Stop boring your customers, why the term B2B should be banned from design discussions.
Can we agree on something?
Design is important.
The way we make people feel is important.
If you don’t agree with those statements, it’s probably best you stop reading any further.
What is the difference between B2C customers and B2B customers (your customers)?
Yes, you are correct, it’s nothing.
Somehow, and we’re not sure how long this has been going on, but we suspect a while… the term B2B (or ‘Business to Business’) has become synonymous with boring.
Businesses should be all about giving their customers a great experience. No matter the sector. Why? Because customers and clients (heck, let’s call them ‘people’) are fickle creatures with short attention spans, with a lot of demands placed on them, but every person has ‘needs’.
The need to be loved, the need to be entertained, the need to feel alive, and yes, sometimes, a financial need.
People’s time and attention should be valued, let’s face it, the world has endless distractions it throws at people. B2B businesses with great design (branding/websites/experience) are in short supply and nowhere near as plentiful as their B2C counterparts.
Why are we posting about this?
Over the years, we’ve heard (B2B) prospects (and clients) say things like:
“It’s fine for X brand who all sell products to consumers. We are a B2B brand.”
“It’s too creative for us, we’re a B2B brand”
“What we sell isn’t exciting, we sell to other businesses”
What do these statements even mean? Do they think they are selling to robots, faceless corporations or to people who just don’t care? If you are bored by your own product or business, how in the hell do you expect other people to get excited about it?
Also, for us, there is no such thing as a boring business, say you sell something other people label as boring: (apologies for stereotyping) a lawyer firm, accountancy, energy, or nuts and bolts, whatever it is you do, be passionate about it, and bring that passion to your brand.
There must have been a spark somewhere for that business to exist.
Lean into it.
Why does the business exist?
Yes, it likely wants to make money, but there is something deeper at play.
The business thought it could do it better, cheaper, faster, or it saw another business doing it elsewhere and thought, heck, we could do that. How do you beat competition? Good design helps with that.
You can make anything sound boring in life, try it, it’s easy, and the reverse is also true.
Think of the most mundane subject you can think of.
Ok, now imagine you own a startup and you are marketing or selling it to the world, make it exciting, it’s easier than you think.
B2B are businesses made of people, selling to people.
B2C are businesses made of people, selling to people.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the track labelling something as “B2B” meant treating people differently.
Imagine you are a buyer at ‘The Gardening Co.’ and you were shown two websites for two businesses that offered you the same solution… let’s say selling industrial/trade lawnmowers, but one had a website that was dry and looked like it hadn’t been updated in a while, while the other was engaging, bright, modern, and easy to use.
You’d purchase from the second one.
In fact, so strong are people’s needs and desires – you might even pay more than you’d budgeted/anticipated, because you were inspired or entertained or made to feel special.
Great design, UX and branding sells products and creates brand loyalty.
So stop using B2B as an excuse, in fact, don’t even mention B2B in a design context – it’s pretty meaningless.