B2B + B2C = B2P
It is often assumed that B2B and B2C businesses must approach marketing very differently and utilize completely different strategies. While B2B marketing extols the benefits provided to a company and B2C is aimed at the individual consumer, when it comes down to it, you are still marketing to a person.
The black and white way of viewing B2B vs. B2C has shifted over the years, especially with the increasing influence of social media and other online channels that empower the individual. These channels have been the great equalizer, forcing marketers to treat their clients as people instead of "consumers" or "businesses". In essence, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) have evolved into business-to-people (B2P).
B2P combines various aspects from both B2B and B2C. B2B has always involved more relationship building. A longer sales cycle has given B2B companies more time to connect and engage with their prospective buyers. However, social media has enabled this same type of relationship building for B2C brands, allowing these companies to connect and engage with their customers earlier in the sales process. B2C companies no longer have to wait until the customer is in the store to make an impact.
On the other side, B2C has always kept the focus solely on the individual. This is a strategy that B2B companies are now emulating by tailoring their pitch to the benefits provided to the buyer. These companies are essentially explaining how they can make a particular employee's job easier or improve performance that will in turn make the buyer look better.
As B2B and B2C come together, it is essential for marketers to focus on relationship building and the benefits offered by their product or service, not whether their customer happens to be buying for themselves or for their company.