B2C vs B2B: What’s the difference?

15 Jun B2C vs B2B: What’s the difference?


The process of building marketing strategies

B2B and B2C marketing both engage people to sell them a service or product, in that they both need appeal to emotion. So what sets the two models apart? This article will uncover the similarities and discuss that which distinguishes the two models, to better understand the crafting of marketing strategies for each purpose. 

What is B2B marketing? 

B2B, or – Business-to-business, is a type of venture that sells to other businesses. B2B transactions may take place when a business acquires operational solutions, professional services, or products from another company. B2B commerce tends to involve long professional deliberations, a chain of decision-makers, negotiation, and long-term contracts.  

 What is B2C?

B2C, or – Business-to-consumer, is a model that refers to a transaction between the business to one, sometimes two individual consumers. A popular example of this model is in online retail: we’re all familiar with online shopping, whether it may be clothes, books, technology, grocery shopping, and the list goes on.       

Given that the consumer is ultimately an individual, the decision is mostly made by one person, or two. Consumers research the product or service before making their final decision; however, the sales cycles are quicker than those of the B2B world.   

Retail clothes shop as a sample of B2C marketing model

B2B and B2C Marketing – Main Differentiators

  • Target audience precision and volume

B2C businesses tend to target large market segments, while B2B is the art of appealing to a more exclusive segment. Since they deal with people’s personal lives, B2C products have a larger audience (although still segmented); while effective B2B targeting, on the other hand, has its audience precisely handpicked. For B2B, only specified decision-makers within specific industries are sought out.

For instance, Project management software solutions might target industries that require the tool for their business operations; drilling down to relevant job roles that can impact the decision if the solution fits their needs will narrow the audience even more – concentrating on project managers and heads of operations.

  • B2B has longer sale cycles, with more weighing into the decision

B2C decisions are often based on 2 key factors: product features and costs. The decisions are normally made by one or two people. Customers go through a process of comparing product options and narrowing them down to a few providers, according to quality, warranty terms (depending on the type of product or service), and prices. Decision-making might be influenced by friends, family, or customer reviews along the way; yet reaching conclusion might take weeks at the most, if the expense is fairly large.

The B2B process progresses at a slower pace. The professionals making the decision will be held accountable for any action that may impact the organization, for the better or for worse. A B2B transaction usually legally binds the two parties together by contract for a long period of time, costing the company money that needs to be justified as an investment that will be returned, as well as benefit it. Considering the high stakes, such decisions are not taken lightly and require evaluation time, which involves in-depth learning about the product or service, evaluating and predicting benefits and risks, and negotiations. Closing a deal will necessitate long deliberations that climb up a ladder of executives until reaching its final conclusion.

  • Marketing strategy and the nature of the content

B2C marketing focuses on content that is fun and to the point. Customers expect the convenience of reading short, clear texts, to conveniently provide enough broad information to help reach a decision. Customers expect an easy customer experience, enabling to efficiently choose their product, understand how it can meet specific expectations or answer a need, learn about subscriptions and memberships, or find out about sales and discounts; all information provided through accessible channels and conveniently displayed, to help make a decision and convert into a customer.

A B2B customer expects to be enriched and educated on as much as there is to know about the product. In this model, marketing should not hold back on any valuable information. B2B marketing engages in a customized manner, yet with a professional tone, to acknowledge the Prospects’ pain points needing to be solved and empathize with them.

The content consists of bringing across powerful, credible material, conveying the product’s unique value. The channels are endless and vary depending on the type of audience. To name a few: sharing different assets (articles, brand video, etc.), email marketing, organic posts on various social platforms, and/or boosting them. Businesses base their decisions on how the solution is able to leverage success and show ROI; requiring marketers to clearly address the profitability issue. 

A potential customer searching products or service in the internet

B2B and B2C Marketing – Common Denominators

However different, all marketing is ultimately aimed at people and all people have emotional triggers and personal preferences, which are very important for a great marketing process. Neglecting the similarities between B2B and B2C when marketing, is like forgetting an ingredient of a pie – yes, it has more, but it still needs that nutmeg. 

  1. Some businesses can model both B2B and B2C. For instance, sportswear and sports gear brand might distribute weights and running shoes in bulk to sports clubs, gyms, and stores while also selling to individuals. The marketing strategy that will appeal to each sector will differ, but some similarities might help – they’re all about getting stronger, aren’t they?

  2. An emotional appeal is essential in both models. Be it in a personal or professional capacity, all people deal with fears and needs, which are never to be looked over. All the more, those natural feelings should be considered when appealing to a client’s motivations, as well as engaging through genuine empathy.

  3. Establishing relationships on trust. Identifying the right buyer personas to best provide valuable information lies in the basis of good marketing practices. Although the execution for the 2 models varies (as well as amongst themselves), they are both based on this common objective: reaching the right prospect with the correct message. Offer users various channels to contact you (online chat, WhatsApp, Facebook, email just to name a few), top-notch customer support, and of course – reliable content in your field. The easier you make it for your prospects and customers, the more they’ll rely on you.

Motivations that lead to decision-making

All decisions, personal or professional, are based on emotion. However, in B2C, rational motivations take their course on a personal, financial level only, without fear of the purchase would impact a broad group. B2B decision-makers need to give rational explanations for their actions and justify them. The motivation is fueled by the financial aspect and having ROI at the focal point. A group of professionals is involved in the decision, contributing their skills to make a decision to benefit their company. Forge connections, foster respect, and never neglect the personal point of view.