January 26, 2016
Consumer to business marketing or C2B is a term that is often used to represent a new form of marketing in which the consumer or the customer can provide data, inputs or ideas to the seller regarding the products or service preferences, likes and dislikes. This enables the businesses to understand what the consumer needs and, in turn, makes way for introducing such products or services. Diverging from the usual model of business to consumer (B2C) marketing, C2B paves way for businesses to derive value from their customers. For example, in this model, a customer can name the price of the product at which he could buy, share, or recommend the product on various social media platforms in exchange for a reduced price or free products from the company.
For a C2B model to succeed, a business will need to have the ability to process the huge amount of product related data generated by consumers. This is where Big Data Analytics comes in to play. With recent advancements in the IT field, new Big Data Analytics techniques like predictive analysis have been introduced, which enable the businesses to determine how the customers’ preferences may change in the future.
How the consumer wields all the power
The rise of the consumer to business marketing model has been made possible due to the enormous increase in the amount of data originating from consumers on various platforms like social media, blogs, videos, podcasts and personal websites. With the increase in Internet usage and, as a result, in the amount of data, big data analytics comes into play. These techniques are used to extract meaningful information out of the huge amounts of data, that allow businesses to derive insights from their customers in different ways that were unimaginable in past. Thus, in the current scenario, it is evident that having a good strategy with the consumer at its core is essential for the success of a business. This is apparent from recent successes of companies like Xiaomi and Alibaba that were able to penetrate into new markets and scale up their businesses. Both these companies relied heavily on what the customer has to say and incorporated their ideas and feature requests in to their products and services.
Role of Big Data Analytics
In the context of a C2B model, big data is obtained from the countless number of websites with consumer reviews and product information present on social networks and blogs. All this data can be analyzed using techniques such as predictive and statistical analysis to gain information, which indicates the opinions of customers regarding specific products. With improvements in analytics and data mining techniques, it is now becoming possible to identify which groups of people are more likely to use a certain kind of product or service. Modern analytics techniques allow businesses to segregate their customers for a specific product based on income range, age, gender, country or region and the type of business they are involved in. All the valuable information that is obtained from Big Data analytics can drive the creation of specific marketing strategies to target certain groups of people to improve the sales or revenue.
Evolution of Customer to Business Model
Traditionally, marketing strategies were based on the business to consumer model. In this model, the business made advertisements, offered discounts or freebies for a specific period and provided other kinds of incentives for the customer to buy their products. But in the new digital era, this model is gradually beginning to lose its shine because the modern customer is checking online for reviews and other customers’ experiences with the product before making the purchase. Companies such as Google are using Big Data Analytics to provide Internet users with the exact information they require, thus allowing them to make informed decisions. This model of business is now creating unforeseen circumstances for businesses because more information is available to the customer.
The Customer to Business (C2B) model has evolved from a business to business model, which used tools such as Customer Relationship Management or CRM to obtain information about the customers and the problems that they might be facing. This was expanded to include information about customer preferences and other such data until it evolved into the C2B model. In a C2B model, a customer with a huge following on social networks or a popular website can also offer to market or endorse products belonging to a business for a certain price depending on the outreach. Big Data analytics reports also show the percentage of successful sales conversions from such blogs and websites are increasing exponentially. Most importantly, in a C2B model, the customer can dictate what he wants in a product. The customer, powered by the information delivered by big data analytics, now has more control over the relationship with the businesses. Big data can help an average customer to discover information present on the Internet regarding a certain kind of product and can compare different offerings from different manufacturers. Ultimately, the company that has the product with features desired by the consumer stays in the top slot.
A number of products like software, movies, music and games can now be downloaded directly over the Internet without the need for purchasing physical media. This enables the content creators to allow the customers to try their product or enjoy it for a limited amount of time to determine if they like it before making a purchase. This creates a more customer-centric sales policy resulting in a positive environment for prospective customers that, ultimately, helps boost sales. Many businesses also use big data to determine the content customers prefer based on their activities on websites and social networks and then display it to them. Similarly, free-to-use software and free-to-play games also make use of the C2B model by allowing customers to purchase various additional features depending on their requirements. This indicates the features that are most popular in the software or game and allows companies to develop or enhance those features to attract customers.
C2B based on user-generated content
Companies like YouTube and Instagram depend entirely on user-generated content. Many entertainment productions like films and TV shows utilize user-generated content from these platforms and integrate it into their marketing campaigns to create advertisements that have a greater chance of success. A similar trend is also found in a number of games by encouraging the use of mods created by users to enhance the game content. These mods play a huge role in the popularity of the game and can improve its outreach, which is not possible through traditional marketing methods.
We are entering a new era powered by a digital revolution in which the old marketing methodologies are slowly fading away. In this new age, the consumer wields more power than anyone else and is able to dictate the course a business should take. Relying on the trends that are shown by big data analytics, many companies are now turning to technology consulting experts to select and deploy the right big data solutions to gain the insights needed to restructure their offerings to keep customer interest.
Silicus Technologies is a global enterprise solutions consulting, software development, and managed services company. With more than 400 professionals worldwide and offices in Houston, Atlanta, New York, San Jose, Columbus, and Pune, India, it has helped more than 200 enterprises, technology providers, and innovative startups transform their businesses using next generation software and data.