The Difference Between B2B & B2C Marketing

Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers aim to capture the attention of two distinct audiences. And although there are many similarities between these types of marketing, how they engage audiences on each channel is quite different.

Before going into the marketing aspect, we need to understand the difference between these two sectors.

What is B2B vs B2C?

B2B stands for business-to-business. It describes businesses whose customers are other businesses. This means that their marketing is committed to the needs, interests, and challenges of customers who are making purchases on behalf of their organization. Here are a few examples of B2B in action:

  • Construction Companies purchasing building materials to build industrial buildings
  • Computer Software companies selling business software such as accounting, digital marketing tools (social media management, design software, etc.)
  • Manufacturing companies such as mining vehicles & components, Robotics, tools etc.

B2C stands for business-to-consumer. It describes businesses whose customers are individual consumers, rather than professional buyers. In this case the businesses’ marketing is dedicated to the needs, interests, and challenges of people in their everyday lives. Here are a few examples of B2C in action:

  • Retail stores selling everyday items such as toothpaste, bread and milk
  • Medical Industry such as dentists, GP’s, Physios etc.
  • Car dealerships, Cleaning companies and even private schools would be considered B2C

Of course, the lines between B2B and B2C can intersect at times and the same company might have both B2B and B2C initiatives happening at once.

A Real Estate agency that offers both residential and office spaces for businesses (a B2B service) will offer houses for home buyers (a B2C service). An oral care company that sells toothbrushes, toothpaste, and mouthwash to individuals (a B2C service) might also sell its products to dentist offices (a B2B service).

B2B customers want to be educated.

B2B customers often want to look like the workplace heroes thanks to their excellent decisions. For them to make good decisions, however, they need to have the right knowledge of the products they’re browsing. If you can help your audience think critically about the industry, and make them more skilled professionals in the process, you’ll ensure they make a purchase decision they don’t regret later.

Detailed content is required.

B2B customers expect to be “catered to” by sales and marketing teams. So, to build on the third tip, above, feel free to add details to your content that a B2C buyer might find trivial or unimportant. What can it do for a business? What can’t it do for a business? What does the customer need to know to be successful with your product?

B2B marketers have a much longer chain of command to deal with.

Procurement, accounting, and department heads often need to approve purchases in B2B situations. While an individual B2C customer typically makes their own speedy purchase choices, even with the help from family and friends. B2B customers need to escalate every decision to someone else before any money changes hands. At the end of the day, it’s not about marketing to an individual when it comes to B2B, you’re marketing to everyone who has a say in the buy.

The B2B buying cycle is often much longer than the B2C decision process.

B2B marketing requires more lead nurturing and close attention to the user experience. Because these decisions are meant to complete long-term goals for a company, the process that company goes through when evaluating your product is much more complex. Patience is key when dealing with B2B.

A contract for a B2B purchase tends to last months or even years.

B2B purchases are often ongoing. This makes it a much more significant decision for a client, and B2B marketers need to be mindful of that. Consider the long-term projects for which your audience will want to use the product. When will the product’s various features kick in? How will the user’s needs evolve over time?

B2C Marketing

A B2C consumer following your brand isn’t necessarily looking to build a close relationship with it.

B2C buyers can be just as loyal to your brand as a business customer, of course, but their investment in you is likely not as deep as your investment in them. With that in mind, be careful how much content you deliver to your past B2C customers, and be okay with the ones who might follow you on social but don’t subscribe to your blog or visit your website.

Marketers can’t throw around industry jargon.

When it comes to brand voice, the simpler the better. Brands must be at their most relatable in the B2C community — meaning fewer buzzwords and (usually) a less formal attitude. The industry lingo you throw around among your colleagues might demonstrate expertise to a business customer, but it’s a major turnoff to an individual. Roughly 83% of consumers specifically prefer an informal tone in video content.

B2C purchases are more emotionally driven.

People buy with the hearts more often than their minds. B2C customers are much more dependent on their gut when deciding to buy something. Because these people don’t answer to someone else when making a purchase, a brand that tells an uplifting story about someone who benefited from the product can be all the persuasion they need.

You need a fun factor.

B2C customers are highly invested in their own enjoyment when buying for themselves rather than a business they work for. Sure, everyone wants products that make their lives easier, but the average B2C audience is far more interested in fun. You can still educate consumers but use it to entertain your audience.

Bottom line? B2B and B2B marketers have distinctive problems.

Often, the largest problem that B2B marketers have is a lack of content and time to create it. This differs from B2C marketers who would rather have a bigger advertising budget and other ways to spread the word about their products.

It is essential for marketing professionals to understand that efforts designed to take advantage of the difference between B2B and B2C marketing will find more success when reaching leads. However, at the end of the day, no matter which side of the B2B or B2C divide a marketer works on, all marketing is P2P (person to person).

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