B2B Vs. B2C Marketing for Building Materials Companies

A man with building material samples talking to two professionals on a building site

If you sell to industry professionals and end consumers, you must understand the differences between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies. These two groups follow different paths to purchase, and you must adjust the messaging in your campaigns to meet their needs and move each group toward a sale.

By understanding how these groups make purchase decisions, you should have no problems crafting and customizing campaigns that target the B2B and B2C markets separately but effectively.

Read on to discover the differences between B2B and B2C customers and how to best target these segments. 

What is B2C vs. B2B Marketing?

B2B marketing vs. B2C marketing relates to how you market your brand and products to two different groups.

The B2B market comprises professionals in the building industry who are purchasing materials for use in projects. These consumers include developers, architects, designers, and contractors.

The B2C market is made up of end consumers who are looking for materials to use in their own projects. These individuals include homeowners, who will purchase materials and hire a third party for installation, and those doing DIY projects for their business or place of residence.

Building Materials B2B Marketing vs. B2C Marketing

The B2B market and B2C market are two different audiences within the building materials industry. They have different needs and processes for making purchase decisions. To best market to each of these groups, you need to understand why they are looking to buy building materials and how they make a purchase decision.

Differences in the Overall Customer Journey

Both markets focus on aesthetics. Well-designed materials attract both groups to your brand and significantly play into their final decision. However, other factors that lead to a purchase decision vary. In general, industry professionals put a lot of weight on technical specifications, while the B2C market is concerned with cost and availability.

B2B Customer Journey 

Building industry professionals will first look at the aesthetic design of different building materials and how the products will fit into the overall design of the project. The next step is to conduct in-depth research on the materials they are considering.

Some things they will want to find out include if the materials fit into the project’s budget and if they meet technical specifications. These specifications can include durability and LEED qualifications.

The best choices, along with the pros and cons of each, will be shown to the team or the client for a final decision to be made.

Three architects looking at building material samples and building plans

B2C Customer Journey

Those in the B2C market also focus on aesthetics but are less interested in technical specifications. These consumers want to know if products fit their budget and are available near them. Their research is more likely to involve design inspiration and looking at reviews and other customer feedback.

Generally, consumers will choose the product they like best in terms of look instead of weighing up the pros and cons in the way industry professionals do. If the consumer plans to complete the project themselves, they will also consider ease of installation when making a purchase decision.

Differences in Research Needs and Methods

A primary difference between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies is how you reach each market in the research phase.

B2B Product Research

The B2B market conducts research by looking at building industry databases and directories, catalogs, and publications. Trade shows may also play a role in their research. They will also use search engines, especially to find out more about prospective suppliers.

In addition, building industry professionals look for much more information than those in the B2C market. The professional conducting the research will have to present building material choices and reasons for those choices to clients and co-workers, hence the need for such in-depth research.

B2C Product Research

The consumer market looks for a lot of information online but needs less in-depth information than professionals to make a purchase decision. Consumers also use different research platforms than industry professionals, favoring social media and search engines.

These consumers look online for project inspiration, especially on Pinterest and YouTube, and via interior design publications and the like. If they are doing DIY projects, they will also want to know how easy installation is and will search for guides or videos showing how to install the materials. This market will want to find where they can purchase the materials too.

Differences in Time to Make a Purchase Decision

B2B Purchase Decision Timeline

Before an industry professional can make a purchase decision, their choice of building material needs to go through many channels for approval. The lead time between starting research and buying materials is quite long. It may take six months to a year or even more from when research began to get to a final decision.

A builder looking at a sheet of samples

B2C Purchase Decision Timeline

Those in the B2C market generally commit to a purchase more quickly than industry professionals. They have an immediate design need, and once they find a product that meets all of their requirements, they will purchase it.

Differences in Customer Retention

A primary difference between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies relates to customer retention strategies. You are much more likely to gain repeat sales from B2B customers than from those in the B2C market.

B2B Customer Retention

Industry professionals will likely be working on many projects over a year, many of which you could get specified for. Consumers, on the other hand, are more likely to seek building materials for one project and then not need them again for a significant time. Individual sales to industry professionals will be larger too.

Therefore, you will want to focus a lot of effort on customer retention strategies for your B2B market. You want to offer amazing service and products and keep your brand top of mind, so they consider you as soon as they have a new project.

B2C Customer Retention

While you still want to offer high-quality service and products to the B2C market and should put in some retention efforts, the potential ROI from these efforts is lower. Therefore, retention marketing efforts can be more minimal too. Implementing marketing efforts to get feedback and referrals from consumers is a good lead generation strategy though.

Similarities between B2B vs. B2C Marketing for Building Materials Companies

While there are many differences between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies, there are also some similarities when marketing to these groups, which are discussed below.

An Aesthetics First Approach

Aesthetics need to be a primary part of marketing campaigns aimed at B2B and B2C audiences. In all marketing promotions, use high-quality imagery that highlights the look and style of your building materials. High-quality videos showing your products in designs can showcase brand and material aesthetics even more.

Your well-designed, top-quality building materials should be the star of all marketing efforts.

A Strong Online Presence

Both industry professionals and general consumers go online during the research phase. Therefore, you need a strong online presence complete with a user-friendly website, engaging social media content, and a well-implemented search engine optimization strategy.

Many in the B2C market are also looking to purchase online, so implementing e-commerce could bring great returns. Making it easy for professionals to put in purchase requests online is important too.

A builder looking at a laptop and writing on a clipboard

Brand Recognition

You want to build and cultivate a respected brand that is well-known in both markets. Creating high-quality building materials, offering outstanding customer service, and getting referrals and positive reviews are great ways to initiate a strong brand identity.

Easy Access to Customer Service

Both audiences will have questions about your building materials. To make a sale more likely, ensure B2B and B2C prospects have easy access to customer service and answers to their queries.

Ways to do this include:

  • Having an in-depth FAQs page on your website.
  • Installing live chat on your website.
  • Actively looking at and responding to messages on social media.
  • Having an in-depth resources page on your website with detailed product information and articles that provide detailed answers to common questions.
  • Making contact information easy to find on your website, social media pages, and via directories.
  • Ensuring it is easy to get a quote or request additional information on your products, such as requesting a digital or print catalog or materials specifications sheet.
A supplier/store locator feature showing where to buy your products is also important, especially for the B2C market.

B2B Marketing Tips for Building Materials Companies

Having discussed the primary differences between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies, keep the following tips in mind when crafting your B2B marketing plan.

List Your Business in Directories

Don’t underestimate the power of directories. Ensure that your company is listed in all directories that are frequently used by professionals.

Make Use of Industry Contacts

Networking is also a big part of marketing your building materials to. professionals in the industry. You can build a network on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Also, attend as many industry events and trade shows as possible to meet prospects and expand your industry contacts.

The more you grow your network, the more professionals you can contact for sales or referrals.

A difference between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies is networking with industry contacts in the B2B market

Build Relationships with Complementary Businesses

There are many companies that complement your product but aren’t competitors. When networking, try to build relationships with those operating in complementary industries that could give you referrals to professionals looking to purchase building materials.

Provide In-Depth Informational Resources

As discussed earlier, industry professionals look for a lot of technical information when deciding whether to specify a building material or not. To make this research phase easy for them, provide an array of easy-to-access technical info. These resources should cover everything a contractor, architect, designer, or any other industry professional would want to know.

By making research effortless and offering all the information needed, it is much more likely that your building materials will be considered and chosen for the project.

B2C Marketing Tips for Building Materials Companies

When creating a marketing plan to target the B2C market, keep the following advice in mind.

Make Discovery Easy

As mentioned, consumers will go online or to social media platforms for inspiration and information when in the market for building materials. Therefore, you need to make discovery of your brand on these platforms very easy.

In terms of search, having a strong SEO strategy is a must. This strategy should focus a lot on targeting keywords that those in the B2C market search when looking for building materials like yours.

When it comes to discovery via social media, start by creating content that appeals to this audience. Then, make use of hashtags to target the audience organically. You should also encourage current customers to tag and mention you, and working with influencers could be of benefit.

Paid social and search ads directly targeted at the B2C market could be beneficial as well. 

Two people with color samples looking at a laptop

Implement Local SEO

When discussing SEO and targeting the B2C market, local SEO is important to consider. These consumers will be searching for building materials suppliers near them. You, therefore, want to make it clear via local SEO efforts that you sell in their area, whether directly or via a distributor like a home improvement store.

List Your Business in B2C Directories

Another difference between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies relates to which type of directories you use. The B2C market will probably not look to industry-specific and professional directories. Instead, they will look to common directories like Yelp and Google My Business. So, ensure your business is listed in these types of consumer-facing directories.

These directories also allow for feedback from customers. This information is important to potential customers during the research phase.

Collect and Present Customer Feedback

As just mentioned, prospects in the B2C market look to feedback from other customers when deciding which building materials to buy. Activating directories with feedback capabilities and asking for feedback on social media can help generate positive reviews. These reviews make prospects more confident in choosing you for their building material needs.

You can even add a reviews section to your website to highlight customer satisfaction.

In Conclusion

This article should have given you a better understanding of the differences between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies. When creating a marketing plan, you must customize campaigns to appeal to each market.

While there are some similarities between the B2B and B2C markets in the building materials sector, there are also many notable differences. By keeping these differences in mind, you can effectively create messages and campaigns that appeal to professionals and end consumers like homeowners.

B2B Vs. B2C Marketing for Building Materials Companies

If you sell to industry professionals and end consumers, you must understand the differences between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies. These two groups follow different paths to purchase, and you must adjust the messaging in your campaigns to meet their needs and move each group toward a sale.

By understanding how these groups make purchase decisions, you should have no problems crafting and customizing campaigns that target the B2B and B2C markets separately but effectively.

Read on to discover the differences between B2B and B2C customers and how to best target these segments. 

What is B2C vs. B2B Marketing?

B2B marketing vs. B2C marketing relates to how you market your brand and products to two different groups.

The B2B market comprises professionals in the building industry who are purchasing materials for use in projects. These consumers include developers, architects, designers, and contractors.

The B2C market is made up of end consumers who are looking for materials to use in their own projects. These individuals include homeowners, who will purchase materials and hire a third party for installation, and those doing DIY projects for their business or place of residence.

Building Materials B2B Marketing vs. B2C Marketing

The B2B market and B2C market are two different audiences within the building materials industry. They have different needs and processes for making purchase decisions. To best market to each of these groups, you need to understand why they are looking to buy building materials and how they make a purchase decision.

Differences in the Overall Customer Journey

Both markets focus on aesthetics. Well-designed materials attract both groups to your brand and significantly play into their final decision. However, other factors that lead to a purchase decision vary. In general, industry professionals put a lot of weight on technical specifications, while the B2C market is concerned with cost and availability.

B2B Customer Journey 

Building industry professionals will first look at the aesthetic design of different building materials and how the products will fit into the overall design of the project. The next step is to conduct in-depth research on the materials they are considering.

Some things they will want to find out include if the materials fit into the project’s budget and if they meet technical specifications. These specifications can include durability and LEED qualifications.

The best choices, along with the pros and cons of each, will be shown to the team or the client for a final decision to be made.

Three architects looking at building material samples and building plans

B2C Customer Journey

Those in the B2C market also focus on aesthetics but are less interested in technical specifications. These consumers want to know if products fit their budget and are available near them. Their research is more likely to involve design inspiration and looking at reviews and other customer feedback.

Generally, consumers will choose the product they like best in terms of look instead of weighing up the pros and cons in the way industry professionals do. If the consumer plans to complete the project themselves, they will also consider ease of installation when making a purchase decision.

Differences in Research Needs and Methods

A primary difference between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies is how you reach each market in the research phase.

B2B Product Research

The B2B market conducts research by looking at building industry databases and directories, catalogs, and publications. Trade shows may also play a role in their research. They will also use search engines, especially to find out more about prospective suppliers.

In addition, building industry professionals look for much more information than those in the B2C market. The professional conducting the research will have to present building material choices and reasons for those choices to clients and co-workers, hence the need for such in-depth research.

B2C Product Research

The consumer market looks for a lot of information online but needs less in-depth information than professionals to make a purchase decision. Consumers also use different research platforms than industry professionals, favoring social media and search engines.

These consumers look online for project inspiration, especially on Pinterest and YouTube, and via interior design publications and the like. If they are doing DIY projects, they will also want to know how easy installation is and will search for guides or videos showing how to install the materials. This market will want to find where they can purchase the materials too.

Differences in Time to Make a Purchase Decision

B2B Purchase Decision Timeline

Before an industry professional can make a purchase decision, their choice of building material needs to go through many channels for approval. The lead time between starting research and buying materials is quite long. It may take six months to a year or even more from when research began to get to a final decision.

A builder looking at a sheet of samples

B2C Purchase Decision Timeline

Those in the B2C market generally commit to a purchase more quickly than industry professionals. They have an immediate design need, and once they find a product that meets all of their requirements, they will purchase it.

Differences in Customer Retention

A primary difference between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies relates to customer retention strategies. You are much more likely to gain repeat sales from B2B customers than from those in the B2C market.

B2B Customer Retention

Industry professionals will likely be working on many projects over a year, many of which you could get specified for. Consumers, on the other hand, are more likely to seek building materials for one project and then not need them again for a significant time. Individual sales to industry professionals will be larger too.

Therefore, you will want to focus a lot of effort on customer retention strategies for your B2B market. You want to offer amazing service and products and keep your brand top of mind, so they consider you as soon as they have a new project.

B2C Customer Retention

While you still want to offer high-quality service and products to the B2C market and should put in some retention efforts, the potential ROI from these efforts is lower. Therefore, retention marketing efforts can be more minimal too. Implementing marketing efforts to get feedback and referrals from consumers is a good lead generation strategy though.

Similarities between B2B vs. B2C Marketing for Building Materials Companies

While there are many differences between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies, there are also some similarities when marketing to these groups, which are discussed below.

An Aesthetics First Approach

Aesthetics need to be a primary part of marketing campaigns aimed at B2B and B2C audiences. In all marketing promotions, use high-quality imagery that highlights the look and style of your building materials. High-quality videos showing your products in designs can showcase brand and material aesthetics even more.

Your well-designed, top-quality building materials should be the star of all marketing efforts.

A Strong Online Presence

Both industry professionals and general consumers go online during the research phase. Therefore, you need a strong online presence complete with a user-friendly website, engaging social media content, and a well-implemented search engine optimization strategy.

Many in the B2C market are also looking to purchase online, so implementing e-commerce could bring great returns. Making it easy for professionals to put in purchase requests online is important too.

A builder looking at a laptop and writing on a clipboard

Brand Recognition

You want to build and cultivate a respected brand that is well-known in both markets. Creating high-quality building materials, offering outstanding customer service, and getting referrals and positive reviews are great ways to initiate a strong brand identity.

Easy Access to Customer Service

Both audiences will have questions about your building materials. To make a sale more likely, ensure B2B and B2C prospects have easy access to customer service and answers to their queries.

Ways to do this include:

  • Having an in-depth FAQs page on your website.
  • Installing live chat on your website.
  • Actively looking at and responding to messages on social media.
  • Having an in-depth resources page on your website with detailed product information and articles that provide detailed answers to common questions.
  • Making contact information easy to find on your website, social media pages, and via directories.
  • Ensuring it is easy to get a quote or request additional information on your products, such as requesting a digital or print catalog or materials specifications sheet.
A supplier/store locator feature showing where to buy your products is also important, especially for the B2C market.

B2B Marketing Tips for Building Materials Companies

Having discussed the primary differences between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies, keep the following tips in mind when crafting your B2B marketing plan.

List Your Business in Directories

Don’t underestimate the power of directories. Ensure that your company is listed in all directories that are frequently used by professionals.

Make Use of Industry Contacts

Networking is also a big part of marketing your building materials to. professionals in the industry. You can build a network on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Also, attend as many industry events and trade shows as possible to meet prospects and expand your industry contacts.

The more you grow your network, the more professionals you can contact for sales or referrals.

A difference between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies is networking with industry contacts in the B2B market

Build Relationships with Complementary Businesses

There are many companies that complement your product but aren’t competitors. When networking, try to build relationships with those operating in complementary industries that could give you referrals to professionals looking to purchase building materials.

Provide In-Depth Informational Resources

As discussed earlier, industry professionals look for a lot of technical information when deciding whether to specify a building material or not. To make this research phase easy for them, provide an array of easy-to-access technical info. These resources should cover everything a contractor, architect, designer, or any other industry professional would want to know.

By making research effortless and offering all the information needed, it is much more likely that your building materials will be considered and chosen for the project.

B2C Marketing Tips for Building Materials Companies

When creating a marketing plan to target the B2C market, keep the following advice in mind.

Make Discovery Easy

As mentioned, consumers will go online or to social media platforms for inspiration and information when in the market for building materials. Therefore, you need to make discovery of your brand on these platforms very easy.

In terms of search, having a strong SEO strategy is a must. This strategy should focus a lot on targeting keywords that those in the B2C market search when looking for building materials like yours.

When it comes to discovery via social media, start by creating content that appeals to this audience. Then, make use of hashtags to target the audience organically. You should also encourage current customers to tag and mention you, and working with influencers could be of benefit.

Paid social and search ads directly targeted at the B2C market could be beneficial as well. 

Two people with color samples looking at a laptop

Implement Local SEO

When discussing SEO and targeting the B2C market, local SEO is important to consider. These consumers will be searching for building materials suppliers near them. You, therefore, want to make it clear via local SEO efforts that you sell in their area, whether directly or via a distributor like a home improvement store.

List Your Business in B2C Directories

Another difference between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies relates to which type of directories you use. The B2C market will probably not look to industry-specific and professional directories. Instead, they will look to common directories like Yelp and Google My Business. So, ensure your business is listed in these types of consumer-facing directories.

These directories also allow for feedback from customers. This information is important to potential customers during the research phase.

Collect and Present Customer Feedback

As just mentioned, prospects in the B2C market look to feedback from other customers when deciding which building materials to buy. Activating directories with feedback capabilities and asking for feedback on social media can help generate positive reviews. These reviews make prospects more confident in choosing you for their building material needs.

You can even add a reviews section to your website to highlight customer satisfaction.

In Conclusion

This article should have given you a better understanding of the differences between B2B vs. B2C marketing for building materials companies. When creating a marketing plan, you must customize campaigns to appeal to each market.

While there are some similarities between the B2B and B2C markets in the building materials sector, there are also many notable differences. By keeping these differences in mind, you can effectively create messages and campaigns that appeal to professionals and end consumers like homeowners.

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