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Industry specialists agree that email marketing is one of, if not the most, productive and cost-effective marketing channels available. When we look at the DMA’s numbers for the UK and EU, email marketing improved against all major KPIs – including return on investment (ROI).

At its fundamental core, email marketing allows businesses to generate new leads, convert prospects into buyers and turn customers into loyal fans – all with the click of a button. However, despite a varying approach to marketing across sectors, the convergence of B2B with the successful tactics of B2C does seem likely.

Let’s take a look at what the two can teach and learn from each other.

Email Automation

B2B Marketing

  • The main goal is to communicate with subscribers
  • Long term buying cycles make engagement crucial
  • Communication-based emails are less likely to be opened

B2C Marketing

  • The main goal is to increase revenue
  • Short term buying cycles makes this easier to achieve
  • Emails with a high selling intent are more likely to be opened

What we can see is that there are clearly defined approaches to the opposing schools of marketing. Regardless of any convergence of principles that are likely to happen in the future, these current approaches will always be more or less set in stone.

With that being said, there are still plenty of signs of convergence that have arisen as a result of innovation and modernisation of a previously archaic system. In 2016, Gmail introduced a drastic change to how emails were delivered – nullifying the scatter-shot approach that multiple companies used.

Rather than sending out emails with a 100% delivery-rate to your entire subscriber list (even inactive accounts and those who hadn’t opened emails from your address in months), Gmail decided to place a much greater emphasis on engagement and quality. If your tactics didn’t meet their standards, your emails simply wouldn’t be delivered.

These changes meant that both B2B and B2C had to up their game, creating a user-friendly and engagement-driven ethos to all things email. We can all agree that our experience with receiving marketing emails has significantly improved as a result.

CRM Data Quality

CRM data is an all-encompassing term for the different data types associated with a business’ customers. CRM data includes the following:

  • Identity Data: Name, Personal Info, Address, Phone, Socials, etc.
  • Quantitative Data: Online/Offline Transactions, Inbound/Outbound Communication, Online Activity, Customer Service
  • Descriptive Data: Family, Lifestyle, Education, Career, etc.
  • Qualitative Data: Attitudinal, Motivational, Opinion.

The quality of data that a business is able to collect will directly affect the deliverability of their emails, as it’s intrinsically linked with sender reputation. Complaint Rate, Spam Traps and Unknown User Rate are the defining metrics included in sender reputation.

Although most Mailbox Providers (MBP) allow an Unknown User Rate of up to 10%, the best of the best boast a rate of less than 1%! It’s an incredibly low figure, but one every business should strive for, and can do so by prioritising the collection of high-quality CRM data!

This is where B2B can really learn from their B2C counterparts, the latter of which are masters at CRM data collection. Unfortunately, B2B lags behind in this regard, most likely due to fewer and more long-term clients, creating fewer opportunities to sell.

Expressing Your Value

The difficulties B2B brands face with demonstrating their value can largely be attributed to time. You might have noticed that time is a recurring factor when we look at the different approaches to email marketing!

B2B brands must work much harder in trying to establish a high-converting email database, as their potential clients are far less likely to encounter digital advertisements. The long-term nature of their projects and partnerships also means that a large database of active clients simply isn’t feasible.

The extra work required seeking out and demonstrating value means B2B senders aren’t as confident when ROI is concerned. Their email funnel must follow a deliberate timeframe that walks the tightrope regarding client engagement – something that gets exponentially difficult over time.

Demonstrating value when there is no clear line of sight between the first contact will ultimately affect the ROI of a B2B brand’s email campaign. What’s required is precision and lots of patience – from both parties!

Wrap Up

While it’s true that B2C brands are naturally better placed to deal with the obstacles inherent to email marketing, their B2B counterparts are showing signs of improvement.

B2B and B2C brands face a variety of challenges unique to their own distinct circumstances. Although the goalposts are currently well-defined, the changes in recent years to inbox placement rules and, in a broader sense, privacy legislation – it wouldn’t be wrong to presume that much of the variables separating the two approaches may start to merge.


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