B2B And B2C Marketing: Is There Really Any Difference?

What’s the difference between B2B and B2C marketing? Is there any difference at all? While both B2B and B2C marketers may use the same terminologies, the methods and tactics they use can vary greatly given their different needs.

For those who are new to marketing or are exploring the “other side” of the marketing world, read on to learn more about the similarities and differences between B2B and B2C marketing.

How Are B2B And B2C Marketing Similar?

As this post from Kapost suggests, there are 4 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.

  1. 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 their goals, roles and expectations about one another, as well as a standardized lead generation process that both sides can agree to and implement.

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

  1. Data-Driven ROI

Whether you are in B2B or B2C marketing, your goal is to drive brand awareness, engage and convert leads into customers, and ultimately 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.

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.

  1. 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.

How Are B2B And B2C Marketing Different?

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, including managers, product users, technical staff, executives and many more. As such, B2B marketing content needs to be more diverse and dynamic to appeal to and meet the different pain points and needs of various stakeholders involved in the purchase process.

  1. 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 consists 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.

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

  1. Types of Buyers

With B2C marketing, you are targeting buyers based on who they are as an individual consumer – their age, gender, race, income, interests, hobbies and spending habits. B2B marketing, on the other hand, targets buyers based on who they are as a professional, so you are looking at things like their job titles, departments, and company and budget sizes instead.

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 messaging and content that appeals to these different types of buyers.

  1. 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, on the other hand, can sometimes take months and even years to make! Companies must evaluate the pros and cons of each B2B solution available, determine the requirements their teams need, think about the actual implementation and actions required post-implementation, and finally get approval from all the stakeholders and decision-makers involved.

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.

While B2B and B2C marketing may overlap in some places, they do have very different goals, needs, strategies and ways of executing their marketing efforts. Every B2B and B2C marketer must understand the needs and challenges of their buyers, as well as their market and competitive landscape, in order to create effective messaging and content that will reach, engage and ultimately convert their consumers.

What do you think? Are there any other similarities or differences between B2B and B2C marketing you think Kapost missed? Please share your ideas below!

Are you interested in engaging and converting new customers for your business? Contact me here and let’s talk about how we can help. Or follow me on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and if you like what you see, Subscribe here for regular updates.

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Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.

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

  1. Michael,

    Great post.

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

    1. 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.

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