B2B Vs. B2C Marketing: How To Choose The Right Strategy For Your Business
While B2B and B2C marketing have some similarities, B2B marketers face a few specific challenges to address. B2B (business-to-business) marketing is distinct from B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing (B2C). Even though products are sold to a person, experience has shown a significant difference between these two types of markets. When marketing to a B2B audience, you’ll notice that companies strive to make the purchasing process as simple as possible to save time and money. It often explains why a B2B purchase is more rational while a consumer purchase is more emotional. The cost of a sale in the B2B market can be higher than a sale in the B2C market. The simplest way to explain this is that a B2B transaction typically requires more thought, more people, and more decision-makers. B2B clients are frequently required to demonstrate a Return-On-Investment (ROI) on their purchases.
Significant Differences Between B2B & B2C Marketing
B2C marketing, on the whole, is more product-driven and geared toward maximizing the value of each transaction. B2B marketing, on the other hand, is more concerned with the relationship between two businesses. The size of the target market is another important distinction, as B2C has a larger
target market than B2B, which is more focused. B2C websites, e-commerce platforms, and services will be much more familiar to you as a consumer. However, if your target market is other businesses, you may be more concerned with how you can interact and connect with them than with how the information is displayed to the rest of the world.
B2B & B2C: Targeting The Right Customers
As mentioned above, there are many important distinctions between B2B and B2C marketing. Companies that target B2B customers tend to focus on meeting the needs of businesses instead of individual consumers. This means that a company must be careful to understand its ideal customers and create a brand identity that reflects their values and preferences.
Likewise, a company that targets B2C consumers should focus on building relationships with its target customers while at the same time staying away from over-saturating them with information.
In general, B2B marketing is more formal than its counterpart. It’s necessary to keep the goals of other businesses in mind. For instance, B2C companies don’t always have to appeal to logic. Instead, they can appeal to the emotions of their customers. The best way to do this is to create a customer profile. This is
particularly useful in the case of online marketing. The differences between B2C and B2B marketing are vast, but it is crucial to remember that your B2C audience will be more educated and less likely to buy. For this reason, B2C marketers should always appeal to their emotions when targeting their audience. If you’re trying to sell a product to a business, try focusing on the emotional side of the customer instead of using logic.
How The Marketing Strategies Differ For B2B & B2C
The following are a few ways the B2B and B2C marketing strategies differ for both
The first distinction is, of course, the target market of customers that a company is attempting to attract (businesses vs. individual consumers). Because B2B businesses’ offerings are typically more specific, their target audiences are similarly specialized. B2C companies, on the other hand, usually cater to a large number of customers. Because these businesses are typically retailers or consumer service businesses, they must cast a wide net to avoid missing out on a potential market.
While the digital marketing strategies and traditional marketing’s foundation emphasizes the importance of establishing trust, educating, and empowering customers, marketers’ primary focus often varies depending on the type of company they represent. B2B companies primarily focus on generating leads by providing educational resources to potential customers and cultivating relationships. This type of marketing is “logic-focused” because it provides customers with the information they need to make an informed purchase. B2C companies, with their typically less complex products, are ultimately focused
on making a sale. It’s less about education and more about forging an emotional bond with customers to persuade them to buy your goods or services. While relationship building is always important in marketing, it is less of a priority due to the shorter sales cycle in B2C.
The complexity of the product or service a company is trying to sell and the length of the sales cycle influence the marketing campaign’s focus. The longer the sales cycle, you have to educate customers and cultivate relationships to increase brand loyalty. This is most common among B2B marketers, who promote more complex, expensive, and less frequently purchased products. B2C marketers must quickly attract attention and educate customers while still providing a pleasant shopping experience. We make multiple purchases from B2C companies every week, if not every day, so we don’t have time to carefully consider all of our options.
For added convenience, customers want a variety of distribution channels (both retail stores and e-commerce sites), so you’re faced with the challenge of providing a consistent experience across multiple platforms.
Marketing automation is the lifeblood of B2B marketing. B2C companies, on the other hand, are turning to automation to make better use of their data and provide what their customers want. Understanding your audience is critical for both business models, as marketing is constantly evolving.
There is no one-size-fits-all business model or marketing strategy. Your needs and objectives will determine what you use, but understanding your audience’s needs and motivations is the foundation of any good marketing strategy.
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What is the difference between B2B and B2C marketing?
The main difference between B2B and B2C marketing boils down to who you are directing your
marketing. There are many nuances to capturing the right tone, mood and offering the right kind of
incentives for buying from your business.
Business to business (B2B) marketing involves pitching your product to other companies who may be
looking for ways to make efficiencies and solve problems in their day-to-day workflow or open new
avenues of revenue. It may also involve relationship building over time, as you make inroads
towards additional streams of income from the same company for different products and services.
Key messaging for B2B takes a narrow focus on what your product can do for their business.
Examples of B2B products include:
Project management software like Workfront
Cloud storage like Dropbox
Web communication tools like Slack
In 2019, the global B2B eCommerce market size was valued at $5.7 trillion and is expected to rise at
a compound annual growth rate of 17.5 percent through 2027.
Business to consumer (B2C) companies sell to everyday customers. The net you cast for B2C
marketing is much wider than B2B, taking in a greater range of demographics, socioeconomic
groups, and tastes.
For that reason, B2C marketing takes a much broader approach to its messaging and targeting.
Tones of voice, channels of communication and incentives to buy are likely to differ between
campaigns and products much more than they do for B2B marketing.
A March 2021 report estimates the global B2C eCommerce market size is anticipated to reach $6.2
trillion by 2027. This is as companies selling direct to the consumer continue to focus on tweaking
impulse buys, as well as growing customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
The customer bases are very different between B2B and B2C companies and need two different
B2B marketing vs B2C marketing.
For both B2B and B2C audiences, marketers strive to deliver an authentic, customer-centric
experience to the buyer. However, the approach for each audience is unique, since individual
consumers have different purchasing behaviors, attitudes, and needs than business buyers.
Here are five examples of how B2B and B2C marketing are different and the common challenges
marketers face in either space.
B2B buyers require a more hands-on relationship than a B2C buyer. B2B prospects may need to
convince multiple internal stakeholders that your solution is not only necessary, but worth the price
Anticipate that you’ll need to spend more time to acquire a B2B buyer, but potentially more money
to acquire B2C customers. B2C customers are inundated with ads, so it takes substantial time, effort,
and spend to make your product stand out from the crowd. When you do catch a consumer’s
attention, you’re more likely to get a quick sale.
B2B: Targeting the right personnel.
When you’re targeting B2B customers, remember that they want to look like an expert. Helping
buyers get credit for purchasing a tool that saves their team time and money should be among your
Start developing a relationship with a B2B buyer by serving up relevant thought leadership content.
This can form part of your wider content marketing strategy to target those clients.
Focus on logic and education. B2B marketing concentrates on deepening customer knowledge of a
product rather than playing on their emotions. Empower your customers to speak intelligently about
the value of your product.
Make the most of the long B2B buying cycle by getting to know where your buyer sits in their
organization. Ask yourself:
Who do they need to convince?
What is important to them?
From there, create pointed marketing materials that speak to who your buyer is and what they and
their bosses care about. In doing so, B2B marketers ensure that prospects can persuade their boss of
the ROI of a purchase. Buyers will also remember you as a helpful resource each time a contractor
renewal period comes up.
B2C: Seamless personalized customer journey.
While B2C customers can be loyal to certain brands, they also prioritize quality and value, wanting to
satisfy their needs at a good price. As such, consumers often want to find a solution to their problem
This translates to you needing to ensure a seamless digital customer experience. The minute
something doesn’t work on your website, potential customers will give up and leave.
Don’t overwhelm your B2C customers with newsletters and blog posts. They’re accustomed to a
more transactional relationship. That said, consumers do want to know that you understand their
issues or desires and will deliver on their expectations.
Personalize your marketing so it shows you understand customer priorities, then push them to visit
your site and convert. You can suggest related products in search results, and recommend relevant
products and services based on their past interactions with your site.
One way to do this is to encourage customers to write reviews by offering discount codes or store
credit. Not only do reviews attract more prospects to your site, but they also give you valuable
The time it takes for a consumer to buy is often dramatically shorter than a business, because there
are far fewer decision makers or stakeholders involved. It’s worth remembering that some large
consumer purchases, such as furniture or a home, may have a longer sales cycle, however.
For the most part, B2B buying cycles will be longer than B2C buying cycles. Know what your average
buying cycle is and design your digital marketing accordingly.
B2B: Satisfy several stakeholders.
Selling to other businesses takes time, as there are many more people you’ll need to cater to. In fact,
the people who might understand your product the best may not be the people paying for it.
B2B marketing requires a tailored, multi-step marketing plan specific to each stakeholder. Find ways
that your product can fit into the company’s upcoming strategic goals, and make sure you
understand your prospect’s complex procurement process.
This helps you create content that’s unique to each stage of the buying cycle. Consider presenting
user cases that demonstrate the long-term value of your product or the way your product can
benefit multiple parts of your customer’s business.
Also be conscious of the words your prospects use. Describe your product or services using their
terminology to show that you know and can speak their language.
B2C: Marketing to meet an impulse.
Since consumers usually know what they want and need before they buy, you have limited time to capture and hold their attention. Make sure that you have fantastic SEO – you must be at the top of search engine page results.
Make your ad copy:
To the point
Your consumers are on a mission, so don’t interrupt that with lengthy distractions during their customer journey with you. Once your consumer buys, you can suggest other products they might like based on their preferences. Alternatively, you could send them discounts for add-ons that supplement the products they already own.
Knowing your audience is probably one of the first things you learn in any marketing class. That’s because it’s vitally important to a successful marketing campaign. A B2B audience responds to very different messaging than a B2C audience. Each group has a distinct motivation that marketers need to address.
B2B: Offer a good fit for your customer.
Once you determine the different stakeholders and how to market to them, your product will be subject to a variety of tests to prove it’s a good fit. When selling your product to a business, you need to pass a buyer’s security requirements.
Some examples of this include:
The prospects’ end users needing to evaluate your product
Procurement teams having to assess your product
Leadership needing to free up budget to buy your product
With B2B, you need to market to every person involved in the buying decision. Be ready to give each
party the right information at the right time. You should:
Put together case studies with quantitative information
Gather impressive testimonials
Prepare to share other customers’ contact information for references
Exceeding expectations at each stage of the buying process is key to making B2B sales.
B2C: Build trust in an instant.
The most powerful ads make you think about how much a product could affect or improve your life. Whether your consumers buy your product immediately or a few days later, ads that make your
prospects feel something can cause them to pull the trigger.
Some ways in which you can do this include:
Posting testimonials on your website to get your consumers to trust that your product is legitimate.
Sharing a glowing review on one of your ads or feature everyday people who make using your product look easy or fun.
Show up where your consumers are, whether that’s on social media, email inboxes, or on search engines.
Consider using influencer marketing to extend your reach even further. In your content, provide
clear and effective copy on every ad and landing page and make it easy for customers to make
purchases by adding obvious buttons or links.
The way you communicate can really impact the way your message is received. Using casual
language with business professionals would be jarring, while using more formal word choice could
make consumers feel unfamiliar or disconnected. Be conscious of who you are talking to and what
their vernacular is.
B2B: Emphasize the ROI.
The professional community is looking to buy from companies that show proficiency in what they
do. B2B marketers must appeal to the rational side of each stakeholder’s mind and make B2B buyers
confident that they are making a good investment.
Consequently, B2B marketing content tends to be focused on ROI. There are a few ways you can
Create long and short-form content that showcases your business’s expertise and the return
on investment in your product.
Develop case studies that are particularly effective at highlighting how your product or
service saves buyers’ money, resources and time.
Host webinars, events, or workshops to give buyers insight into the many ways your
product can be applied in their business.
Shoot short-form videos that can enlighten viewers on how your product stands out in a
succinct, digestible way.
Sometimes, B2B marketers will even compare a product to its competition, to underscore its best
features. No matter the method, it’s important to clearly state why your product is better than
anything else, and how your product can deliver an incredible return on investment.
B2C: Keep it simple.
Consumer messaging needs to be relatable and casual, but don’t include overly trendy buzzwords or
jargon. This may confuse the reader or make your brand seem like it’s trying too hard.
That being said, brands should adopt a unique voice and inject some humor into their content where
possible. This makes your audience feel like they know you personally and will make them more
likely to trust that you know what they need.
Make the benefits of your product obvious and point out how quickly it can be in the consumers’
hands. Make sure your consumers can purchase straight from an ad and check out in minutes.
Content and advertising.
As you might expect, the form of advertising and focus for content should vary between B2B and
B2C as well. Where B2B content is often more detailed, B2C content cuts to the chase. B2C content
is frequently more fun and light-hearted, while B2B adopts a more serious, no-nonsense tone.
B2B: Provide the information they need.
B2B customers want to feel that you know what is important to them. Give these buyers a sense of
what their life will be like when they have your product.
How will it change their day-to-day?
What other projects might they be able to work on with their extra time?
Providing actual numbers like hours or cost saved can help your buyer put together a compelling
business case for buying your product. B2B software companies can also arrange demos or a trial
period to prove that their product works the way they’ve promised.
Rather than spam B2B customers with ads, you want to access them in more subtle, sophisticated
ways. Publish long-form, informative articles on subjects tied to your product with a soft-sell at the
end. Make sure that these pieces are created with SEO in mind, so your pieces may be found among
the top results when a B2B buyer is researching on search engines.
Other ways to engage with your B2B audience are to host webinars or publish reports. These
channels can establish your company as a thought leader in the space, provide opportunities to
obtain their contact information, and instill confidence in your customer.
B2C: Build trust and add the ‘wow’ factor.
Since consumers already know what they are looking for, you should always try to find quick, fun
ways to present the benefits of your product or service. Your B2C ads should ‘wow’ customers into
making a purchase, and at the same time, your brand and voice should be consistent and
recognizable. Consistency and familiarity build trust, and trust keeps customers coming back.
Think about the string of words consumers would use to find your product or similar products. Use
those keywords in your ads, blogs, and product pages to rank in the search results. The closer you
are to the top, the closer you are to getting consumers on your site versus a competitor’s site.
Frequently asked questions about B2B vs B2C.
What is more complex, B2B or B2C?
Depending on the product or service you’re offering, either B2B or B2C could be the more complex
sell. While B2B focuses on developing relationships and proving your product’s viability, B2C requires
you to get into the head of the consumer and offer a can’t-miss opportunity.
What do B2B and B2C stand for?
B2B means business-to-business, while B2C means business-to-consumer. Each type of marketing
has its advantages over the other in terms of the effort put in, but they are radically different
approaches that marketers must consider as they promote their products and services.
Can you be B2B and B2C at the same time?
While a company can easily sell to both consumers and other businesses within the same four walls,
you shouldn’t expect to be able to achieve both goals using identical marketing methods. There are
markedly different ways to present your product which will resonate with one but not necessarily
Optimize your B2B and B2C marketing strategies.
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