There is a fundamental difference between the way marketers operate in the B2B and B2C worlds. When it comes to B2B Marketing, all-in-one systems such as Hubspot and SalesForce are the standard, with almost all companies using one martech software solution exclusively to manage their entire process.
When it comes to B2C marketing, companies tend to favour employing multiple software systems and integrating them together instead of choosing an all-in-one approach. Why has the B2C world not, as of yet, embraced the more simple all-in-once approach, so effective, within the B2B world?
Databowl offers a complete set of core B2C marketing solutions in one system, including lead management, affiliate tracking, landing page builder and machine learning. We spoke to Databowl CEO Simon Delaney about the challenge of trying to introduce a new category to the way the entire B2C industry operates.
B2C marketers use multiple software systems while B2B marketers use only one. Why do you think that is?
Simon Delaney: To be entirely honest, I have no idea. Nor, it seems, does anyone else in performance marketing. I’ve asked a lot of people this question and it pretty much stumps them all. I speak to a lot of performance marketers and no one has been able to answer the question conclusively, but I have a few of my own theories.
B2C Marketers tend to grow their companies quite organically. So, say they started with just a lead management system and then at a later date wanted to incorporate affiliate tracking, they do this one at a time, integrating the specialist areas as they grow, organically. Maybe they began with a freelance designer building landing pages for them and eventually look to remove this cost by getting some landing page software, they license the third piece of kit. Then they want reports so they require a fourth. Before you know it, they’re having to run, operate and pay for four separate systems, or sometimes even more.
I think it’s also to do with the fact performance marketers can be thinking in the short term. A lot of the time the decisions they make are related to a particular project and they use one system that suits that particular project without thinking about the long term effects of that decision. Although the decision makes sense in the short term it can end up causing more problems down the line.
There is certainly an element of “It ain’t broke don’t fix it” to the thinking, but to be honest, I don’t get this. Just because something is working okay doesn’t mean it can’t still be massively improved. I guess there is a fear of impacting revenues in the short term which scares a lot of people from adopting a more efficient approach.
But, as I said, these are just theories. If someone has another theory I’d love to hear it, but I think it’s a great conversation to have.
What are the problems with using separate systems?
SD: There are loads of problems that switching to an all-in-one system would immediately solve. I’ll cover just a few.
- It costs far more to run separate systems. You’re paying for a bunch of license fees when you could be paying for just one.
- These separate systems were never designed to work together. You have to learn multiple interfaces, multiple ways of doing things, and by the very fact they are separate you get so many inefficiencies that you just don’t experience in the B2B world. Say you use Hubspot, everything is available in one place, yet for some reason, the B2C standard is to complicate everything.
- You have to integrate everything and there are companies which solely exist to make integration possible. This is yet another cost and another example of the bizarre nature of performance marketing. Not to mention the fact the more software you rely on the more chance there is of things going wrong. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes integration software can be an absolutely amazing and necessary tool when used in certain ways. But when it comes to using a landing page builder, affiliate tracking and lead management platform, why is it no one has actually put them together yet?
- It’s time-consuming to run multiple software systems. More work is required and it’s more difficult, not to mention having to learn each separate bit of software.
- Your process is less secure. There are more access points to your data, more and more people who you need to rely on, more room for things to go wrong. Again, if you look at B2B Marketing, even the biggest companies in the world tend to just use one system. And actually, the craziest thing is the B2C performance marketing world seems to not to even think about it. We seem to have settled on this one way of doing things and no one really questions why.
So what problems does an all-in-one system remove?
SD: Pretty much all the problems mentioned above. If B2C Marketers were to use a single system for their core performance marketing activities all those problems could be eradicated. An all-in-one approach means:
- You only need to learn one piece of tech.
- You only need to pay for one piece of tech.
- There are no complicated integrations for set up.
- The system is designed to work as a single entity, this means your landing page, your affiliate tech, your lead management and your reporting all works in sync together.
- You get far better reporting across your entire performance as it’s a lot easier to measure and judge everything from a single viewpoint as opposed to having to track and measure everything over different platforms.
- Ultimately, it makes it a lot easier to focus on growing your business rather than worrying about integrating your tech, trying to decipher where something fell down, or why the figures between your tech seem to be different. It essentially simplifies your process and makes your life a lot easier, allowing you to focus on the things that really matter to performance marketers…traffic and clients!
What is stopping people switching to an all-in-one B2C martech system?
SD: This is the ultimate question. We’ve asked so many people why they don’t use an all-in-one system, even in a theoretical sense, and they never seem to have an answer. As far as I can tell, the following are, to a certain extent, true:
- There is a fear of the unknown.
- There is general inertia – the kind that affects everyday life – that prevents people from making a switch.
- A lot of the time it’s the people “higher up” within a company making decisions without the relevant expertise of the people who are struggling to use multiple software every day.
- People are stuck in their ways.
- People don’t realise that there is another option available to them.
- Some people are like magpies and get attracted to new tech regardless of how well, or not it fits into their ecosystem.
BUT, as I say, I’ve asked a lot of performance marketers this question and they do all struggle to answer. Why is it the B2B world do things so differently and is there anything we can learn from them? We wanted to create an all-in-one platform – for the core performance marketing software – because we believe, for many reasons, it will revolutionise how the B2C industry operates.
Of course, B2C Marketers may need bolt-ons for specific tasks, but I do believe the core software of lead management, affiliate tracking and a landing page builder should be combined.
At the very least, I think it would be good to ask the question, why? Could there be a different way of doing things? Could there be a better solution?