As a business owner, you might be led to believe that the target audience for your marketing campaigns are the people who buy from you directly.
While that may be true if there’s no 3rd party anywhere in your supply chain, this is almost never the case*. In today’s marketing environment, companies can’t simply be thought of as simply B2B or B2C.
There are a number of complicated possibilities such as B2B2C (business to business to consumer), and all of them have their own unique approaches to marketing.
As an example of how this might play out in the real world, let’s say that a skincare brand sells natural, artisanal products to different retailers. These retailers will then sell that brand’s products to customers who walk into their stores.
Although the suppliers for these products are selling to retailers, their marketing efforts will have to cater to both their distributors AND the consumers who will use their products. To that end, the supplier will have to make sure that their products look and feel great not only on peoples’ skin, but also on store shelves wherever they’re sold.
When multiple purchases are required for a product to finally get into a consumer’s hands, how can companies shift their marketing efforts to address everyone involved?
How to develop a cohesive marketing strategy:
In order for companies to successfully promote their products down their supply chain, there are two factors that are critically important: relationships and branding.
With multiple sellers required to reach the end consumer, all companies involved need to be on the same page when it comes to the messaging used in their advertising. Careful collaboration is what makes the difference between a roaring success, or having a product released with little fanfare.
One of the advantages to this approach, however, is how it allows brands to target individual consumers through their business customers, which helps reduce expenses in supply chain management.
Here’s how it works:
In the previously mentioned example of a skincare brand, the supplier would ideally pitch their products to boutique stores that specialize in selling natural soaps, moisturizers, and so on. In their social media posts and ad campaigns, the suppliers will have to sell the benefits of consuming their product, while also recommending the retailers who carry it in their stores.
Retailers and distributors need to know that they can sell a reasonable amount of a product that they purchase from a supplier (and still make a profit doing so), otherwise they’ll choose a competitor brand.
This is why it’s critically important for brands to develop their core values and mission statement. That way, they’ll know which companies they can partner with, and which companies won’t align with their vision.
As long as both the supplier and retailers/distributors are trying to reach the same type of consumers (in this case, people who want to maintain healthy skin without harmful chemicals), promoting these products should feel right at home.
While this example might involve multiple parties, today’s supply chains are oftentimes even more complicated.
Once you factor in companies that handle the ingredients, packaging, and manufacturing for a product, it can be quite challenging to get everyone on board to establish a cohesive marketing message.
It’s important to note that not every brand will want to go use a strategy that involves using a middleman – 61% of manufacturers and wholesalers today now sell directly to individual consumers.
The key to remember is that even if you’re selling to a “company”, eventually it comes down to an individual who decides to make a purchase. No matter where your business is positioned on the supply chain, it’s essential to consider how a product will benefit everyone involved in the process.
After you’ve established your brand’s vision and core values, you’ll know which businesses will resonate with your message. Through your combined marketing efforts, you’ll be able to reach more sales not just for your own business, but for your partners as well!
Author: Ania McNamara, Chief Marketing Officer Window Fashion VISION magazine & IWCE Expo