Last updated: March 11, 2022

B2B vs. B2C Marketing Explained

Growth Marketing

The difference between business-to-business (B2B) marketing and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing can be significant. These are two different business models that may have vastly different marketing needs. If you’ve never managed either kind of marketing campaign or have only worked on one over the other, you may not know how to get the most out of your marketing efforts.

Marketing can be costly. The more you know about the marketing style you are trying to utilize, the better your results for your invested money. Being able to control the spending you are putting forth for each kind of marketing type makes it more likely to maximize your results for your budget.

Read on to learn more about B2B vs. B2C marketing and how to execute each effectively.


B2B vs. B2C Marketing Explained

B2B marketing is business-to-business marketing. This is when a company provides services and products to other businesses. This kind of marketing does not have to be as entry-level or basic, and you can deliver more direct outreach than you would need to craft for other types of marketing.

B2C marketing is business-to-consumer and requires a more basic level of marketing founded on making an emotional connection. In B2C marketing, you will want to create brand loyalty that is not necessarily required for B2B marketing. However, you still want to establish loyalty with B2B marketing as it’s the most lucrative for your budget.


The Core Difference Between a B2B Model and B2C Model

The fundamental difference between these two kinds of marketing is the customer you deliver marketing materials to. When selling to other businesses with B2B, you will need to discuss your products and services at a higher level. You can ignore the usual need to explain what your products can do when they’re purchased on a basic level.

B2C marketing, meanwhile, will focus more on marketing for conversions and brand loyalty and will not typically require higher-level discussion or language. However, you may need to explain what your products do in more detail.

B2B vs. B2C Marketing: How Each Model Affects Your Approach

When marketing to consumers, you need to figure out a target audience for your products and market to that person through social media and other channels. When marketing to another business, you can advertise in a narrower set of circles, and you will likely not need to do as much general outreach about your company.

The Buying Process

Both buying processes will always start with need recognition. No matter what kind of business you are running, you will have to target what your customers need to get from you. This information can be collected through surveys, outreach, or current sales data.

B2B purchases take more time than consumer purchases. Businesses are weighing out which company will do the best job supplying products for their needs. When you advertise to consumers in B2C, you will find that conversions are quicker but might not be repeated.

The Customer Journey

Customer interactions are very different with these two models. When you are selling to other businesses, they already know what to expect from the process and are interested in hearing about rates you can offer and what kinds of products you have to sell.

When working through the customer journey with consumers, you will need to help them:

  • Discover your product
  • Connect with your brand
  • Learn more about your business
  • Buy

These conversion steps are completed differently in both models, so you need to target your marketing to these unique customer journeys.

Relationship Building

When using a B2B model, you will need to prove that you are reliable and can ship or provide services quickly and correctly. You will also need to deliver information and reply to inquiries promptly.

The relationship process with customers in B2C is built more upon emotional and personal bonds made with the products. You will want your consumers to grow into a long-term bond with your company and come back to you repeatedly.

Marketing toward these two goals is very different, and what serves one business style will not always work for the other.

Target Audience

As mentioned before, B2B audience targeting is about showing what you can do for other businesses. You are marketing to peers in this model.

When you market to consumers, however, you will need to take the time to develop a target audience and sell to them directly.

Marketing Tactics

You can take a few different approaches to marketing in B2B and B2C.

Content Marketing: B2B vs. B2C

Marketing to other businesses is easiest via direct relationship building and target ads run in the right circles where other businesses will see them. You will not need to sell yourself as hard on social media or in generalized ads. You might advertise to publications and groups involved in your industry for this marketing model.

When you market to consumers, you will need to leverage ads on your social media and general outreach ads that many people will see. Your targeted advertising research will have told you where to deliver our ads and what to say in these ads to get a rapid response from your consumers.

Social Media Marketing: B2B vs. B2C

When using social media for your marketing, you will need to deliver emotional content for consumer-based marketing with instant attention-grabbers. When marketing with B2B in mind, you will need to advertise through word of mouth, direct outreach, and ads.


What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Using the wrong marketing style for your business type can lead to a lack of conversions and wasted money. Be sure that you have done the proper market research to locate the best places to deliver ads and information about your business for both of these business models.

Working with a skilled marketing company can make all the difference in your marketing success for your business needs and goals. Work with GrowthHit today to generate the most effective marketing for your unique needs.

Jim Huffman

Founder & CEO GrowthHit. Startup mentor at Techstars, General Assembly, and Sephora Accelerator. Author of The Growth Marketer’s Playbook #1

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