The differences between B2B and B2C marketing

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B2B B2C marketing

While you might think that the processes involved in business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing should be fairly similar, there are vast disparities in the way these two types of companies target their audience. In this article, we look at the difference between B2B and B2C marketing and how you can ensure your products or services are chosen by consumers.

But first, if youre unsure what the difference between B2B and B2C companies are in general, take a look at our articles below, which explain the two types of business in more detail:

Now, lets break down the purchase process for consumers and commercial buyers, before looking at how this affects the way in which B2B and B2C businesses target their audiences.

The decision-making process

B2C businesses

We all know how the decision-making process works for consumers. It involves the purchase of items like clothes, technology, homeware and childrens toys. Usually, consumers will travel to a store or use their computer, tablet or phone to browse retail websites and make their selection. This is often an impulsive decision that can take seconds. Occasionally, consumers will see an advert and decide there and then that they want to buy the product being promoted.

B2B businesses

In comparison, the decision-making process for businesses tends to be much more complex. The stakes are much higher; if the wrong selection is made, there could be huge repercussions for the business and its future profitability.

Before the purchase is made, the decision may have to go through a number of individuals, from technical, business, financial and operational departments, for example. The person who discovered or chose a product may not have the authority to actually buy it, leaving the final decision to a more senior member of the business.

While B2C companies can send out their marketing content and wait for the sales to be completed, B2B enterprises must engage in further activity with potential buyers. 60 percent of interested parties prefer to talk to a salesperson while theyre considering buying a product and researching different options. And 19 percent want to do this when they first discover the product. Whats more, just under six in 10 customers like to discuss prices in their first call with the seller.

The payment process

B2C businesses

Once a consumer has chosen the items theyd like to buy, they complete the purchase by handing over cash or a debit or credit card at the till. Or they might enter their contact and card details into the companys online payment mechanism. This can all take place within a matter of seconds. And, unlike in B2B sales transactions, all consumers pay the same price for the same product.

B2B businesses

With B2B sales transactions, customers often negotiate lower prices particularly if theyre buying in bulk. Then, they place their order and organise the delivery of the products through a specific logistics channel. Its important to note that their payment isnt taken there and then, like with B2C sales. Instead, customers are sent an invoice which they settle in line with agreed payment conditions.

The difference between B2B and B2C marketing

Of course, these different decision-making and payment processes have a huge impact on the way businesses choose to market their products and services. While B2C and B2B marketing has similar goals, the audiences of the two types of company are trying to appeal to are very different, so they need to be approached in different ways.

Here are some of the key differences between B2B and B2C marketing techniques.

B2C businesses

When businesses are communicating with consumers, they often try to give their content an emotional angle and focus on the benefits of buying a certain product or service. Customers should be able to see how their lifestyle might change if they act on the advertisement.

B2C companies can also be more general with their promotional targeting. While B2C businesses that sell homeware or baby toys, for example, can secure a sale by reaching just one member of a household, B2B firms need to be more specific and target the people who will be doing the buying (more on this below).

B2B businesses

While taking a targeted approach to marketing is important for both B2C and B2B businesses, it is absolutely crucial to the latter. As weve explained, B2B adverts have to target the actual decision-maker in a company. Only when content reaches the employees who have the ability to make purchasing decisions are sales secured.

What does this mean for your business?

The information weve provided today should give you a better idea of how to approach marketing activity. Its clear that the way you should operate will be influenced by the type of consumers youre targeting. Lets take a look at a couple of ways existing businesses alter their marketing strategies depending on whether theyre B2B or B2C companies.

However, the information weve uncovered in this article is just the tip of the iceberg. There is plenty more data out there that can help you market your business in the most efficient way possible. For example:

There is plenty B2B businesses can take away from these facts; ensure more of your potential customers notice you by incorporating videos into your marketing material.

Ultimately, although there are huge differences between the way B2B and B2C companies operate, the simple fact remains that, whatever youre selling, youre selling to people. As weve established, the key to successful B2B and B2C marketing is to truly understand the audience and target your marketing in a way that demonstrates this.

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