B2B vs. B2C: What’s the Difference? - KM&A

An age-old question in the realm of marketing is what the difference between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) is. Are there changes needed for each marketing strategy? The simple answer – yes. While the two are similar in some capacity, the differences run deeper. Many businesses run B2B and B2C campaigns at the same time. However, the way the content is crafted is dissimilar between the two.

According to HubSpot, B2B marketing refers to any marketing strategy geared towards a business or organization. So, if your company sells products and/or services to other businesses, you would be considered a B2B company. Essentially, B2B marketing targets the needs, wants, interests, and challenges of individuals who make purchases on behalf of their organization, thus making the organization the customer. 

B2C marketing has some of the same tactics, just a different audience. B2C companies target the needs, interests, and challenges of individual consumers who are making purchases on behalf of themselves (the consumer). For any company, you want to encourage sales. As a B2C business, your marketing efforts should focus on the needs of the consumer. Ultimately, the strategy behind marketing to a business is different from how you would market to a potential consumer.  

Now you know the definitions of B2B and B2C, but what are the key differences between the two? Let’s dive in. First, your target audience changes depending on which type of business you are. B2B marketers work with and pitch to the decision-makers within an organization. Your focus is to get the internal business “leaders” on board with what you have to offer. B2C marketers sell directly to the consumers. You don’t have to worry about targeting retailers or anyone else down the supply chain. 

Second, B2B marketers focus on logic while B2C marketers focus on emotion. B2B marketers don’t have time to zero in on emotions. They only care about creating stories about the product/service and how it’ll help the business or organization. Consumers who are buying from B2C companies are interested in the emotional aspect. They care about the benefits and value of the service/product. Don’t worry about drawing out a long, boring story. Get down to the nitty-gritty. 

Lastly, the marketing costs are drastically different between B2B and B2C. It’s a lengthy process when targeting B2B customers. There’s a long chain of command that takes some time in the decision-making process, which means B2B marketers potentially spend a few extra dollars to close the deal. B2C consumers are prone to making quick, one-person decisions. Typically, less money is spent on those consumers to attain the results you desire.

How do you set yourself apart from other B2B and B2C businesses? Let’s look at a couple of well-known commercials and see what stands out. Intel is one of the more popular B2B companies with commercials. This commercial that Intel aired a few years ago explaining “our jokes aren’t like your jokes” has a humor aspect to it and gives us the idea that Intel has extreme attention to detail, which is something that is important for a computer processor. As far as B2C goes, look at Progressive’s “becoming your parents” campaign. Talking about insurance can be boring, we know that. By playing off of the idea that buying insurance indicates getting old, Progressive was able to make witty commercials to draw in viewers based on their fear of becoming their parents.

One of the most important things to remember is that buyers shop emotionally and justify the purchase afterward with logic, regardless of the type of business. Everyone does it – you, your kids, your parents, your neighbors. Here are a few areas you should focus on:

  • Know your WHY– Understand the purpose (the why) for your company’s existence. Your company’s story matters. It is this story that builds your brand. When you understand your “why,” your customers will know and trust your business.
  • Answer consumers’ questions – Does your digital footprint content answer questions that your audience is asking? You, the business, can answer critical questions that assist your audience. Additionally, focus on your SEO! Search engines view sites that give satisfying answers and create valuable insight.
  • Drive traffic & awareness – Regardless of if you’re a B2B or B2C business, you must adapt your marketing strategy appropriately based on your target market and size. Most of the time, consumers difficulty figuring out their own needs, and as a B2B or B2C business, it’s your job to help them. At the end of the day, consumers only care about the solution you offer to their needs and wants.

By focusing on these three key points, you’ll be sure to attract the right consumers, whether you’re B2B, B2C, or a combination of the two. In the end, each person you market to is a consumer. Be crisp in describing your offer and the outcome they will achieve from buying your product or service. 

Did we help refresh your memory? Remember these definitions and keep them in mind when planning your marketing strategy. Keep up with us on LinkedIn for more info and definitions to keep you up to date!

Comments are closed.