B2B marketing refers to “business-to-business” marketing. It is a strategy which markets goods or services that are created by one business to help another business serve their consumers in the best possible way. One example of this type of service would be an agency selling SaaS platforms for e-commerce purposes to another business.
B2C marketing refers to “business to consumer” marketing. Although a business purchasing something from another business is technically a “consumer,” this strategy is focused on presenting goods or services to individual people or communities instead of formal brands.
There are some key differences to look at when considering the B2B marketing vs B2C marketing debate. For many brands, both strategies will be used at some point, which is why it is so important to recognize how each one is different.
1. Logic vs Emotion
When a brand is focused on a B2B strategy, they are focused on the logic of the goods or services being presented. One common method of doing this is to present the features of the product or service that is offered. The focus here is placed on logic instead of emotion. Value is presented by allowing another business to choose their preferred brand because it is logically the best product for their needs in the industry.
Brands which are focused on a B2C strategy cannot ignore logic, but they must include an emotional component to the process. Consumers want to focus on the benefits of the product, but value goes beyond something being “better.” It must make a personal connection to them in some way. Consumers want to build personal relationships with the brands and businesses they choose.
2. Message Length
In a B2B marketing strategy, there must be extensive information provided to a brand’s leads. Businesses typically make decisions based on what an executive team believes is best for their brand. They cannot make this type of decision without having information available to them. It would be impossible to determine all potential outcomes otherwise. Decisions can sometimes take weeks or months within this strategy.
In a B2C strategy, message length must be shorter. Consumers need brands to get straight to the point. Because the contacts are individualized, there cannot be a generalized focus on the potential benefits of a product or service. A consumer will want you to point out what you can provide. They will determine if that provision is able to provide them with value. Decisions with this strategy may take a few minutes and most are made within a few days.
Within a B2B strategy, it is common for a brand to speak with multiple decision-makers, sometimes simultaneously, so that a decision can be made. This creates multiple tiers of lead contacts that all provide the potential of resetting the process. For many businesses, if one person has doubts about the veracity of a B2B product being considered, then the entire marketing process may need to start over to sway a business into becoming a customer.
Using a B2C strategy in this instance is much simpler. There are fewer stakeholders involved. Many relationships within this type of marketing are between a single person and the brand. The most complicated relationships may involve an entire family, a neighborhood, or a small community, but nothing larger than that. Even if multiple consumers are being represented in a group, there is usually one person who serves as a point of contact for everyone.
4. Relationship Length
B2B relationships are generally long-term because of the costs that are required in making changes. Imagine what it would take for a larger retailer, such as Target, to change their suppliers every month and it becomes easy to see why the B2B strategy is about forming partnerships. Once established, they tend to be permanent.
B2C relationships are focused on short-term results. Many of these relationships become long-term and benefit the brand and the consumer, but it doesn’t need to be that way for success to be found. Consumers want to know how a problem can be solved for them right now. Meet that need and it creates a sale. That can be the extent of the relationship.
B2B Marketing vs B2C Marketing: Which is Better?
Businesses can benefit from both marketing styles.
Forming business relationships can create long-term partnerships which benefit both parties involved in the transaction.
Forming consumer relationships can create value-based transactions that, with continued contact, can create long-term repetitive sales.
The product or service being offered will often dictate which strategy is employed, but many businesses have B2B and B2C relationships that are managed every day.
Look at what your product or service. How does it provide value? The answer to that question will let you know which side of the B2B marketing vs B2C marketing debate you fall on.