6 Differences Between B2B & B2C Marketing

11 min read

Trying to use the same marketing strategies for both your B2B and B2C audiences? Your conversion rates are likely already suffering.

With so many key differences between B2C customers and B2B businesses, your marketing results are sure to suffer if you fail to distinguish between these two target audiences. With different buying processes, it is key to ensure the priorities of the decision-makers are tailored towards your specific audience.

So, if you're looking to optimize your digital marketing strategies to cater to B2B buyers or B2C buyers, we've got some advice for you. Here's what you need to know about B2B vs B2C marketing.

Key Takeaways

    1. B2B is short for "business-to-business," as in one business selling products/services to another business.

    1. B2B is short for "business-to-consumer," as in one business selling products/services to an individual.

    1. Mass media campaigns, including television ads and billboards, are a mainstay for large B2C brands.

    1. B2Bs usually build brand awareness using methods like networking, tradeshows, and targeted online advertising.

    1. Consumer purchases are often driven by impulse or emotions, while B2B buyers are more strategic.

Table of Contents

    1. What Does B2B Mean?

    1. What Does B2C Mean?

    1. Key Differences in B2B vs B2C Marketing

    1. FiveCRM Can Help You Convert More Leads

What Does B2B Mean?

B2B is short for "business-to-business." This term refers to one company selling a product or service to another company. FiveCRM is an example of a B2B company due to its nature of providing customer relationship management (CRM) software to other businesses. Some other examples of B2B companies include marketing agencies and wholesale vendors.

What Does B2C Mean?

B2C is short for "business-to-consumer." This term refers to one company selling a product or service directly to an individual or private consumer. Fast food restaurants, furniture stores, and hairdressers are all examples of B2C companies. When dealing directly with the consumer, you're also working directly with the end-user, which isn't often the case with a B2B offering.

Key Differences in B2B vs B2C Marketing

Now that we're all on the same page, let's get on to the differences.

1. Targeting

When you think of large companies who sell to consumers (like Nike or Starbucks), they put a lot of money into building and sustaining brand awareness with the general public. Mass media campaigns, including television ads and billboards, are a mainstay for large B2C brands. Meanwhile, you rarely see such large-scale campaigns for B2B companies.

While brand awareness is important for B2B organizations, it's on a much smaller scale. B2Bs usually build brand awareness using methods like networking, tradeshows, and targeted online advertising. So, why don't you see more ads for B2Bs on TV? While anyone could theoretically enjoy a Starbucks or wear a pair of Nikes, B2B companies usually have very niche-specific products and services that simply don't appeal to the masses.

B2Bs can still use certain mass marketing tools like social media, but they rely more heavily on establishing interpersonal relationships so they can build familiarity in their industry and get referrals over time. So, if you aren't currently using more targeted and direct methods for your B2B marketing campaigns, this is an inefficiency you should work to correct.

2. Sales Processes

Depending on the product or service in question, the time from initial engagement to purchase is generally shorter for the B2C sales cycle. At the same time, the average B2C purchase spend is generally lower. B2C marketing is generally more impersonal and based on the concept of driving a higher volume of smaller purchases amongst a large audience.

On the other hand, because B2Bs generally rely on relationship building in a niche market, the time between engagement and purchase is generally a lot longer. The B2B buying process may include a live demo, a free consultation, a conference call with the buyer's team, and/or a trial period. This means B2B companies generally invest a lot more time into closing a deal, but B2B sales generally turn a larger profit due to terms such as longer contracts.

3. Decision Drivers

Consumer purchases are often driven by impulse or emotions. Parts of consumer buying behavior can be rational, like when a customer stops to ask, "Can I afford this?" or "Do I need this?" Still, consumers can more easily be swayed by engaging marketing campaigns and gut feelings, unlike a B2B buyer.

B2B buyers generally have to be more strategic about their purchases. They're rarely driven by how a purchase will make them feel, just how it's going to affect their company's financials, personnel, and productivity. As a result, B2B buyers put a lot more thought into the decision-making process and this is one of the key reasons why the B2B buying cycle takes so much longer.

4. Stakeholders

The average B2C customer is value-driven, which means they're more than willing to shop around for a better price or better service if they're unhappy with a company's product. This is why B2C companies have to invest so much money into building a brand identity that keeps them front of mind amongst the general public with a very positive perception.

Meanwhile, purchase decisions for a business rarely come down to a single person's experience or perception. The B2B sales process often involves multiple people across different departments and at varying levels of seniority. This isn't to say that B2B stakeholders don't want a good deal, but they are more likely to negotiate and consider new solutions from the same vendor before they simply move on. After all, with so many people involved, switching to a new solution is rarely fast or easy.

5. Risk Thresholds

For most B2B companies, each customer represents thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars in contracts or potential purchases. Between license renewals, long-term commitments, and major purchase orders, unexpectedly losing a single B2B customer can put a company in a tough financial situation.

By nature, a B2B company will have fewer customers generating its revenue stream compared to a B2C company with similar numbers. For the B2C company, customers come and go all the time and some make larger purchases than others. There's a steady influx of new customers for B2C brands, but it takes a lot more effort to sign on a customer for a B2B brand.

With all of this in mind, B2C customers pose less risk than a B2B customer. A B2C customer does not take as much time or money to acquire, and they generally represent less profit. However, because B2B companies tend to service a specific niche, there tend to be fewer alternatives. So, as long as B2B companies focus on relationship-building and client retention, they can offset the risk and maximize the lifetime value of every customer.

6. Influencers and Trends

Some of the best B2C marketing strategies are successful because they leverage current trends and fads. For instance, B2C businesses can use the interests and desires of individual consumers to their advantage by working sponsorships into their marketing plan. Since B2C purchases are often emotion- and impulse-driven, paying for a celebrity endorsement can mean an excellent return on investment.

Meanwhile, B2B products are rarely endorsed by influencers or celebrities. While a B2B company could benefit from positive feedback from a major client, they rely on different marketing strategies, like content marketing, to build authority over time. Trends rarely impact the business model of a B2B company, nor do fads have any influence over the decision of potential customers.

By investing in B2B marketing that focuses on competent salespeople who can take a consultative approach, B2B companies will find they have much more impact on the buying decisions of key stakeholders compared to trying to sway them with flashy endorsements and mass campaigns.

FiveCRM Can Help You Convert More Leads

Whether your business targets B2B or B2C audiences, FiveCRM is here to help streamline your sales and marketing processes. As the only completely customizable CRM of its kind, FiveCRM can not only cater to your business needs, but also to the needs of your customers.

With FiveCRM, you can manage prospect relationships, automate marketing functions, handle outbound calling, and run thorough reports and analytics with our all-inclusive CRM software.

Ready to try it for yourself? Visit FiveCRM to find out more or book a free demo today.

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