Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies both share the same goal of generating revenue. However, the way in which they market is drastically different.
So you may ask yourself, “What’s the difference between B2B and B2C marketing?” And although this question could “technically” be answered by Googling a simple definition of both, you wouldn’t understand all the critical details that go into each type of marketing.
So sit back, relax, and allow us to explain the difference between B2B and B2C marketing.
What Is the Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing?
B2B companies, as the name suggests, sell their products or services to other businesses. Rather than targeting a group of people classified by their desires, a B2B company has to market based on the long-term challenges and interests of people who make purchasing decisions for their business.
B2B transactions tend to be more expensive than those that occur on the B2C market. As a result, the sales process for B2B is longer because it involves more people, consideration, and decision making.
B2B marketing focuses on the logic of the product being sold. Emotion is less involved in these types of purchases (though you should still include them in your marketing), and return-on-investment (ROI) is the primary way that products are rated.
B2C companies have a primary focus on selling to the individual. They market based on trends, needs, and challenges that are relevant to people in their normal, everyday life. The marketing of these products plays off emotion more than those of B2B, and the actual marketing message itself tends to be more concise.
B2C marketing is more overt in how it demonstrates the benefits of its products.
Examples of B2B and B2C Marketing
Due to the difference between B2B and B2C customers, there are thousands of different examples to help demonstrate the difference between the two types of marketing. Here are some of our favorites:
- A software development company advertising its new software that allows businesses to communicate more effectively in different time zones.
- A metal manufacturing company that creates custom parts for businesses that use the part in a larger product it’ll sell under its own brand name.
- An IT group that specializes in backing up and securing different companies’ data.
- A woman at a county fair sells custom-made bracelets to interested passers-by.
- A tech company develops a new programming software that is designed to teach individual codes.
- A video game company releasing its newest project.
What B2B and B2C Marketing Have in Common
Despite the many differences between B2B and B2C buyer behavior, they do possess some similarities.
For instance, it’s not uncommon for interior designers to accept projects from both businesses and individual customers. After all, the possibility always exists for a project to generate more revenue from an individual consumer rather than a business.
In other words, both B2B and B2C digital marketing tactics are implemented by REAL people. In both types of marketing,
- Trust needs to be built before a sale is made
- You need to communicate how what you’re selling can solve your customer’s problems and pain points
- Marketing works hand-in-hand with sales
- The customer journey must continue even after the sale is made
Key Traits for B2B and B2C Marketing
When it comes to the actual marketing of a product or service, B2B and B2C companies have some key traits that differentiate the two.
|B2B Marketing||B2C Marketing|
|Content||Content is logic-based, is educational, and focuses on helping the potential customer make a decision.||Content is flashy, short, and easy to read so that it doesn’t lose the attention of its viewers.|
|Marketing Tactics||Marketing tactics try to appeal to other businesses by emphasizing the time and money that could be saved using their product.||Marketing tactics try to appeal to consumers on an emotional level to help drive them toward purchasing the product or service sooner rather than later.|
|Target Audience||The target audience is typically niche, so content writing, ads, etc. are tailored around them.||Target audience tends to be broader, allowing for more freedom in how products are marketed.|
|Sales Cycle||Due to the long chain of command involved in a businesses’ ability to make purchases (and the dollar amounts at stake), the sales cycle tends to take months or even years to complete.||The primary focus is to make the sale. And since the sale is being made to an individual, the cycle can begin and end within the same day.|
Obviously, this table is not all-inclusive. Your company’s unique long- and short-term goals will affect your strategy.
So, How Is B2B Marketing Different From B2C Marketing?
Although the primary goal of any business is to make money, the way that B2B and B2C companies market is drastically different. To recap:
- Businesses sell to other businesses
- Typically involves detailed and educational content
- ROI matters
- Vendors can be contracted for years
- Longer chain of command = longer sales cycle
- Businesses sell directly to consumers
- Uses short, easy-to-read content
- Purchases are driven by emotion
- Promotes the features and associated lifestyle of products
- Shorter sales cycle (typically less than a few days)
In the end, the difference between B2B and consumer marketing has everything to do with the sales process and the type of content that is used to advertise.
While selling directly to consumers may allow companies to quickly generate revenue, B2B companies tend to focus on long-lasting relationships with their customers that grow and benefit both businesses over time. In other words, they’re perfect fits for inbound marketing!