B2B vs B2C Marketing: The Key Differences Explained

It’s no secret that B2B and B2C companies have different marketing strategies. Because their audiences are different, they must gear their content in different directions.

B2B and B2C companies don’t reinvent their methods, but they do differ in where they focus their social media efforts. This is because they’re focusing on different audiences that have different interaction needs.

If you want to learn more about B2B vs B2C marketing, we’re going to lay out the key differences between them so you know how to leverage your audience’s wants and needs for your marketing plan.

B2B vs B2C Marketing: The Key Differences Explained

Understanding B2B vs B2C

In order to cover the differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing, we have to cover the difference between B2B audiences and B2C audiences.

B2B stands for “business-to-business,” while B2C stands for “business-to-consumer.” B2B companies sell products and services to other businesses. B2C companies sell products and services to consumers.

Businesses and consumers respond differently to different media. Therefore, companies use different ways to bring in their desired audience.

B2B Companies

As we discussed, B2Bs are businesses that target their sales to other businesses. B2B companies are usually specific to a niche area of products and/or services.

Marketing decisions are usually rationally-driven for B2B companies. This means that they want to show companies why they need their help by pointing out weaknesses in their customers’ strategies and business plans.

If a B2B marketing strategist can find a hole in another business’ plan, they might be able to sell their services to fill that hole. For example, a business that provides SEO services may want to point out that SEO is important, and their customer needs to be better at it. The B2B company can then present their services or products to help them with their SEO strategy.

B2B companies are most concerned with lead generation. When it comes to marketing, lead generation refers to the generation of consumer interest in a product. This can also include an inquiry about the product.

By producing this interest, B2B companies can reel their potential customers in. From there, the sale takes place and the marketing team has made a successful decision.

B2C Companies

As we said, B2Cs are businesses that target their sales to consumers. They are usually involved in a large-scale market that is built for a wide range of products and services to serve their consumers.

Marketing strategists for B2C companies make far more emotional appeals. They want to appeal to their buyers emotionally because it is what individuals respond to the most.

For example, a B2C company that is selling a cooking pot may compare their pot to others. They may tell you about how other cooking pots are difficult to cook with or heavy to handle. Then, they can tell you about how their product is better than the product you’re currently using.

By appealing to consumers’ emotions, they can grow their sales. This works better for consumers than for businesses.

B2C companies focus on developing brand awareness. They do this through various social media channels and other means of communication.

By building brand awareness, B2C companies are making sure that they become popular among individuals. They are hoping that the repeated exposure to their products and services will keep you thinking about them as a company.

B2C companies also try to think about following trends. They want individuals to tell other individuals about their company and its products and services.

Discussing B2B vs B2C Marketing Strategies

Now that we’ve discussed B2B and B2C companies, their audiences, and their basic marketing goals, we can discuss how they have shaped their marketing strategies. You may see that these strategies match the marketing basics that we discussed in the last section.

B2B vs B2C: Customer Relationships

Since one kind of company deals with businesses and the other deals with individuals, it is easy to see why customers would be handled differently by these different businesses. Marketing specialists for each company want to be sure to gear their marketing strategies to their desired customers.

The truth is that businesses do not act the same as individuals.

There are thought processes that happen in individuals that don’t take place in businesses. There are checks and balances that take place in businesses that don’t take place in individuals.

Let’s explore what the differences between B2B and B2C customer relationships are.

B2B

Business-to-business companies focus on building personal relationships with the businesses that they are selling to. If they can build these long-term relationships, they can have long-term business from those companies they’ve created relationships with.

Building a relationship with a business looks different than building a relationship with a consumer. When you’re building a relationship with a business, you need to focus on values.

When a B2B company is given the opportunity to create a relationship with a business, they need to tell that business about their ethics, morals, and other practices. By sharing this information, the business that the B2B company is trying to sell to can see them as an authority and a friend.

If you’re able to connect with other businesses like this and build your brand surrounding these concepts, you can sell well to other businesses. You should make your code of ethics stand out so that your customers can separate your business from others in the same industry. 

B2B businesses want to create leads because they depend on building that long-term relationship and getting repeated business. B2B businesses also grow on referral business. If one of their current clients tells another business about them, they can grow further.

B2B businesses must come off as a friend and an authority to their clients. Otherwise, they may not gain the respect (and sales) of other businesses.

B2C

Business-to-consumer companies focus on driving consumers to their websites to complete sales. Because your website is so important when it comes to interacting with your customers in a B2C relationship, B2C companies have to make sure that their websites are nearly flawless.

Therefore, B2C businesses focus on efficiency. They want to take a small amount of time to bring a new customer to their website and sell them something. Time is money, as some would say.

This efficiency standpoint makes B2C relationships mostly transactional. They focus on selling the product as quickly as they can to as many people as they can.

B2B vs B2C: Business Appeal

Each business has their own personal strategy or set of strategies that they use to bring customers in. If we were to lay all of these strategies out, we would find that B2B companies have many things in common, just as B2C companies have many things in common.

Business appeal is important, as it is how each company pulls their potential buyers in. If a marketing team makes a weak appeal, there is likely no sale.

Discussing the difference between B2B and B2C appeal strategies teaches us the difference between businesses and individuals in buying positions. Based on consumer response, we’ll also see why B2B and B2C focus so heavily on different kinds of appeals.

B2B

Businesses that deal with other businesses need to act as an authority. We covered this when we discussed the business-to-business relationship.

However, we didn’t cover what exactly it takes to be an authority. It’s much more than handshakes in fancy factories.

Business-to-business companies have to know what they’re talking about. If you can’t speak your customer’s language, you won’t have any customers.

For example, if a B2B company is trying to sell to a company who works in the finance industry, they have to know about finance. Your customer may have specific questions about how they can use your product or service, and you have to be able to answer eloquently.

Plus, sounding like an expert makes you seem like a more trustworthy seller. If you were representing a business, we’re sure that you’d want to buy from someone that knows your industry so well that they can predict future decisions that you’ll have to make. It’s easier for the customer this way.

An emotional appeal does not work for businesses, because they want to find products and services that work well. They want the technical language and explanation rather than any fluff.

B2C

Individual consumers are extremely different. B2C businesses have to speak the language of any individual rather than a company.

To do this, B2C companies have to be relatable. The easiest way to relate with your potential customers is through emotional appeal, the exact opposite of what we discussed for B2B businesses.

If a B2C company were to use technical, industry-driven language, they might drive an individual away. Instead, individuals want to read ads and articles that are relatable to their current or past situations. If they find things like this, they are more likely to click and visit your website.

Many B2C companies evoke emotion in their blogs, advertisements, and other communication techniques for this very reason. They want to quickly gather the attention of an individual consumer rather than turn them away with lengthy words or technical explanations.

An emotional appeal is one of the best ways to get a consumer to make a quick decision about what they want to buy. Strong emotions can even get consumers to buy services or products on the spot. 

B2B vs B2C: Personal Branding

Branding is extremely important for any business to do. Creating a cohesive, recognizable brand is how one business can stand out from the thousands of other businesses. Branding has become so popular over the years that people are now beginning to brand themselves as an individual.

Through branding, a business’ marketing team can build trust, identity, strategy, and more. Since B2B and B2C companies serve different markets, they have different branding styles.

You’ll find that these branding styles align with the customer relationships that we discussed earlier. They are connected because these companies want to appeal to the customers first and foremost.

B2B

B2B marketing focuses on branding in terms of the relationships that they build with the businesses that they sell to. The image that you’re sending to the businesses that you’re connecting with should be the start of your personal brand.

This image then spreads as you’re referred from business to business. That image then becomes your brand.

From there, B2B businesses can deliver quality products and/or services with consistency. This kind of respect and good business practice can then further the brand image of your business.

Brand recognition shines through as a company’s personality shines through. As you plan how you want your company to look, you should focus on personality traits and types.

Since your business will focus on relationships, this is the best way to establish as a trusted, authoritative voice. Based on what you choose, your company can be recognized on style, voice, attitude, and other personality traits.

B2C

B2C marketing focuses on a message. This message is usually a set of beliefs or a slogan. Having a slogan is usually a better decision since customers can remember it easily and associate those words with the business in the future.

Most B2C companies will find a way to associate their product with positive emotions using their slogan. Slogans may also show a sense of loyalty or credibility. 

Many B2C marketers are also quick to make accompanying advertising copies to join their message/slogan. With a quick sentence and an eye-catching graphic, consumers can easily remember a company and what it stands for.

Getting a Hold of Your Digital Marketing Strategy

After learning about the differences between B2B vs B2C marketing, you should finally be clear on what the goals of each kind of company are. They seem similar, but their audience makes such a big difference in their strategizing.

No matter who your audience is, we can help you improve your marketing strategy. We will give you a free digital marketing review to evaluate how well (or not well) you’re interacting with your audience online.

Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry. With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.

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About the author...

Located in the heart of the Emerald Coast - Destin, FL, founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization / and PR campaigns, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.

With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.

Jason Hall 5Channels.com

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