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B2B vs. B2C Healthcare Marketing

B2B vs. B2C Healthcare Marketing - stethoscope

Healthcare marketing is a diverse and complicated process. And the way in which we market in the healthcare industry is always changing. This is true whether you work for the healthcare facility itself or you’re selling services and software to that facility. 

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic required the healthcare industry to adapt and reform immediately. On the marketing side, these changes have looked different for B2B vs. B2C healthcare providers. 

Whether you’re in SaaS, or medical device, or direct care marketing, tactics will vary. More buyers than ever are researching your product or service long before they can even think about talking to you. It’s vital you understand how to sell to your specific market.

Healthcare Marketing or Health Tech Marketing?

Here are 4 ways that B2B healthcare marketing is different from B2C healthcare marketing:

  1. Patients vs. healthcare organizations
  2. Varying consumer relationships
  3. Length of the decision-making process
  4. Terminology: complex vs. simple

1. Patients vs. Healthcare Organizations

One of the most prominent differences between B2B and B2C healthcare marketing is the consumer base. B2B is typically marketing to healthcare organizations, whereas B2C marketing is targeting patients. 

B2B is a distinct form of marketing. B2B marketing audiences expect a higher level of education and content than B2C. B2B customers are looking to learn from the seller. 

Before making a decision, B2B customers need accurate,and informative content -- that’s where you come in. Having the proper information prior to making a decision will help prevent buyer’s remorse and poor reviews.

In B2C marketing, you’re speaking directly to an individual’s needs.

2. Varying Consumer Relationships

B2B marketers are more likely to develop personal relationships with their customers/clients. Creating these relationships will hopefully lead to long-term business at the end of the long sales cycle (more on that soon).

Additionally, these relationships could increase referrals. The success of B2B healthcare technology heavily relies on word-of-mouth.  

B2C healthcare marketing is more of a surface-level, brief, and transactional relationship. The goal of B2C marketing is to get customers to buy a product or service (or at least schedule an appointment) today. The buyer’s journey typically ends with their purchase. 

The work of the B2B team, however, continues past that point, as software updates and customer service are critical to their products.

3. Length of the Decision-Making Process

Due to the nature of the consumer relationships, the decision-making process for the B2B industry is typically longer than B2C’s. 

Additionally, B2B decisions typically have multiple people making the decision. You can already imagine how that slows the sales process because you’ve seen it a million times before:

  • An anesthesiologist emails his department head about a new software he found
  • The department head researches it, then shares the info with the chief nursing officer
  • The CNO likes the product, but is unsure of the cost benefit. He talks to the hospital CEO.
  • Several more emails and in-person meetings involving two or more of these parties grag out over weeks and weeks.

There are exceptions to that rule when a facility needs a software or device solution immediately, but generally B2C is a shorter process with one decision-maker. There’s nobody to slow the buyer down, except maybe a very controlling spouse or son/daughter.

4. Terminology: Complex vs. Simple Terms

When marketing to B2B companies, using complex medical terminology is appropriate. The targeted consumers most likely understand the terms/overall context. After all, the clients are most likely the heads of healthcare organizations, or at least their department.

While you don’t want to overwhelm the reader of your B2B content marketing materials, you do want to display expertise.

On the contrary, using simplifying complex terms for B2C customers is most beneficial. More often than not, these customers would not be familiar with medical terminology. 

Instead B2C content marketing focuses on the emotional side of the buyer’s journey. B2C content marketing can be especially helpful when targeting high-ticket, contemplated medical decisions (addiction, reproductive medicine, etc.). Engaging your customers can be difficult if you are not targeting their needs and/or areas of interest. 

When marketing directly to the customer, empathetic storytelling helps to captivate readers’ attention. For example, if you’re targeting a customer looking for fertility assistance, including a customer success testimonial could provide comfort to the reader and motivate them to become a customer.

Simplifying the message and acknowledging the emotion attached with healthcare decisions makes the buying process streamlined and manageable for B2C consumers.

Marketing for B2B vs. B2C

Although there are many differences surrounding B2B and B2C healthcare marketing, there’s a universal truth: Content marketing can make life easier for the user.

Just don’t take the universal approach to marketing -- create the type of content and distribution strategies that meet your buyers where they are! Learn more about navigating the differences between B2B and B2C healthcare marketing by downloading our free e-book:

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