Understanding the Difference between B2B and B2C Marketing

When working in the media industry the terms B2B and B2C become part of one’s everyday language. There is plenty of common ground between these two fields of marketing, but there are disparities that are essential for professionals who work on either, or both sides for successful marketing.

B2B is shorthand for business to business. The products and services of the business are marketed to other businesses, meaning B2B refers to transactions between two businesses where both the seller and the buyer are business owners.

The term B2C or Business to Consumer, on the contrary, refers to transactions between a business and a final customer. Restaurants, retail stores or e-commerce websites selling products or services to individuals are examples of B2C companies.

As a nationwide acting marketing agency Makai’s efforts satisfy both B2B and B2C relations by meeting each of our customers’ demands. But what most are not aware of are some very fine but clear cut key differences in approach and execution of B2B and B2C. Let us explain what those are:

#1: rationality vs. emotion

  • This is probably the biggest and most important factor in the difference between B2B and B2C marketing. Companies marketing their goods and services to other businesses must focus on the practical benefits of their products. With B2B, purchases are more focused on completing a task or moving a project forward, whereas consumer purchases are mostly based on emotional connections with the product. Individual consumers’ purchases are often influenced by mood, desire or price. This knowledge will affect much of the way that businesses develop their marketing.
  • Also “…businesses respond better to professional, industry-specific messaging, whereas individuals prefer more relatable messaging (Louis Moynihan, Vice President of Business Development at Demandbase: Oct. 20, 2014).”



#2: different sales cycles

  • From cheeseburgers to cars, consumer marketing aims at impulsive decisions, which is why this sales cycle is much shorter. B2C buys tend to satisfy immediate needs, while B2B decisions are meant to complete long-term goals. Companies need more time to evaluate their options and weigh the risks and rewards. Multiple interactions help guide the buyer through the sales process and this is what marketers can take advantage of: The longer the sales cycle, the stronger relationships and a greater sense of loyalty can be nurtured.
  • Consumers are usually driven by need and emotion. So a decision for a purchase may only take a few moments, sometimes even seconds. B2B marketers, however, have a much longer chain of command and purchasing products to deal with: procurement, accounting and their superiors often need to approve purchases.

Different marketing tactics are used in B2B and B2C, although the methods of advertising, promotions and publicity are very often the same. However, at the end of the day, no matter which side of the B2B or B2C spectrum a marketer works on, all marketing is P2P — person to person — despite the external differences.








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