Understanding B2B & B2C Marketing: What’s the Difference?

business-to-business vs business-to-consumer marketing

Since you’ve been in the business world for some time, you’ve likely heard the terms B2B marketing and B2C marketing, but what exactly do they each mean? What key features differentiate the two and what are the best practices for these types of marketing?

Don’t worry if you don’t know the answers to these questions, because we are going to provide a brief overview of what these types of marketing are all about. You’ll get the lowdown on what makes up a successful business within these sectors and learn a little more about what makes each of them unique. If you’re already familiar with these types of marketing, look over these tools and practices for further insight into your marketing strategies. Let’s dive in!

B2B Marketing

What is It?

The acronym “B2B” stands for “business-to-business.” Business-to-business marketing encompasses a vast array of companies worldwide who market their services or products to other businesses. Content is oftentimes straightforward and informational due to the nature of making sales– when businesses make purchase decisions, they often don’t care about much outside of bottom-line revenue impact. This marketing relies on showing how your business can help theirs increase their sales or work more efficiently.

What Key Tools are Used?

There are several key marketing channels and methodologies that see frequent use within the realm of B2B marketing. Many of these tools are also used for B2C marketing and have benefits for both types of marketing. These include:

  • Blogs
    • When regularly updated, blogs offer organic visibility and can help channel inbound traffic towards your website. Offering useful information to businesses shows that your brand is looking to help them better their business long-term.
  • Search
    • Recently, the focus has started shifting away from traditional work with keywords to include searcher intent signals as well. Thinking about what people are searching for and why has become more important than ever, especially in B2B marketing.
  • Social Media
    • Offers the ability to reach prospective businesses in a space where they’re likely to already be active! Social media is also a great space for building your brand identity and sharing it with other businesses.
  • Email
    • Email is still an excellent way to reach potential clients and offer longer or more detailed content. It also is an essential part of a marketing funnel, which is often a tool used to generate qualified leads in B2B marketing.

Common Best Practices

A number of best practices can help ensure that a B2B company remains ethical and client-centric. The following facets of B2B marketing practices combine to form a stable basis for most companies to operate on:

  • Be Human
    • Nobody wants to be sold to aggressively and some marketing tactics can border on outright harassment. Once processes become too automated, the marketing message begins to feel impersonal and pushy.
    • Recognize that you’re selling to a company, but that people are behind purchases for that company. Learn about the people behind the company and their day-to-day life so you can speak to them in your marketing.
  • Use Content for Nursing Leads
    • Focus on delivering content that is relevant and accurate. This means that your content should always be thematically-sound, correct and beneficial to your target audience.
  • Target Your Marketing
    • When campaigns are too broad, you waste time, money, and effort on them. Do the research necessary to narrow down your audience to only the people interested in your product or service.
    • Create a defined and segmented audience, then target your marketing based on those definitions and segments.

B2C Marketing

What is It?

B2C marketing is short for business-to-consumer marketing. Rather than focusing on bottom-line numerical data, B2C marketers take the time to focus on the benefits that their product or services offer. B2C marketing tends to be more emotional than its B2B counterpart and it often relies on a variety of distribution channels. In B2B marketing, companies are generally fine sticking with rigid rules, but consumers in B2C want flexibility when it comes to how and when they can take advantage of what you have to offer. Finally, in B2C marketing, you have to convince customers how your product or service can change their lives for the better. This isn’t an easy task without the quantifiable metrics used in B2B marketing.

What Key Tools are Used?

B2C marketing relies on a variety of tools and marketing channels to sell products and services effectively. Again, these will overlap with tools used in B2B marketing, but generally, the tools can be used in different ways for different results. B2C marketing tools include:

  • Email Marketing
    • Email blasts and promotional content can hook consumers and keep existing clients interested. It also allows you to keep open a line of contact and further build your relationship with each customer.
  • Mobile Optimization
    • With so many consumers beginning to shop on their mobile devices, many B2C marketers utilize mobile-optimized promotions to reach potential clients. This is absolutely necessary at this time period and should be considered a best practice for all marketing.
  • Website Push Marketing
    • Push notifications allow marketers to deliver messages to consumers in real-time! This way, they can stay up to date when it comes to sales, offers, and discounts within seconds, and keep customers engaged.
  • Social Media Marketing
    • Nearly everybody is on social media — and B2C marketers know this! Platforms like Instagram and Twitter can be utilized to promote services and goods directly to customers, build a following, and create awareness of their brand.

Common Best Practices

A host of best practices come together to create impactful B2C marketing campaigns. It takes the intertwining of many different tools and practices to make a successful marketing plan. B2C marketers may find themselves relying on the following to promote products and services:

  • Data, data, data
    • Ensure your content only goes to an audience that cares about it – this means you must regularly scrub emails lists for unengaged users, purge duplicate contacts, and keep leads segmented for more specific advertising.
    • Focusing on data also requires that you monitor your marketing campaigns to better refine them.
  • Be their guide
    • Many buyers want to be coaxed through the buying process– they’re on the hunt for reassurance that they’re making smart decisions
  • Solve Their Problems
    • You likely won’t end up with many clients if whatever you’re selling doesn’t add value to their lives and solve their problems. Ensure that clients have a smooth buying process from start to finish and that what they’re purchasing is worth their money and time.

Differences in Marketing for B2B and B2C Companies

The Conversion Process

Conversion is far more critical in the B2C sphere. The average consumer is likely to make purchases on impulse and B2C marketers don’t need to worry about corporate regulations influencing the decision-making process. These differences make the desired goal of any B2C campaign to more often be to converting traffic or a lead to a sale.

B2B marketers deal with less immediate scenarios– and that’s okay! In many cases, even successful B2B campaigns don’t generate loads of sales. Sales are fantastic, but most campaigns are conducted with the goal of gathering leads or increasing product awareness and marketing to these people over the long-term.

Motivations for Both Marketers and Buyers

In a B2B scenario, the business looking to buy goods or services needs to take the time to assess their company’s goals. They want to ensure a product or service contributes to an increase in something, like productivity or sales. Marketers need to appeal to entire groups of people in order to snag sales and show how the business will benefit rather than the people.

Those marketing for B2C generally only need to get one person’s attention — a singular buyer. Because consumers tend to make snap decisions and often aren’t purchasing anything life-changing, marketers can work more to appeal to emotions and impulse. Appealing to a person’s emotions will work much better in a B2C setting.

Customer Avatars

Different buyers have different needs, and the easiest way to differentiate them is through the use of customer avatars (also called buyer personas). Numerous aspects of a potential client or consumer go into creating these avatars. Factors like demographics, lifestyle, media influences, motivations, and goals all play into what makes up your target buyer and how you should construct customer avatars.

Avatars for B2B marketers will likely involve professionals with motivation to increase their business’s profits or make their business more efficient. B2C marketers are more likely to be working with individuals in varying careers and from varying backgrounds; they need to pay more attention to lifestyle and media than those in the B2B sphere.

If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur looking for marketing assistance for your company, contact LETSDEVELOP.TV today. We’re committed to helping you create content, build marketing tools, deploy ad campaigns, and market to your target audience. Regardless of the products or services you sell, the LETSDEVELOP.TV team will be happy to guide you through every step of your marketing journey.