Although primarily a B2B marketing agency, we do plenty of B2C work, which has taught us that there are significant differences between the two.
Choose Benchmarks Carefully
The most important tip for B2B firms is to choose other B2B firms as benchmarks. An industrial solvents company will not get far modeling itself (so to speak) after Victoria Secret on Facebook. A manufacturer of electronic components should not have a website that looks like Chuck E. Cheese's.
While this may seem obvious, picking the wrong benchmarks occurs more often than you think. In social media I see this all the time. Industrial firms see Manchester United with more than 16 million Facebook fans and get caught up in a numbers game. That's not the right game for a B2B.
In B2B, the quality of the audience is much more important than the quantity. A successful B2B Facebook page may have a community of a few hundred people. That's perfectly OK - if they are the right people.
B2Bs Must Understand Audience Segments
Coke sells to everybody. A manufacturer of coke furnaces may sell into two or three very specific - and very different - markets. Coke can create one ad campaign that appeals to just about everybody. The coke furnace manufacturer needs very specific and very different messaging for international customers, domestic customers, regulatory agencies, environmental interest groups, etc.
The corollary here is that B2B marketing cannot be all things to all people. When they try, the messaging becomes vague and loses all of its persuasive power.
For B2Bs, It's Emotion Plus Information
Many B2C companies can market purely on emotion. You don't drink beer because the factory where they make it is ISO certified. You drink it because its commercials tell you it will keep you thin or make you the life of the party.
Instead of emulating B2Cs on the emotional score, B2Bs frequently go in the opposite direction, marketing on a purely intellectual level - usually by spewing out endless eruptions of product data nobody is particularly interested in.
At some point in the B2B selling cycle, people are interested in facts and figures - this is true. But the winning formula for B2B firms is to blend emotional and informational marketing. As long as people are people, they will make buying decisions based on how they feel. A sterile marketing presence places obstacles in the way of every order.