Whether it’s through affiliate marketing or influencer partnerships, the consumer-to-business model (or C2B) allows customers to provide a business with a service, from which the consumer makes a profit. Besides B2B Marketing and B2C Marketing, C2B Marketing is yet another popular and widely known model of sales.
Generally, the idea of all these marketing techniques was first utilized by Michael Aldrich in 1979. More so, for the B2C Marketing. Whereby, he used television as the primary medium to reach out to consumers. Basically, the rise of the Internet created a whole new business channel in the form of e-commerce or simply selling goods and services over the Internet.
Although many companies fell victim to the subsequent dot-com bust as investor interest in the sector dwindled and venture capital funding dried up, marketing leaders such as Amazon and Priceline survived the shakeout and have since seen great success. Any business that relies on either B2B, B2C, or even C2B sales must maintain good relations with its customers first.
What Is C2B Marketing?
Consumer-to-Business Marketing, or rather C2B Marketing, is a type of business model where the customer provides a service or product to the business. This is the reverse of the typical business-to-consumer model (or B2C), in which a company provides a service to customers through the sale of goods and services.
As I’ll elaborate, B2B and B2C are likely in your marketing vocabulary, but the consumer-to-business or “C2B” model is a relatively new approach gaining momentum. The internet and social media make a C2B model possible by connecting customers who can offer their marketing services to companies for a payoff.
C2B business solutions are often used to drive business to a company’s e-commerce platforms. In short, C2B stands for Consumer-to-Business and is used to describe a business model where consumers deliver value to a business. Rather than vice-versa as in a B2C (Business-to-Consumer) model.
The C2B marketing strategy gets consumers to provide services or products that appeal to businesses, rather than companies providing something to the consumer as we’re used to seeing with B2C and other marketing models. As an example, some of the key C2B models include referral programs, paid testimonials, or data sharing.
On one side, Business-to-Business Marketing or rather B2B Marketing, as it is commonly known, involves the sale of one company’s product or service to another company. With techniques that rely on the same basic principles as consumer marketing.
But, the consumer marketing principles are executed in a unique way. B2B Marketing techniques rely on the same basic principles as consumer marketing but are executed in a unique way. Consumers choose products based not only on price but on popularity, status, and other emotional triggers. Again, B2B buyers make decisions on price and profit potential alone.
On the other side, the term B2C Marketing (aka Business-to-Consumer Marketing) refers to the process of selling products and services directly between consumers. In that case, who are the end-users of its products or services. Most companies that sell directly to consumers can be referred to as B2C companies.
Basically, B2C Marketing became immensely popular during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. Especially, when it was mainly used to refer to online retailers who sold products and services to consumers through the Internet. As a business model, business-to-consumer differs significantly from the business-to-business model, which refers to commerce between two or more.
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Any business that relies on B2C sales must maintain good relations with their customers to ensure they return. Unlike business-to-business (B2B), whose marketing campaigns are geared to demonstrate the value of a product or service, companies that rely on B2C must elicit an emotional response to their marketing in their customers.
In terms of a B2C Marketing model, a business markets and sells directly to customers. Whilst, in terms of C2B marketing, businesses heavily rely on the actions of an intermediary — the consumer — to market their business. The main difference between B2C and C2B is that the C2B model gives more power and control to the consumer.
For one thing, it relies on them to provide value to the company, rather than the reverse. Some key examples of C2B marketing include reverse auctioning, affiliate marketing, and on-commission advertisement space. A C2B Marketing solution offers quite some very tangible usefulness to any web-related business as I’ll list below.
Consider the following:
- Reverse auctions: Reverse auctions allow consumers to name the price for a product or service they want to purchase.
- Affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing allows end-users, often influencers, bloggers, or publishers, to lend a company their platforms to market specific products on a commission basis. For example, a food company may invite a food blogger to include a new product in a recipe. When the blogger links to the product in the recipe, the business may offer the blogger a percentage of the sales that were driven from their site.
- Advertisement space: C2B advertisement space allows end-users to receive a commission of the clicks on a different company’s ads that live on their site. Users can tailor the ads appearing on their page to include businesses similar to theirs, which increases the likelihood of their audience click-through.
As I’ll list below, there are just so many advantages for businesses to consider in terms of a successful C2B marketing model.
Some advantages include:
- Improving consumer insight: The benefit of a C2B model is that your customers are marketing for you, and reaching a customer base that is reflective of your accurate demographic. You can also use the information from the customer’s campaign as market research.
- Brand loyalty and awareness: Customers are more likely to trust the word of other customers than of large companies. C2B marketing can broaden the reach of your company and instill trust in your consumers.
- Product development: In a C2B business model, consumers have more opportunities to provide feedback about which products or services they like. This allows small businesses and startups to learn what products are most desirable for consumers, and to develop their products accordingly.
- Automation: Particular features can be automated for a C2B business, such as direct payments, facilitating easier connections between consumers and businesses.
Unfortunately, there are also a few possible disadvantages of a C2B model that should be noted, before embarking on C2B.
Consider the following:
- Might be unpredictable: Traditional business models like B2B and B2C are reliable business models that have been used for years. C2B models are relatively new and can be unstable. Relying entirely on a C2B model could be a risk in the long term because you’re betting on a customer’s marketing efficacy, which you can’t control as a business owner.
- Negative consumer responses: Relying on a customer’s services for your business also means opening yourself up to negative feedback. Be prepared to mitigate any criticism without shutting down the channels of connection you’ve established with your consumers who provide your company value.
To start a Business Marketing strategy that works like a charm, you need to first know a few things. First of all, the digital web is growing at a very dramatic pace. Secondly, it’s significantly impacting customer and business market behaviors at an alarming rate too. As a result, most firms have started developing their strategies.
How C2B Marketing Works
The consumer trend of being more involved in the products and services they use is changing expectations. Many companies are hesitant to adopt this model because it’s difficult to know where and how to start. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram offer a way for businesses to communicate with their consumers.
While also creating new customer profiles that advertisers can target based on specific demographics. The companies can then provide their customers tailored information about products/services that would be most appealing to them or, in true C2B fashion, have some select customers create their content to target like-minded consumers with similar interests.
The old-fashioned way of marketing was a one-sided conversation where the company would spend advertising dollars for their products or services without really knowing whom they were going to target their message. Spending these ad dollars ended up being highly ineffective — no one wants irrelevant ads coming at them 24/7.
With companies now understanding the impact of word-of-mouth marketing shifting from “talking head” advertising towards consumer blogs, social accounts, and other online entities, the C2B model is not only becoming more popular, but it’s also becoming a necessary strategy.
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We are in an era where authenticity is king and mass persuasion isn’t working. Businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to reach their target audience traditionally.
The consumer-to-business strategy is a refreshing take on how consumers want interactions with business these days: the consumers demand from you what they’re willing and able to pay for themselves instead of being persuaded or tricked into buying something that doesn’t suit them well.
The process begins when businesses identify people who match their target customer profile and then create cohort groups for targeted communication purposes. Instead of running ads across all channels like you’re used to, companies now must focus on one-to-one interactions with these specific customers.
The Main C2B Marketing Models Are:
- Traditional C2B Model Era
- Digital C2B Model Era
Sometimes, you can’t fake what’s authentic or try to persuade someone without any degree of mutual understanding. But, there must be some emotional connection established beforehand through personal conversations before anything else happens.
The C2B relationship also allows consumers to occasionally do some work, with companies supplying tools and other resources. In fact, for many industries or categories like software development, this model is not just a trend but could potentially be considered ubiquitous.
The Traditional C2B Model Era
In contrast to the more traditional business-to-consumer model, the C2B (consumer-to-business) model allows businesses to extract value from consumers, and vice versa. In the C2B model, businesses profit from consumers’ willingness to name their own price. Or even contribute data or marketing to the company.
Whilst, consumers profit from the flexibility, direct payment, or free or reduced-price products and services. The distinguishing feature of C2B is the value customers bring to the company. This could involve consumers co-creating ideas, product/service concepts, and solutions with a company through social media alike.
In addition, C2B can also mean that a business brings consumer insights and consumer-centric solutions to another business. More so, as its primary service or value-added offering.
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C2B business models include reverse auctions, in which customers name their price for a product or service they wish to buy. Another form of C2B occurs when a consumer provides a business with a fee-based opportunity.
With the main aim of marketing the business’s products on the consumer’s blog. For example, food companies may ask food bloggers to include a new product in a recipe and review it for their readers. Free products or direct payment may incentivize YouTube reviews.
C2B could also include paid advertisement space on the consumer’s website. Google Ads and AdSense enable this kind of relationship by simplifying the process through which bloggers can be paid for ads. Services such as Amazon Associates allow website owners to earn money by linking to seller products.
The Digital C2B Model Era
The C2B model has flourished in the internet age because of ready access to consumers who are “plugged in” to brands. Where the business relationship was once strictly one-directional, with companies pushing services and goods to consumers, the new bidirectional network allows consumers to become their own businesses.
Decreases in the cost of technologies such as video cameras, high-quality printers, and web development services give consumers access to tools for promotion and communication that were once limited to large companies. As a result, both consumers and businesses can benefit from the C2B model.
For the C2B relationship to be fulfilled, the participants must be clearly defined. The consumer could be any individual who has something to offer a business, whether a service or a good. Some examples would be a blogger, as mentioned above, or a photographer offering stock images to businesses.
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The consumer could also be someone participating in a survey site or referring someone through referral hiring sites such as Upwork. Notably, the business in this model could be any company planning to buy goods or services from individuals.
Either directly or through an intermediary. An intermediary would connect the business to the pool of individuals, acting as a portal both for buyers and sellers. The intermediary promotes goods and services through distribution channels and gives individuals promotional, logistic, and technical expertise.
For example, the intermediary could be a company looking to fill a job through a referral hiring site, a company seeking to advertise online through Google Ads, or a company that needs individuals to take surveys and provide market research.
The Best C2B Marketing Strategy For Beginner Online Consumers
In broad terms, the definition of C2B business is a model where a customer or end-user makes content, products, or services that a company uses to complete a business process. With the consumer-to-business approach in practice, companies can find potential business prospects within their consumer portfolios.
It’s somewhat like cross-selling, but the inversion allows consumers more voice (and a piece of the business process). C2B evolved more recently because popular consumer-generated media and content across consumer segments-social networks, websites, blogs, podcasts, and videos-have changed business processes.
In today’s world, consumers can post their thoughts on brands whenever they want; companies must adapt to new ways of marketing themselves. Almost every Business Marketing technique is done with an adept intention to influence the consumer and your potential targeted clients and customers. There are so many key driving elements for a marketing strategy.
Consider the following:
- the emergence of reverse marketing,
- customer-centric marketing,
- effective efficiency,
- expectation management,
- marketing process focus,
- fixed cost marketing, etc.
In addition, from the above context list, you can also consider many related web-based business marketing theories, Online PR Management, and other digital advertising practices. Not forgetting, discussing your customer behaviors is also a key element too.
Customer behaviors include:
- universal availability,
- use of infomediaries,
- temporal shifts,
- open pricing,
- a move toward bricks to clicks, etc.
Eventually, in order to create a great strategy, the main goal is to first understand why business marketing is important for both web-based brands, digital online service solution providers, and even product sellers. More so, before we can adopt any working business marketing strategy — from B2B, B2C, or even to C2B marketing.
Examples of C2B Marketing Techniques for Businesses
Technically, many businesses are looking for new ways to reach their target audience, but traditional marketing methods can be expensive and time-consuming. So, why should you bother adopting this model? It’s simple: You can save money on labor costs by using customer-generated content instead of hiring an expensive team as your competition does.
Growing businesses can use this type of marketing for many different purposes, such as generating leads from like-minded customers, increasing customer retention and satisfaction rates, and promoting new product launches with less overhead.
It also allows customers to make an informed decision about purchasing goods from your company without having any pressure from salespeople. The customer helps drive the business, the business listens to the customer, and everybody wins. Below are some C2B Examples that you can start leveraging almost immediately.
#1: Brand Awareness
One way that C2B relationships are helpful is when businesses have consumers help create brand awareness. Traditionally, press coverage highlighting new product launches and critical developments was critical for digital companies.
Writing a professional-quality press release can expand your reach by providing more ways to get published in media outlets. Heck, you can even use C2B to have a freelancer craft your press release. But even better than going through traditional channels could be getting your top consumers or so-called brand ambassadors creating a little digital buzz.
It’s becoming increasingly clear how powerful people’s voices can become as they share their opinions on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. According to the 2021 PEW Social Media Use report, 81% of U.S. adults use Youtube, and 69% favor Facebook, respectively, making them the most widely used online platform for Americans today.
In today’s economy, it is increasingly important for consumers to trust the brands they interact with. This trust increases with greater exposure from advertising on websites, blogs, YouTube videos, and more. Below are some of the key advertising channels that are so forthcoming.
Consider the following:
Some of the hottest C2B businesses focus on authentic connection and flexibility. Imagine tapping into a few key customers and their network of followers. The results of their post could grow your business exponentially overnight.
Give your customers opportunities like asking for assistance in social media exposure, invite them as VIPs to product launches or niche forums where they are likely to have to become evangelists with a small reward. The most common form of C2B is affiliate marketing or sponsored content by influencers or brand ambassadors.
#2: Consumer Reviews
Online reviews live forever, and these digital consumer snapshots can make or break a business instantly. Think about the last time you were going to make a purchase. Do you rely on reviews to make decisions as a consumer?
More businesses need this customer input right now because online ratings have become one of the top deciding factors for whether new buyers will choose any given brand over another. It’s not just enough anymore that you offer goods or excellent service at reasonable prices — these days every company needs positive words from the public to sell.
Branded Surveys is one of the world’s leading market research communities — while rewarding Internet users for their opinions! To start, all you’ll need is to answer a few simple questions about yourself. So that the web platforms may match your profile to a variety of their available surveys.
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Opinions might look like a dime a dozen, but some companies are willing to pay for yours. And, one thing is for sure, taking branded surveys for money is a fun and popular way to earn. After all, who doesn’t want to earn survey money for their opinions?
In terms of surveys, businesses are constantly looking for more data to drive their research and development of new offerings, as well as their marketing tactics. An effective way to gather that data is to have their target market fill out surveys. The incentives of consumers are to complete these surveys, and it’s possible to get more data.
Consider these C2B companies:
One of the defining aspects of C2B businesses is the ability to capitalize on a marketing model. For instance, simple, customer-based feedback, and much more. After all, what’s the better way to do this than asking for reviews?
Rewards for reviews don’t have to be monetary either. Brands can offer a whole slew of perks to customers who raise their reputations like discount codes, sweepstakes entries, extra capabilities inside your SaaS platform, or early access to new features.
#3: Freelancers, Contractors, and Gig Workers
In recent years, the freelance work industry has exploded. Freelancers can provide everything there’s to give, from a press release to an entire logo. More so, for clients who need assistance in these areas but are unable or unwilling to hire full-time employees.
And there’s no shortage of freelancers, either. According to the Freelancing in America report commissioned by Upwork and Freelancers Union, 57 million Americans. That’s 35% of the U.S. workforce — participating in freelancing projects back in 2019. And now, the numbers still continue to grow.
There are many C2B services that focus on helping freelancers or gig workers network with businesses. These companies make money by providing businesses with an extensive network of individuals who want to work with them. Businesses and independent contractors alike find it useful to make new connections and develop new working relationships.
Consider the following:
Companies such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Scripted are making it possible for freelancers to connect with potential employers. And even the ability for companies’ needs tracklements — for fast and thorough projects. Upwork and Fiverr wouldn’t even exist today — not without the customer’s supply (freelancers’ services). As well as its overall businesses demand.
#4: Royalty-Free and Licensed Photography
Piggybacking off marketing contractors and freelance copywriters are photographers. Businesses like Shutterstock and Unsplash depend upon user-generated photography to keep their profit margins high. You can consider one of the many PayPal Alternatives if you prefer to use a different digital wallet or payment platform.
Freelance and professional photographers – business owners in their own right — choose to offer their stylized images for a fee. Not only helping the image hosting sites thrive but benefiting other businesses in need of stock imagery as well.
In this way, both the royalty-free image websites and the businesses benefit. Particularly, those looking to utilize photography in their blogs, social media, or marketing campaigns. And through this, the photographer who composed and captured the image benefit from the C2B business model.
#5: Grow Your Business
Growing your C2B business requires dedication and a few special skills. “B2B typically relies on its sales function and account management team to establish and strengthen customer/client relationships,” Walker said.
According to Walker, there’s more to companies’ interest in the extension of their models to reach a C2B audience. They should lookout for an array and variety of marketing tools. More so, if they’d want more results for their overall C2B Marketing strategy.
Consider the following:
- Market research (quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews, segmentation)
- Consumer feedback channels, such as rating and reviews, customer service lines, and avenues for suggestions or comments
- Social media, such as online user communities, Facebook pages, and Twitter followings
Marketing may include advertising in trade journals, or even having a presence at conventions and trade conferences. As well as digital marketing (online presence, SEO, email outreach), and other traditional awareness efforts. Generally, C2B is a very new and growing segment of the business market.
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For this reason, it can either function as a company’s entire business model or augment an already-successful venture. As with all business models, your company’s success will depend on your understanding of the marketplace. In addition to your willingness to pursue new technologies that make reaching your customers easier than ever.
Pursuing a C2B approach is a strategic choice and requires a commitment to involving the consumer in business decisions. This takes extra effort, resources, and discipline in avoidance of any internal focus. It’s also critical for a business to succeed in a consumer-driven marketplace.
C2Bs are relatively new to sorting out any underlying legal issues such as how to bill and receive money. A traditional company would pay wages to a limited group of employees, but C2B businesses might have to process credit card payments for thousands of customers.
Fortunately, intermediaries often take care of the financial and legal aspects of C2B transactions. Services like PayPal and Google Pay ease the burden of payment. Whereby, Google AdSense pays webmasters by sending them checks in U.S. dollars. While incurring shipping fees for Google and currency conversion fees for international users.
In nutshell, Business Marketing is the unending act of communicating with the general public and target audience. Especially, in a lucrative attempt to influence them towards visiting a certain web-based business. More so, in order to engage with the key service solutions they offer. Or even for them to buy the brand products.
For instance, you might communicate in person through direct selling or in a retail store. Particularly, through the internet, business websites, blogging sites, e-commerce platforms, and digital applications. As well as social media networks, email applications, or even Text Messaging Tools (like those of SMS marketing).
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