It’s tempting to lump all types of marketing into a single category – marketing – but the reality is that different types of businesses require different marketing strategies. Add on the fact that there is a wide variety of marketing channels and keeping the details straight can become even more difficult.

That’s why categories like “B2B” and “B2C” become helpful when it comes to determining what type of marketing is right for you. In this guide, we’re breaking down the differences between B2B and B2C marketing and why those differences might matter for your business. 

“B2B” vs “B2C”: What Do They Mean?

There are many acronyms in the marketing world, and two acronyms that are used most often are “B2B” and “B2C”. These terms are widely used because most businesses fall into one of these two categories.

Business-to-Business (B2B):

B2B stands for “business-to-business” and refers to the process of selling products or services to other businesses. Some examples of B2B businesses include Salesforce (CRM and sales tools for businesses) and FreshBooks (invoicing software for businesses)

Business-to-Consumer (B2C):

B2C stands for “business-to-consumer” and refers to the process of selling products directly to consumers. A few examples of some B2C businesses include Nike (sells sports apparel to customers) and Nordstrom (sells clothing and household goods to customers).

Key Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing

Obviously, the two acronyms are used to denote two different types of marketing, but B2B and B2C differ in more ways than just the name. There are some key differences in how these types of marketing are used to reach a business’s preferred target audience. 

If you are looking to launch an effective marketing campaign for your business, you’ll need to consider whether your business is B2B, B2C, or something else. To help you determine the right approach for your business, review the 5 key differences below.

Audience

The main difference between B2B marketing and B2C marketing is whom you are marketing to. With B2B, your audience is other business owners. In B2C, your audience is direct consumers.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you are trying to reach ALL business owners or ALL consumers, but these categories are helpful when it comes to establishing the right marketing strategy for your business. Once you know whether your business is B2B or B2C, you can get more specific when it comes to identifying your ideal target audience.

With B2B, you may be targeting a C-level executive at a company or entire team which oversees a business’s marketing department, for example. Your goal is to reach a single decision-maker OR a larger audience who is concerned with the business/organization as a whole. They are looking for products or services that will help the business improve.

With B2C, on the other hand, you are trying to reach a single decision-maker who is trying to find products or services that will suit their needs.

Marketing Channels

B2B and B2C businesses may use different marketing channels in order to reach their target audiences. They may also use the same channels, but their approaches will be different because they are attempting to reach businesses or consumers, respectively.

Since B2C businesses target consumers, their target audience can be found just about anywhere. Nearly all platforms can be used, though it’s best to hone in on channels that are best for your specific industry – for example, Instagram for fashion brands.

B2B businesses aim to reach other business owners, so they may need to be more selective in the channels they choose. Consider where other business owners are hanging out – perhaps LinkedIn or Facebook. 

You can also use specific B2B lead generation tools to reach business owners who visit your website, click on your ads, and more. 

Language

The language used by B2B businesses in their marketing content will differ from that of B2C businesses.

B2B language will often include industry-specific terms and jargon that’s familiar to the business owners or company decision-makers the business is trying to reach. Language may relate more to the brand’s knowledge of the industry than to the features of the products or services themselves.

B2C marketing language will appeal to the individual consumer. This language is informed by market research that tells the brand what terms or phrases will be relatable to their target audience. It may be more story-based or persuasive. Complicated lingo is to be avoided. 

B2B language tends to be more formal than B2C language. The goal here is usually to communicate authority, while in B2C, the goal is to build a relationship through a more conversational tone.

Motivation

B2B and B2C audiences will also differ when it comes to what motivates them to convert. This is because they have different wants, needs, and pain points.

While emotion may play a role in your marketing efforts, B2B marketing tends to focus more on facts, logic, efficiency, and affordability. Businesses are often looking for new ways to stay lean while increasing their business revenue. They want a company that has the services or products they need in order to grow.

B2C audiences, on the other hand, are more susceptible to marketing content that feeds on emotion. They are motivated to buy products that make them feel good or achieve an end result. Therefore, you will want to utilize compelling sales copy and highlight customer testimonials in order to convert B2C customers.

Timeline

Businesses and consumers vary in how long they will take to convert. The overall sales cycle – or timeline – will be different. 

For B2B, it may take longer for them to make a decision because they have little incentive to buy on impulse. They have a company budget to consider and may have to converse with the rest of their team before they make a decision. Also, they may be investing in a product or service on a subscription basis that extends to months or even years at a time.

B2C, on the other hand, can benefit from impulse buyers. A consumer may see a product and make a purchase within a matter of minutes. The sales cycle tends to be much shorter. They may buy a product from an ad or something they see on Instagram. With B2B, the entire Awareness-to-Purchase process is more reliant on you building relationships with B2B decision-makers over a longer period of time.

B2B or B2C: Which Marketing Approach is Best for You?

If you’re in the business of selling directly to consumers, then you’ll want to adopt a B2C marketing approach. If, however, your goal is to reach and sell to other businesses, then B2B is the way to go.

The good news is that B2B marketing is made easy when you have the right system and tools in place. At Visitor Queue, we help B2B businesses generate more leads without having to tinker around with paid ads or social media. Get leads straight from your website to your inbox – it’s that simple.
Start your 14-day free trial of Visitor Queue to start getting B2B leads today!

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