Running marketing campaigns for different types of businesses can be highly perplexing for marketers who are not aware of the differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing.
Although it is not typical for marketing agencies to fail in distinguishing the qualities of B2B and B2C businesses from each other, it is still something that needs to be discussed among business owners and marketers.
Understanding the differences between the two types of marketing gives focus on the marketing strategies that work for one, and fail for the other. You could save your business from potentially incurring a huge loss from investing in the wrong marketing campaign if you have sufficient understanding.
What Does B2B and B2C Mean?
A quick review of the meaning of B2B and B2C can instantly give you ideas on the best practices in B2B and B2C marketing.
B2B stands for “Business to Business”. B2B businesses, generally, are the companies that sell products and services to other businesses.
Companies in the manufacturing business are typically B2B companies. They cater to suppliers and distributors that buy the products they manufacture and sell to consumers. Wholesalers are also considered B2B business owners because they sell products in bulk to other businesses that want to retail their products.
On the other hand, B2C stands for “Business to Consumers”. B2C businesses are companies that sell products and services to consumers, often for their personal use.
A retail store selling an RTW is one good example of a B2C company. Hair salons are also B2C businesses—they sell their services to individuals who want to get their hair done, among other services.
Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing Approaches
Now that we have unlocked what B2B and B2C means, and how B2B and B2C businesses differ from each other, the next step is understanding how these two major types of businesses differ in their marketing approaches.
1. Reaching the Target Audience
In order to reach your target audience for both B2B and B2C marketing, you need to be able to identify first who they are.
The following are some key strategies in identifying your target audience:
- market research
- SWOT analysis
- competitor analysis
What works for most B2B and B2C marketers is the creation of a buyer persona. Your buyer persona is basically your ideal customer.
Identifying the buyer persona is trickier for B2B companies, compared to those under B2C. B2C marketing campaigns can target anyone who would be interested in the products, whether they are the buyers or the decision-makers.
With B2B marketing campaigns, targeting a specific audience matters a lot. You want to make sure that your marketing strategies appeal to the decision-makers.
As an office chair supplier, you can’t just run Facebook ads targeting all members of a company, or the CEO, when ultimately, the decision only lies on the office manager. That would be a huge waste of time and money on ads.
2. Customer/Client Relationship Building
Building a relationship with a client is everything in B2B marketing. The quality of the relationship that a B2B company has with a client can make or break a deal, without even officially starting any deal at all.
It’s safe to say that B2B companies aim to build a personal relationship with clients. B2Bs do this by investing in personal or corporate branding, as well as in sales prospecting and networking. Personalizing these marketing approaches can attract several leads. However, what matters at the end of the day is that as a B2B company, you have a great reputation when it comes to your business practices and business ethics.
After all, your clients’ image matters to B2B companies a lot. Partnering with other companies serves as a gateway to their own marketing endeavors as well.
Now, with B2C companies, the relationships you will be building is purely transactional. Although less complex as you might think, taking care of your relationship with your customers can also be a daunting task.
You can offer promotional discounts, but what is important here is that you deliver a great customer experience in every encounter or transaction to gain repeat customers.
3. Leveraging the Buying Cycle
The buying cycle in B2B and B2C differs in a way that B2B and B2C purchases are driven by different motivating factors.
B2B clients buy a product or service after making a rational analysis of the offer before them. This takes a longer time than in most B2C companies whose buyers decide to make a purchase based on an emotional impulse.
You need to consider the buying cycle when creating and planning for your marketing campaigns. According to Stable WP, the B2B sales funnel during the customer acquisition stage includes the following phases:
- Top of the Funnel (TOFU) – Prospecting
- Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) – Lead generation
- Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) – Closing the deal
For each of these phases, you must work on marketing campaigns that build awareness about your company, warm the leads, and capture qualified leads.
4. Content Marketing Focus
88% of content marketers for B2B create content for their audience to consider their company as a credible and trusted resource. 81% of content marketers for B2C are more concerned with building loyalty with their existing customers through the content they produce.
Here are other statistics that can give you a bird’s eye view of what to focus on when planning for your content marketing strategies.
- 69% of B2C companies produce audio and visual content while 64% of B2B companies rely on these content types
- 63%of B2C marketers leverage images more than B2B marketers do with only 56% of them, to be specific
In general B2B marketers focus on long-form content, while B2C marketers focus more on social media stories and video snippets.
The following are the top five B2B marketing tactics, according to Responsify.
- social media content
- website articles
- in-person events
On the other hand, the top marketing strategies of B2C companies involve:
- offering promotional discounts
- hosting engaging activities and even competitions
- giving away freebies
- creating membership programs
- using social media and influencer marketing
Create content around these marketing strategies and maximize your returns in no time.
5. Identifying the Marketing Channels
According to Statista, Facebook remains the most important social media platform for B2B and B2C marketers.
The chart below provides more insights on which social media platforms work best for B2B and B2C.
What is remarkable is the huge difference between B2B and B2C with regard to the use of LinkedIn, which is not surprising at all knowing that LinkedIn is where most professionals are, and most activities are related to business.
Indeed, these key business areas work differently for B2B and B2C businesses. Every successful business owner and marketer knows where the difference lies and how to work around the challenges in marketing.