The Customer to business marketing model is a relatively new concept and it was possible because of the power that companies place in the hands of today’s customers. It is also known as the C2B model. It is diametrically opposed to business-to-customer, as the end customers create products and services which are consumed by businesses and organizations. Customer to business or C2B involves e-commerce type of business which came into existence due to Internet, which made possible the relationship between customer and business.
The customer of today wants control to feel that he or she is the one that decides which brand to buy or which product to prefer. As the internet grew in popularity, the trend accelerated giving more power to people to share and express their freedom. The decreasing cost of technology gave customers access to networking that was once available only to large companies.
Likewise, the very characteristic of Internet of being a bidirectional network, allowed customers to become their own businesses. Therefore, those who have something to offer to companies, actively contact the enterprises via internet and raise questions or suggestions that can be used for improving or marketing their products or services.
As an example of a customer to business model is a customer’s blog which links back to the product placed on the company’s website thereby facilitating the sale. In this case, the author might receive compensation from a successful sale. Sites like Imagebazaar.com enable individual photographers to sell stock images to businesses. In many such cases, stock photo agencies purchase photos from private photographers, typically on a contractual basis.
It is important to note that the customer to business model is possible only in online marketing and not in other forms of marketing.
The C2B model involves three actors:
The customer – who can be any individual with something to offer, either a good or a service. Depending on the model, the customer can be met under one of these names:
- webmaster or blogger
- any individual answering a poll
- any individual with connections who offers job hiring through referral hiring sites
The business – is represented by any business or company which purchases goods from an individual (the customer) through intermediaries. Examples of companies which can be such clients:
- companies which need to advertise online
- advertising agencies which need to buy stock photos
- companies which would like to hire (through referral hiring sites)
The intermediary – usually it is a portal which is used both by the businesses (buyers) and individuals (sellers). The intermediary is an essential element between the buyer and the seller. This portal can link one buyer with many sellers.
The primary roles of an intermediary is to promote the goods and services that the individuals plan to sell and proposes a distribution channel for sending them. It also offers the sellers services like large promotion, technical expertise or logistics. A second role is that of offering buyers contact to a mass of individuals and also considers the legal aspects of money transactions. Examples of these intermediaries are Google Adsense or Google Adwords. However, some intermediaries prefer to create two different access portals, one for buyers and one for sellers.
The intermediaries can also be classified into two categories:
- Extern intermediary – is the one who acts as an agent between buyer and seller (like the referral hiring site)
- Intern intermediary – is basically the business itself, which through an affiliated program pays the seller directly.
In a C2B model, the seller or the individual is not the only one who has to make efforts for selling his or her products, but the businesses also have to develop some skills if they want to reach C2B audience and choose the best product or service. Therefore they should consider marketing tools like market research, customer feedback channel, comments or suggestions from customers, social media. Adopting a C2B approach requires extra effort and resources, but involving the customer in business decisions is essential for today’s customer-driven market.