Content Marketing
B2B And B2C Marketing: Is There Really Any Difference?

B2B And B2C Marketing: Is There Really Any Difference?

June 27, 2023
6 min read

So, you think B2B and B2C marketing are pretty much the same thing? Think again.

While these two sides of marketing might throw around the same fancy jargon, their approaches couldn’t be more different.

Are you a marketing rookie? Or just curious about stepping into the “other side” of marketing? Either way, tuning in to the battle between B2B vs. B2C Marketing can get you one step closer to developing a strategy that delivers results.

Read on for our crash course on the similarities and differences between B2B vs. B2C marketing.

Quick Takeaways

  • B2C marketing targets individual decision-makers, while B2B marketing manages multiple decision-makers and stakeholders with diverse needs
  • Both B2B and B2C marketers need to identify and understand their target audience through buyer personas, needs, and preferences 
  • B2C marketing has a larger customer volume, which calls for a more targeted approach in B2B marketing due a limited number of potential buyers
  • B2C sales cycles are generally faster and less complex than B2B sales processes

Tune in to the battle between B2B vs. B2C marketing, where buyer personas, marketing synergy, data-driven ROI, and sales cycles collide.

What Is B2B Marketing?

Forget about catchy ads and flashy gimmicks. In B2B (business-to-business) marketing, no one is interested in selling you something you probably don’t need.

Instead, the goal of B2B marketing is to solve one business’s problems with another business’s products or services, rather than selling to individuals. For example, B2B transactions might look like:

  • Marketing services. A digital marketing agency offering social media management, SEO, or content marketing services to help businesses expand their online presence.
  • Software solutions. A software company selling its enterprise software to a manufacturing company to streamline production processes.
  • Office equipment. A supplier selling office furniture or printers to a corporate organization for their new office space.

This makes building relationships crucial in B2B marketing (sorry – your catchy slogan and bold logo aren’t going to cut it).

Because in the B2B world, it’s about networking. You need to make personal connections that could potentially lead to a money-making partnership. In fact, 63% of B2B marketers say that generating traffic and leads is their biggest challenge.

graph shows that 63% of B2B marketers say generating leads is their biggest challenge

Image Source: State of Inbound

What Is B2C Marketing?

On the other hand, B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing focuses on pushing individual consumers to purchase products or services.

B2C marketers know that to succeed, they have to make their offerings irresistible. So, they try to reach us through advertising channels like:

The goal is to showcase the benefits and value of a product or service in a way that sparks our interest and leads to a purchase.

In a nutshell, B2C marketers want to appeal to your deepest desires. They want to convince you that their sneakers will transform you into the next Michael Jordan. Time is money, baby!

B2B vs. B2C Marketing: How Are They Similar?

Now that you understand the basics of B2B vs. B2C marketing, we can get into the good stuff. As this post from Kapost suggests, there are 4 main ways B2B marketing and B2C marketing are similar:

1. Buyer Personas

Both B2B marketing and B2C marketing have buyers, even though the type of buyers they target is significantly different. Whether you are a B2B or B2C marketer, you need to identify and develop your buyer personas before you can build out your marketing strategy.

B2B and B2C marketers both need to know who their target audience is, what their needs are and where their target audience “hangs out.” Understanding your buyers is key to marketing success for both B2B and B2C marketers.

Need a quick refresher on the basics of developing buyer personas? We’ve got you covered.

Video Source: Inbound Explained

2. Marketing And Sales Alignment

According to a recent study from Demandbase and Wakefield Research, nearly half of all marketing executives and leaders surveyed report that 25% to 50%+ of their marketing-generated leads are never followed up by sales.

This suggests that, in order for companies to truly maximize their marketing efforts, their sales and marketing organizations need to be in closer alignment when it comes to establishing:

  • Goals
  • Roles
  • Expectations
  • Process for lead generation

When sales and marketing work together, both B2B and B2C companies can expect to close more deals and achieve faster revenue and profit growth.

3. Data-Driven ROI

Whether you are in B2B or B2C marketing, your goal is to:

  • Drive brand awareness
  • Engage your audience
  • Convert leads into customers
  • Contribute to your company’s bottom line

The success of this revenue-driven strategy is dependent on the data collected on potential buyers at each stage of the buyer’s journey – everything from the first point of interaction to the last-touch attribution, as well as the general consumer behavior and sentiment towards your marketing efforts.

graphic demonstrates the importance of data with statistics about marketing ROI

Image Source: Elevation Marketing

Both B2B and B2C marketing are similar in that they need to both collect, analyze and use this data to evaluate and improve their marketing strategy and performance.

4. Go-to-Market Plans

When launching a new product or service, both B2B and B2C marketers need to develop a plan to promote and maximize publicity for the launch.

This requires a clear understanding of which marketing tactics and activities to prioritize, so the right messages are delivered through the right channels to the right audience at the right time.

Both B2B and B2C marketers need this in order to develop an effective strategy around their launch that will best position their brand and new product/service for success.

B2B vs. B2C Marketing: How Are They Different?

Now, we’ll discuss why B2B vs. B2C marketing is such a hot topic. There are 4 areas where B2B marketing and B2C marketing differ, and these are:

1. Decision-Makers

For B2C marketers, they typically have only one decision-maker to consider: the individual who buys their products.

For B2B marketers, however, the story is different. The B2B customer journey involves multiple decision-makers and stakeholders to manage. To name a few:

  • Managers
  • Product users
  • Technical staff
  • Executives

B2B customer journey and decision makers map

Image Source: Price Spider

Because of this, B2B marketing content needs to be more diverse and dynamic. This way, it can appeal to and meet the different pain points and needs of various stakeholders involved in the purchase process.

2. Customer Volume

While B2B marketing needs to cater to more decision-makers compared to B2C marketing, there are generally fewer customer options available for B2B marketing.

For example, if you have 600,000 customers in one city, that gives B2C marketers a wide range of individuals to target. The customers of B2B marketing, on the other hand, are businesses that consist of a number of individuals. So in that same city, while there are 600,000 individuals, there may only be 200 businesses who can or will need to use B2B products.

This means that B2B marketing needs to be far more targeted than B2C marketing in order to reach those 200 businesses. B2C marketing has a bit more room for experimentation since they may still be able to hit half of the 600,000 B2C consumers.

3. Types of Buyers

With B2C marketing, you are targeting buyers based on who they are as an individual consumer:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Income
  • Interests
  • Hobbies
  • Spending habits

B2B marketing, on the other hand, targets buyers based on who they are as a professional, so instead, you’re looking at things like:

  • Job titles
  • Departments
  • Company
  • Budget sizes

And again, given B2B marketing needs to address pain points and needs of various stakeholders and decision-makers involved in the purchase process, B2B marketers would need to develop content that appeals to these different types of buyers.

4. Sales Cycle

Generally speaking, the B2C sales cycle is faster and less complex compared to the B2B sales process. The time from awareness to purchase for B2C consumers can be as short as a few hours.

For example, if I wanted to purchase a popcorn maker, I would do my research on the available brands and products on the market, review online reviews and can make a purchase all within one day.

A B2B purchase can sometimes take months or even years to make! Companies have to:

  1. Evaluate the pros and cons of each B2B solution available.
  2. Determine the requirements their teams need.
  3. Think about the actual implementation and actions required post-implementation.
  4. Get approval from all the stakeholders and decision-makers involved.

graphic shows the difference between B2B vs. B2C marketing sales funnels

Image Source: VMG Studios

If a B2C consumer makes a bad purchase, they can typically reverse the transaction with a full return or credit back. B2B purchases do not work the same way – and given their complexity, this is why the sales cycle is longer for B2B marketing.

B2B vs. B2C Marketing: Who Wins?

Though there may be some areas of overlap, B2B vs. B2C marketing part ways when it comes to their goals, needs, strategies, and execution.

Both B2B and B2C marketers have to understand the specific obstacles faced by their audience, along with the dynamics of their market and competition. This understanding is vital for creating impactful content that effectively reaches, engages, and ultimately converts consumers in their respective domains.

Are you on team B2B or B2C marketing? Either way, you need to create high quality content that engages your audience. Get started today by checking out our weekly blog content service, or schedule a free consultation now to learn more!

4 thoughts on “B2B And B2C Marketing: Is There Really Any Difference?

  1. María Domine

    Thank you for sharing Michael! Such interesting article about the difference between both types of marketing. In my opinion, definitely they are very important differences but the main issue is that many B2B business do not identify them properly or work on them enough. Altough it is in Spanish, We also have a post about this concept:

    I am absolutly suscribing!

  2. dan fogarty


    Great post.

    Noticed a small error, I think the second call out should be HOW ARE B2B AND B2C MARKETING Different*?

  3. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Dan, I have the best and nicest readers. 2 other people reached out to me about this on Twitter. I am so grateful that you caught me and kindly pointed it out. It’s all fixed now! Have a great one.

  4. Michael Brenner

    Thanks so much Maria. Happy to share this post with our spanish-speaking readers. I really appreciate your support!

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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