As the new year begins, PerformanceIN continues its annual tradition of connecting with performance marketing experts to get their single biggest prediction for the industry in 2017.

In this piece, Ellie Hubble, senior writer at Ve Interactive, explains what the relationship between B2B and B2C campaigns will look like this year.

When it comes to compelling marketing campaigns, B2C brands have historically had the upper hand. Yes, there are always exceptions, but B2C stalwarts like Coca-Cola, Oreo and Starbucks have consistently dominated the marketing space, monopolising consumer attention while the B2B counterparts have played second fiddle.

But this is changing and will continue to change dramatically in 2017. B2B brands are bridging the gap. In 2016, Adobe cleverly adapted to demonstrate its relevancy, engage users and shift buyer perception, while Norton demonstrated the power of its offering by creating the award-winning film, The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet.

The cliché that ‘fun’ marketing is reserved solely for the big B2C brands while B2B businesses must stick to dry and professional is coming to an end. The customer must always dictate the content and it’s up to us marketers to respect this and provide the experience they want.

But is this all too reductive? And is it fair to lump B2B and B2C together or pit them against each other when it comes to marketing? Well, yes and no. The lines between what constitutes a B2B and B2C brand are blurrier than ever. And this is a good thing.

Articles everywhere offer best practice tips on how to market for B2B or B2C, but this is putting the brand first. In my opinion, it should always be the customer who comes first when it comes to marketing. What do they want? What do they need? What do they enjoy? People don’t neatly fit into the category of B2B or B2C, so they shouldn’t be marketed to as such.

As Larine Urbina, communications manager at Tetra Pak US and Canada, rightly asserts: “Whoever you’re marketing to, even in the B2B space, everyone’s a consumer and you need to keep it interesting.”

2017 will be the year that the idea of B2B and B2C segmentation becomes less important, whilst the principle that the user comes first in marketing will not just be the ideal, but the norm.