B2B Marketing vs B2C Marketing: Introducing The Differences

The average business owner is well-acquainted with the B2B and B2C models. But how many business owners are aware of the dissimilar B2B and B2C marketing strategies?

Although B2B and B2C deal with commercial transactions, the applicable marketing strategies differ from one to another. B2B may overlap with B2C, but they are as different as night and day.

After all, B2C business models rely on emotionally-driven thought processes compared to logically-driven B2B.

Moreover, B2B and B2C appeal to distinctly different target markets. B2B models are focused on catering to other businesses, while B2C serves consumers directly.

However, purchasing decisions and target audiences aren’t the only distinctions that set them apart.  There are also instances where B2B and B2C models intersect.

For example, a seamstress that sews clothing for clients as a B2C model may also provide resources such as designer laces to high-end fashion companies.

Thus, every business owner and marketer should be familiar with the numerous B2B and B2C distinctions.

As a marketer, it is vital to understand the differences to develop suitable and effective marketing strategies.

Strategies that may work with B2C may not necessarily function with B2B models, such as attractive infographics and creative ads. Therefore, the applicable marketing strategies should differ from one to another.

Whether it’s reinforcing brand consistency or marketing products, marketers should apply the appropriate strategies for the best results.

READ MORE: Branding vs Marketing: Difference Between Branding and Marketing 

B2B Marketing vs B2C Marketing

As aforementioned, there are numerous differences between B2B and B2C marketing due to their characteristics. While B2B marketing focuses on establishing long-term relationships, B2C is oriented toward the short-term transaction.

With contrasts that range from customer relationships to branding, they drive the importance of a staple understanding on B2B and B2C marketing subtleties.

B2B (Business-to-Business) Marketing

B2B (or BtoB) is the short-term definition for business-to-business, and it is the commercial transaction between one business to another. Unlike B2C, B2B operates on a manufacturing or service scale that caters to other companies.

Businesses that typically adopt a B2B model are: 

  • A business that sources materials for production (e.g., condiments supplied to restaurant chains, fabric manufacturers supplied to garment factories) 
  • A business specialised in services for other companies (e.g., accountancy firms offering audit services)
  • Or hybrid businesses that cater to consumers and companies alike (e.g., sports brands that supply businesses with sports equipment and market sports shoes to consumers) 

READ MORE: What is B2B Marketing: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners in Malaysia  

1. B2B Focuses on Personal Relationships

Lead generation is among the top priorities of B2B marketing due to the importance of repeated and referral businesses. After all, B2B companies serve clients long-term compared to B2C transactions.

Therefore, developing B2B relationships can either make or break a business.

Lead generation can be stimulated by content campaigns or social proof of products. Moreover, reviews can further establish brand loyalty.

Logically, product and service reviews should be ideally positive. Thus, search marketers tend to bury negative reviews to protect the company’s image.

However, B2B models can benefit from negative reviews as honest insight. According to studies, about 72% of B2B clients view bad reviews as genuine, in-depth product insight.

In fact, a moderation between positive and negative reviews with constructive responses places the B2B company in an honest and “real” light compared to a suspicious brand with no criticism.

2. B2B and Professional Jargon  

Compared to B2C, B2B businesses engage with industry professionals seeking products or services. Therefore, B2B businesses are more likely to purchase from fellow industry experts.

While B2C marketing uses conversational languages to translate complex subjects, B2B businesses advertise with proper knowledge of the appropriate terminology and processes.

Moreover, a suitable application of industry jargon can position the business as a true industry professional that other businesses can rely on.

For instance, a B2B business specialising in high-tech and expensive software is unlikely to compose casually natured copies.  In fact, the business will utilise terminology, a professional brand voice and a confident tone to cement itself as an industry expert.

READ MORE: B2B Marketing Tips: Marketing Guide for Malaysia SMEs 

3. B2B Businesses Have Longer Buying Cycles 

B2B buying cycles are longer than B2C and require more patience and effort.  Moreover, B2B marketers should create content pertaining to each buying cycle stage to establish trust.

According to Gartner, 17% of the B2B purchaser’s time is spent meeting potential suppliers.  Depending on the number of candidates, the time spent can be drastically influenced by up to 5%.

In addition, buying groups for complex B2B solutions typically involve up to 10 decision makers that independently deconflict with the group for the best solutions. After all, the options for B2B products and services only continue to expand with every new product, technology or service that emerges.

Therefore, B2B businesses that ease the process of the buying cycle through efficient navigation in the purchasing process are often more valued by clients.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

Business-to-consumer or B2C is a type of business model that focuses on individual buyers.  It is the most common type of business model, as it is easier to market to consumers rather than stakeholders.

Most of the brands people are familiar with are categorised under B2C.  However, being a popular brand is not a prerequisite to become a B2C business.

The two business models also differ from the way they address their target market. 

  • B2C uses the term ‘consumers’ when referring to their target market.  The term refers to individuals who purchased goods and services for their own needs and wants.
  • B2B, on the other hand, addresses their target market as customers or clients.  The customers purchase goods or services for company or organisation needs.

1. B2C Businesses Have Shorter Sales Cycles

B2C businesses generally have a shorter sales cycle due to the nature of the business model itself. 

B2C consumers have lesser concerns when purchasing a product or service for personal uses compared to B2B customers.  Therefore, the buying process for B2C is less complex for both sellers and consumers, leading to a shorter sales cycle.

On the other hand, B2B customers have more aspects to consider before purchase. 

Since B2B purchases are for the sake of the company or organisation, buyers undergo an extensive process of planning, researching and product comparison.  After all, B2B customers only seek the best products and services for the business.  

As the B2B buying process is more complicated, a longer sales cycle is required for B2B marketing.

READ MORE: Market Development Strategy: How Digitalization Helps Your Business? 

2. B2C Purchases are Emotional Decisions

B2C consumers mainly look for instant solutions for their problems.  Thus, consumers are unlikely to adopt extravagant decision processes to select goods.  

In order to fulfil the consumers’ needs, B2C marketers leverage the customer’s pain points and desires. 

Therefore, B2C marketing incorporates emotional tactics to market products and services to appeal to target consumers.  

On the other hand, B2B clients are logically inclined and focus on the features of products or services. After all, B2B customers only select the best products and services that can benefit the company effectively. 

3. B2C Deals Directly with Consumers

Unlike B2B marketing, B2C marketing deals directly with the target market without elaborate decision making.

As aforementioned, the B2B buying process is more complicated than B2C because the purchase is an investment for the company.  Although a product or service may be well-developed, the final say belongs to the B2B purchaser and respective decision-makers.

On the other hand, B2C marketers can promote products and services in a linear fashion as a simple business and consumer exchange.  

In comparison to B2B marketing, the straightforward transaction between B2C businesses and consumers is easier tenfold.  

READ MORE:  Understanding the Notion of Marketing Mix: The 4Ps 

Walk Production

Looking to improve your B2B marketing? Consider partnering up with Walk Production.

Walk Production is a Malaysia B2B marketing agency which provides a full range of B2B services including SEO, content marketing, corporate website and company profile, . With an extensive portfolio, we are always ready to assist any B2B branding and marketing inquiries.

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