B2B Marketing vs B2C Marketing | 4 Key Differences
Updated: Apr 4
How well do you know your target audience?
According to the Marketo Engagement Gap report, more than half of consumers (56% to be exact) think that businesses don’t understand their needs as a customer. This means that roughly every other business markets a service or a product to the wrong target audience.
So, are you guilty of misunderstanding the needs of your audience in your marketing?
Sometimes, it may be as simple as breaking down your sales process to find your target audience and create a stronger marketing strategy.
The first step you should take to define your audience is to decide whether you are selling to other businesses or the end consumer.
Even though there are a lot of similarities between B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing, there are also four key differences between them. Knowing these differences will help you reach the right customers at the right time.
Promoting B2B Products vs. B2C
The first key difference between B2B and B2C is that B2B marketing targets companies that sell products or services, while B2C targets the end consumer.
Think of the difference between a company that sells cocoa beans to chocolate makers and a chocolate-making company that sells candy bars.
B2B marketing usually shows the advantages of the product or service and what its effects are on the business. B2B marketing uses different types of distribution methods to reach its target audience. Some of these include press releases, content marketing, paid advertising, SEO, webinars, or various promotions at trade shows.
B2C marketing, on the other hand, focuses on the entertainment aspect of the product or service. What kind of experience will the buyer have once in possession of the product, or how can the service improve their everyday life? B2C marketing uses similar distribution methods to reach the target audience, but the campaigns are less technical.
B2B Focuses on Long-Term Goals While B2C Focuses on Short-Term Goals
Using the same example of a company selling cocoa beans to chocolate factories and a chocolate-making company that sells candy bars, we can easily understand the difference in goals. A company selling cocoa beans needs to find a long-term partner who would buy its product, while a candy bar company needs to sell its products as fast as possible to hundreds or thousands of buyers. It’s clear that the cocoa beans factory has a long-term goal, while the candy bar company has a short-term goal.
Creating SMART goals is important in every business. However, most B2B businesses have longer sales cycles compared to B2C businesses. With long-term arrangements, both profits and costs can be expected and it’s much easier to plan future investments and maintenance.
Since social media is where 55% of B2B buyers search for information and 84% of CEOs and VPs make purchasing decisions, social channels are crucial for distributing your B2B content!
B2C marketing tends to focus on short-term goals - selling a new spring collection, promoting a short-term offer, or one particular service or product to the end consumer. Storefront branding is one of the most popular strategies, especially when it comes to retail stores. Visual advertisement can be quickly changed depending on the product or service that’s advertised.
Using social media and other means of digital marketing is also a pretty popular choice when it comes to B2C marketing. This way, a much broader audience is reached for a much smaller cost compared to traditional means of marketing.
B2B and B2C Audiences
One of the key differences you need to take into consideration when creating a B2B or B2C marketing campaign is your target audience and how to speak to them.
B2B marketing campaigns tend to have a bit more formality, especially if you’re targeting high-level executives. You’ll need to create a visual advertisement that clearly states the advantages of using the product or service you’re offering and in which ways it can help the business be more efficient or profitable.
Unlike B2C campaigns that target individuals, B2B campaigns target business owners and managers that aren’t buying the product or service for themselves, but for the company they’re working for. This makes creating B2B marketing campaigns more difficult, and while the sales cycle is much longer compared to B2C, the rewards are usually much bigger.
When creating a B2C campaign, you can create a more relaxed advertisement that the end consumers can relate to. Using a friendly tone is recommended for B2C campaigns, but how friendly depends on a series of factors. The thing is that in B2C, the company is speaking directly to the end consumer and the tone of the message needs to feel like a recommendation coming from a close friend or someone the consumer trusts.
B2B and B2C Have Different Decision Makers
Before starting any kind of marketing campaign, it’s essential to think about who the decision-makers are. In B2B marketing, the decision-makers are people who are paid to do what’s best for the company they’re working for, while in B2C, the decision-makers are regular people who know what they like or need.
The reason why many people consider B2C marketing easier is the fact that the message is delivered directly to the end consumer or decision-makers. If a person likes the advertised product, they’ll likely buy it without consulting others.
When it comes to B2B marketing, there is usually more than one person that needs to agree that the product or service is the right one for their business. That means you not only have to find the right person to market to within a company but also give them the tools to recommend your product to all the other decision-makers that need to be involved.
Keeping these differences top of mind will help you have a much better understanding of what your next marketing campaign should look like.
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