What does B2B and B2C even mean? How does the method of marketing differ?

Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) marketers aim to capture the attention of two distinct audiences. And while there are many similarities between the types of marketing in general, driving prospects from each channel requires different communication approaches, especially on social media.

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1. Marketers can use industry jargon to excellent effect on B2B platforms, but on B2C, the voice must be at least relatable to the majority of consumers — meaning fewer buzzwords and (usually) simpler language.

2. Drivers matter. The B2B audience is seeking efficiency and expertise, while the consumer audience is more likely to be seeking deals and entertainment. Accordingly, the B2B purchase process tends to be rationally and logically driven, while consumer choices are typically emotionally triggered (whether by hunger, desire, status or cost).

3. B2B clientele want to be educated and provided with expertise. They often want to look like the workplace rock stars or heroes thanks to their excellent decisions. B2C customers just want to enjoy themselves, be happy with their purchase and have it adequately fulfill the needs mentioned in No. 2.

4. Highly detailed content is required for B2B marketing. It’s an audience that expects to be catered to by a sales and marketing team. On the other hand, B2C social media activities simply need to meet the basic needs of being useful, humorous and shareable, which admittedly, can be just as complicated.

5. Lengthy content tends to work for B2B since a brand or business has to prove its expertise and give its target audience a reason to buy in. Consumers tend to prefer something short and snappy, especially for lower-priced B2C products.

6. A B2C consumer following your brand isn’t necessarily looking to build a close relationship with it. Inversely, the B2B crowd wants information and the ability to build a close relationship with brands.

7. B2B marketers have a much longer chain of command to deal with since procurement, accounting and their superiors often need to approve purchases. On the other hand, an individual typically makes their own speedy B2C purchase choices — possibly with the slight influence of others via recommendations or suggestions.

8. The B2B buying cycle is often much longer than the B2C decision process. Therefore, it requires much more nurturing and close attention. B2C buys tend to satisfy immediate needs, while B2B decisions are meant to complete long-term goals.

9. A contract for a B2B purchase tends to last months or even years, making it a much more significant decision. On the contrary, the total B2C cycle can be as short as a few minutes depending on the product.

10. The two types of 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. Naturally, this has a significant effect on tactical executions.

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 -- despite the external differences.

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Originally published Nov 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM, updated May 02 2018


Marketing Strategy