Many companies have B2C and B2B offerings; in some cases their digital marketing efforts will coincide and in other cases they won’t. Often times B2C and B2B efforts could collide.

I have a client that is a company with both B2B and B2C divisions, with two separate ad accounts. Budgets, conversions, goals, and KPIs are vastly different for each. The difficulty lies in the overlapping keywords and in the overlapping audiences. In essence, the company has the same offering-alternative car energy-but a product for residential audiences and a product for commercial audiences.

What are the pain points?

A major pain point for both accounts is competition. Currently, this is an exploding market. Alternative energy and battery operated cars are the hot new thing; there are some huge brands in this market that seem untouchable.

Because this is a trending, revolutionary market, there aren’t set benchmarks for KPIs by Google or other leaders in digital marketing. I’ve had to really discover what our benchmarks should be, and they’ve been constantly moving.

Just recently, Google added a custom in-market audience for Hybrid & Alternative Vehicles. I am excited and very interested to see how this performs over the upcoming months…

What is the overlap?

Brand keywords is the main overlap for both accounts. Nonbrand keywords also overlap, however we try to differentiate as much as we can by adding “for home” for B2C and “for commercial” for B2B.

In your account, if you are juggling B2B and B2C, I recommend a few tasks to help identify the overlap and how to overcome the overlap:

  • Pull a search term report for the same time period for each account, separated by branded campaigns and nonbranded campaigns.
    • From these search term reports, look for search terms that have resulted in both ads being shown. These are the keywords that are competing with each other and likely driving up costs.
      • To really impress your client, calculate the costs spent on the overlapping keywords. This will give a huge incentive for them to internally think through what keywords should be given to which division. Come to your client with a recommendation of how to delegate with sound reasoning. “These types of keywords should be given to B2C because they resulted in a higher position in the B2C account than in the B2B account…” Or something along those lines.
  • If possible, discuss with your client what types of overlapping keywords can be delegated to the B2C and B2B accounts. Boiling down B2B and B2C is really like treating two different brands; it is a type of multi-branding, even if the products and/or company is the same. Come with recommendations and reasonings (see above point.)

What are the branding differentiators?

B2C and B2B divisions should want to be seen differently in regards to their branding. As an account manager, it is important to be discussing how each division of the business wants to communicate the brand to their varying audiences. As a brainstorming exercise for you as an account manager, think about the different conversion events (assuming each side has different conversion actions). For B2B, you are likely generating form fills or educational resource downloads. For B2C, it’s likely sales.

Show your clients key insights into how differently users interact with the brand. For example, with my client, I noticed that B2B users know the branding, i.e. they are correctly searching the brand/company name, they know the services offered, and are of higher intent. For B2C, users are aware of the brand and familiar with it, but do not know all the offerings or the exact spelling of the brand/company. This is valuable information! It shows that:

  1. B2B is being effective in educating its audiences
  2. B2C may need to be more effective in awareness tactics
  3. B2B & B2C are doing fairly well in distinguishing its audiences
  4. B2C needs stronger call to actions within its ad copy to get users to make the relevant conversion to the B2C division
  5. B2B may need to be broader in its branding

What should an account manager do to juggle B2C and B2B?

It is crucial to stay on top of search term reports for B2C and B2B ad accounts if they have overlapping keywords. It is crucial to stay on top of ad copy testing and updates. It is crucial to stay on top of how audiences are interacting with the brand on websites outside of Google.

Questions to ask yourself and your B2C & B2B client:

  • What are opportunities on the website that drive revenue and provide value for each division?
  • What is the customer lifecycle for each division?
  • What does a typical journey look like for each division?
  • What CTA do we need to have for each division that strongly relates to the action we want each type of customer to take on the website?

I hope these questions help you become more consultative with your B2C and B2B clients, and help paint a holistic view of how these two divisions can work together. Find where you need to be for your B2C and B2B client.