| May 25, 2019

6 Main Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing You Should Be Aware Of

Alexandra Savidge

Alexandra is Head of Marketing at DAP. She uses her background in digital marketing, UX, content and e-commerce to create... Alexandra is Head of Marketing at DAP. She uses her background in digital marketing, UX, content and e-commerce to create impactful digital experiences for our clients.

 

All business marketing can be considered as either B2B, which is short for business-to-business, or B2C, which stands for business-to-consumer.

 

While B2B and B2C marketing bear several similarities, the difference between the two runs even deeper.

 

How marketers from the two camps engage their target audience, the level of emotion involved and how they craft their content are profoundly dissimilar.

 

But that isn’t all.

 

In this article, we’ll break down six key differences between B2C and B2B marketing.

 

What’s B2B marketing?

Tablet with "B2B Marketing" displayed on it.

B2B (business-to-business) marketing is what it sounds like. It involves a business whose primary customer is another business, rather than everyday consumers.

 

And because they market their products, services or solutions exclusively to other businesses, B2B marketers direct all of their marketing efforts towards persons or teams who make purchase decisions on behalf of their companies.

 

Here are some examples of businesses that do B2B marketing:

  • A Medtech company that sells software as a medical device (SaMD) solution to healthcare organizations.
  • A digital agency that produces SEO, CMS or email marketing tools for marketers.
  • A manufacturer that sells products directly to dental practices and hospitals.
  • A startup that specializes in table management software.

 

What’s B2C marketing?

An image with a hand having written "B2C Business To Consumer" on it.

B2C refers to businesses who sell solutions, services or products directly to consumers. Their target customers who are individual consumers who intend to buy what they offer for personal purposes.

 

In order to encourage sales, B2C marketers focus all of their marketing efforts on the desires, needs, and issues facing an average product user.

 

A B2C business can be a beauty/cosmetic company, real estate agency that sells homes to families, a car dealership, retail store, healthcare practice, music-streaming service, and a lot more in between.

 

Of course, there are several instances whereby B2C and B2B can cross paths. Some companies run both B2B and B2C marketing campaigns at the same time.

 

Take Omron Healthcare, Inc., for example. The health tech company sells several kinds of blood pressure monitors, each specially designed for a different audience.

 

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Omron HeartGuide, for instance, is an advanced smartwatch coupled with a mobile app and Alexa skill that is marketed directly to consumers who want to take their blood pressure on the go. Also, Omron sells sphygmometers to hospitals, at-home care companies, and other healthcare organizations.

 

Read on to learn about the six primary differences between B2B and B2C marketing.

 

1. Target audience

A hand circling their target audience.

The lines between B2C and B2B marketing become more pronounced when it comes to the target customer.

 

B2B marketers go after key decision makers within an organization. They don’t have to bother about everyone in the company or even the end user.

 

For instance, it doesn’t matter if a medical software or device will be used by hundreds of clinicians and care teams; only the CIO, information technology officer and relevant hospital bosses will make the final purchase decision. So, B2B marketers should make sure that all of their marketing efforts are geared towards this small group of decision makers.

 

Like we mentioned above, B2C marketers sell directly to consumers, not retailers or any other business down the supply chain.

 

B2C marketers can direct their campaigns at just about anyone who can use their products or services, not necessarily the buyer. A kid who sees an ad for a PlayStation, for example, might convince their mom or dad to buy it for them. Even still, it is crucial for B2C marketing to reach the household’s decision maker.

 

2. Logic vs. emotion

A diagram displaying a comparison of logic versus emotion

Telling original, captivating stories is one of the best ways brands make people care. It’s also a great way to win customer loyalty and inspire a purchase.

 

However, B2B and B2C marketers tell their marketing stories differently.

 

B2B marketing is all about logic. Marketers have to tell decision makers stories about the product/service, its features, and how it’ll help the organization. There’s little to zero emotions involved in the process.

 

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Of course, B2B marketers want to deliver their marketing message in a way that decision-makers can understand. After all, the use of complex, esoteric jargon is one of the biggest B2B marketing mistakes most companies make.

 

In B2C marketing, the consumer is most likely interested in the emotional grand scheme of things. When B2C marketers are crafting their stories, they should tell the benefits and value of the service or product in plain language. And not a long, boring story.

 

3. Return on investment

People conversing at a computer screen.

B2B customers want to know the return on their investment (RoI) right away. They want to know your expertise, and if your product or service will contribute to the efficiency and bottom line of the company. As such, most B2B purchases are driven by financial incentive and the logic behind the product/service.

 

That’s why data-driven marketing is important to B2B marketers. According to Combo App,  57 percent of B2B marketers who embrace data-driven marketing are “more effective and productive at delivering positive ROI through their work.”

 

Consumers, on the other hand, are more interested in entertainment, deals, and other exciting parts of the purchase process. They’ll probably care more if they can score a discount rather than if the product is durable.

 

4. Content marketing

A plan of Content Strategy and the steps it takes to lead to a payoff.

B2B customers (or decision makers) expect to be treated well and catered to. They want to be educated so they can make great decisions on behalf of their organizations, which is where content marketing comes into the picture.

 

According to Digital Authority, 93 percent of B2B marketers say they will devote significant resources to content marketing in 2019. More importantly, highly detailed, educative content will be part of their b2b marketing plan. Here’s a step-by-step marketing plan guide for those in the healthcare sector.

 

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B2C customers also love content. However, they want something that resonates well with them. They want content that “speaks” their language, and not necessarily something to do with the product.

 

5. Marketing costs

A Line graph with currency shown at the bottom.

B2B marketing is usually a lengthy process that involves a long chain of command. After all, the decision maker is often not a single person, which means B2B marketers have to spend more money.

 

B2C customers typically make snappy, one-person decisions. This can save marketers a lot of time and money.

 

6. Buying cycle

A Chalk drawing displaying the Customer Lifecycle.

Again, B2C customers may only have to seek recommendations from family and friends. The purchase decision is usually made by one person and takes a matter of minutes.

 

The B2B buying process is a different story. Accounting, procurement, and heads of several departments have to give the green light before a purchase is made. Because B2B marketers are not dealing with an individual, the purchase decision process can take much longer and become more complex each passing day.

 

Summary:

B2B and B2C marketing share numerous similarities, but there are also many distinct differences between the two.

 

B2B marketers sell to other businesses, and their marketing efforts are aimed at a small group of professionals who make a purchase decision on behalf of their organizations. Conversely, B2C marketers market directly to the consumer.

 

It is harder, takes longer, and more expensive to convert a B2B customer. The B2B purchase cycle is longer and often involves a longer chain of command than the B2C buying process. A buyer of a consumer product/service usually takes a short time before making a decision.

 

B2B customers want to be educated using highly detailed and precise content. B2C customers want entertaining and emotional content to encourage a purchase.

 

B2B marketing has to do with the logic, efficiency and the ultimate benefit of the product or service to the bottom line of an organization.

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