a corporate page so all donations and fundraising can be kept together in one place. They also provide data to business brands and as such have invested in hiring data ‘scientists’ to help grow the business side of things and ensure that the consumer’s feedback is being pushed through the right channel of business.

M&S are also taking a leaf out of the newly written business book and expanding into the B2B field. Whilst they are expanding across Europe currently, they have branched out into the business sector and are already working with companies on a vast scale. The creation of this side, they have duly named M&S for Business. It is an in-house business scheme that is offered to clients wishing to create incentives and rewards for their employees / customers. The introduction of vouchers, offers and incentives is something that most of us have heard of but rarely see. Sky is a good example – offering £50 M&S vouchers when you successfully recommend a friend to signing up. M&S want to maximise on the B2B side of things and are in regular contact with clients, ensuring that they know about the latest in-store offers, preview items and anything else that’s of interest to them. Offers and incentives are also easily adapted for the good of the client, e.g. a discount on shirts may be offered if the customer requires corporate clothing, as well as other such incentives to shop with them.

It’s not just about the money, although, of course, this is what drives most businesses. The recognition of the brand as a whole when combining the two practices has amounted to a more positive and general identifiable outcome. Developing a hand-in-hand approach to the two sectors of business is an idea that needs a lot of resource to begin with, but may be just where things are heading for the future.