Knowing the differences between B2B and B2C is very important in your marketing strategy since each of these marketing methods suits a certain business based on your target audience.
It is a well-known fact that both B2B and B2C are forms of marketing, and they have a lot of similarities, but meanwhile, they are different in many ways as well. There are people, however, who still don’t differentiate the two and end up using less-productive techniques in their businesses. Of course, the primary purpose of these marketing methods is to reach various target group. The distinctive feature, though, is the route that each one of them takes to achieve the objectives.
The main aim of these marketing methods are to reach audiences and sell services, products, etc. but the way B2B and B2C use to get what they want is surely different. Before getting to know the differences between these two marketing ways, we would go on with brief definitions of what B2B and B2C actually are.
What are B2C and B2C marketing?
As it can somehow be derived from the word itself, B2C, which stands for business to consumer, is the marketing of a business to consumers which are individuals and folks (people like us). These kinds of businesses sell directly to consumers.
Some businesses aim to sell products or offer their services to professional buyers rather than individuals and people who need them. They sell directly to businesses. This type of marketing is considered as B2B, which stands for business to business marketing methods. B2B marketing needs more logic, decision-makers, formalities, and differs from B2C in some ways that we are going to know more about it below. Because of the complications involved, it’s usually recommended that you employ the services of B2B marketing agencies. This way, you’ll be able to reach your target audience without having to eat up a huge part of your budget.
What are the main differences between B2C and B2B marketing?
The fact that both of them are methods of marketing shows that they’re similar in a way. However, that’s not to say they don’t share a set of differences. You might think that since both of the methods involve a person trying to buy something for their personal use or for their business, then the marketing is done to person. Well, that could be the case, but it’s not entirely so.
It is true that when you try to market a business, you are getting a person or decision-maker to buy its stuff, whether for their business or personal use, but there are some major differences between business to business and business to consumer marketing.
Imagine you offer an analytic and monitoring software for social media. If you are marketing it to a business, you must show that specific business that your software can save them a lot of energy and time and as a result, they’d have more money in their pockets, and that’s what they want from using the software. In other words, you’d have to prove that the benefits of your product surpass it’s initial and any other subsequent expenses.
On the other hand, if you aim to market your software to consumers, you need to show them how your software can make their daily tasks and life easier, you have to clarify its options and facilities in detail, so they’ll be convinced into using your software for their social media accounts to manage them easier. Basically, you’re required to show the buyer that they’ll enjoy the value for their money by adding something new to their life.
Some of the differences between B2B and B2C marketing are listed below:
- Who you are targeting (your audience)
As you know by now, the target audience in these two methods of marketing is different. In B2C, the audience of your business are people who aim to buy your product for their own use and to benefit from it in their everyday lives. On the other hand, in B2B, the audience of your business is another business that looks to use your product to improve its operations and serve its clients better.
- The language and tone you use
After determining who your target audience is and which kind of marketing you want to go with, the second thing to consider is the language you have to use throughout the procedure of marketing your business, service, or product.
It is obvious that the language you should use in B2B is way more professional and consists of much industry jargon and is mostly focused on the overall usage and benefits of the whole brand rather than the product or service itself.
But when it comes to B2C, you should be more specific in introducing the product to its consumers, so you must use a language that is simple to be understood by your consumers.
Another thing you have to pay attention to is to know which tone to use in each of the methods. In B2B, the tone must be more professional and formal, for sure. Since your audiences are very knowledgeable and are the expecting individuals of another business. However, in B2C you can keep your tone less formal. In fact, it is better to be a bit humorous and informal so that you get people’s attention. Regular consumers are mostly attracted by entertaining content – videos and pictures – rather than more technical language. Therefore, be sure to balance the two if you’re running a B2C marketing campaign.
- The goal you are seeking
As previously said, the main goal of marketing, either B2B or B2C, is to get your desired group of people or a business to buy the things you are producing or to use the service you are offering. But there is another difference in the purpose you hold on your kind of marketing.
B2B marketing is more concerned with building relationships and proving a product’s return on investment for a business consumer. In B2B it is very important to build and maintain a relationship between your business and the target business which is interested in working with you because that can later lead to long-time business cooperation between your companies.
Meanwhile, the main goal of B2C is to drive sales to your business and get more people to your website for more traffic and attention.
- The time you have to spend
The time you put for marketing with B2C is much less than the time you have to spend marketing to another business, and that’s because in marketing to a business, you have to put a lot of time and effort introducing your product or service in details, to the target business so that they’ll decide to keep this long-time purchase.
Another reason why the B2B marketing process needs more time is that it is a contract based procedure that would take months or even years to complete. You can sign a purchase contract in B2C as well, but the timeframe is much shorter.
- The decision-making process
Now we have reached one of the most important differences between these two types of marketing. It is an undeniable fact that “emotions” play a big role in deciding whether to buy a thing or not, but this more affects individual consumers. So businesses must put emotions aside and make rational and logical decisions.
You need to be very specific in introducing your product or service to the business consumer since they need to convince a lot more stakeholders to make a final decision of purchasing from you. So in B2B, you need to have a lot of strong data and carry on logically. You need to keep having communications with your consumer business so that both sides would reach a result of how this can benefit them.
On the other hand, when you market using B2C, you should target a consumer’s heart, since nowadays most of the decisions we make to buy things are made with our hearts rather than minds. A consumer would decide to buy the product you offer emotionally, just because they need it or they have heard a good review or watched a great ad of it.
- The decision-makers
On the B2C method, usually an individual himself would make the decision of buying a thing, and no other people are involved in this. This purchase decision is made by the influence of family and friends, reading some reviews, hearing good things about a specific product, or watching an impressive advertisement. But unlike B2C, B2B is way more complicated, and more than one person and department are engaged with the decision of buying a product or service.
The purchase needs to be approved by some people like Procurement, accounting, and department heads, and not only one person is responsible for making the decision. The decision should be later reviewed by different stakeholders and checked by multiple decision-makers.
- The marketing platforms
Now, it is time to make more people notice you and your business and hear your voice. You should consider a platform you can reach more people to drive more sales. It could be either more traditional platforms like TV, newspaper, magazines, and radio, or a bit more modern channels like social media to market your business.
First, you need to know which social media would work the best for you and best suit your business and has more of your relevant audience. Your priorities should be platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, which are used by more people and are among the most popular social media these days. But you might not want to have activity on all of them, and you want to make a more specific choice.
What is the best social media platform for B2B?
If you use B2C, as your marketing method, you need to know your audience can be found anywhere, because every social media is full of different people with different tastes and you can find your consumers almost on all platforms. But for some certain industries, some platforms work the best. For example, if your company is somehow related to photography, videos, graphics and all that, Instagram and Pinterest are your best choices since they are focused on these kinds of things and high-quality pictures and videos.
For B2B, you can also keep marketing your content on all social media sites, but keep in mind that if you want to have more chance, you should pay attention to LinkedIn the most, since it is a business-focused social media channel and more relevant people can be found there who might be willing to purchase from you in the future.
Now that you know almost everything about what Business to business and business to consumer marketing are and what are their most important differences, you are on your way to market your business more successfully choosing the method that suits your industry the best. Just remember to carefully choose your target audience because that’s what is going to determine your marketing method.