B2C vs B2B comms: The fight

"B2C is better than B2B." I hear it constantly, and the majority of the time, it is coming from people who only work in B2C.

Creative warriors are born and made in B2B comms, argues Simon Billington
Creative warriors are born and made in B2B comms, argues Simon Billington
"The creative is more out there." "The techniques used to make the webpage are more sophisticated." And, according to one ex-friend, "Only the cool kids work in B2C." He certainly did put the "C" in B2C.

Annoyingly, in some ways he was right. 

But it’s in B2B I believe some of the most creative warriors are born. B2B often requires even more creativity than its more glamorous counterpart. If you disagree, perhaps you just haven’t looked at things in the right way.

So let me show you what I see. 

You don’t learn how to box against people who can’t defend themselves. You challenge yourself. You take on that which challenges your own ability. 

A limitless blank canvas with freedom to create isn’t the greatest of challenges. What happens when the boundaries are limited? And is the luxury of that blank canvas nothing more than a utopian dream? Say hello to my little friend, B2B.

B2B is the equivalent of a bantamweight taking on a heavyweight. The heavyweight’s muscles are the brand-based limitations. The impenetrable defence is IT integration. The killer right hook is the risk-adverse comity.

Bam! If you’re not careful you end up hitting the wrong kind of canvas.

It’s here, in the smallest of rings, that the toughest of creative warriors can be forged. It’s no easy challenge to be able to deliver engaging customer experiences; to integrate with IT systems critical to the business, to manage complex internal stakeholder groups. 

All while trying to create something new and exciting. Now that’s tough, right?

But I always think it is only fair to see both sides of the story. So, let’s hear from the other side. Enter the Devil’s Advocate. 

A blank canvas might not be all it is cracked up to be. It can be paralysing because of the sheer volume of available options. 

When you get going, the boundaries are limitless. And that is the biggest challenge of B2C. When everyone is trying rush to the fringes of the possible, constantly raising the bar is not for the faint-hearted. 

The more we test the possibilities of the customer experience, the more we must find new and intelligent ways of delivering results for our customers. 

And in my view, it is by working across both B2B and B2C that you become a greater creative; in the confines of the B2B ring, and reaching the edges of the B2C canvas of possibility. 

Perhaps it’s time B and C stand side by side. Who’d fight that? 

Simon Billington is executive creative & digital director at Lewis Global Communications

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