B2B and B2C marketing: what’s the difference

If you are planning to start a business, one of the crucial things to figure out is whether you want to be B2B or B2C oriented. Both business models have their advantages and disadvantages. Furthermore, the marketing strategy is also different. It is crucial to understand the difference between B2B and B2C marketing, and how it affects your business.

B2B and B2C marketing: what’s the difference
B2B and B2C marketing: what’s the difference

What are B2B and B2C business models?

The B2B model means business-to-business. In simple words, you are selling your products to other companies.

On the other hand, B2C (business-to-consumer) companies sell directly to consumers.

The main difference between the two is who your client is. This is important because it also affects other elements of your business:

  • If you are looking to purchase a property for the company, consider your industry, business model, and the volume of your clients. Some B2C companies often require larger properties (think grocery stores). However, if you wish to build a mall and rent space to SMB retailers, that also requires a large property. It all depends on what the nature of your business is;
  • The marketing strategy requires a different approach. If you compare B2C and B2B customers, both groups have distinct needs, requirements, and purchase habits;
  • The entire sales process is also different. B2C customers purchase small amounts, while B2B customers make large deals;

To understand more about how to approach the marketing process, let’s talk about a couple of different factors and show the difference between the B2B and B2C business models.

Pricing model

B2C businesses often offer single-tier pricing that includes discounts. For example, a pair of jeans will cost the same no matter how many you buy. There could be a seasonal discount or an offer where you buy 2 items to get the third one discounted.

For B2B businesses, the pricing model works a bit differently. B2B clients often make large purchases. For that reason, you need multi-tiered pricing. That means, if you are selling POS software to retailers, you could offer one price if they purchase a license for 10 registers, or you could offer a different price if they purchase for 50 registers. You could also have a third price in case the retailer wants to make a purchase for several stores.

Buying cycle

Another difference between B2B and B2C customers is the buying cycle. B2B clients buy larger quantities, and they act more slowly. A business will usually research different companies before making a decision. B2C consumers buy more often, usually every day.

This is very important because it completely changes the marketing strategy.

B2B and B2C marketing tactics

We know how much customer pain points affect the success of a marketing campaign. Both B2C and B2C customers have problems that need solving.

When it comes to researching B2B customer pain points, the process is a bit more challenging. Think of it this way. A B2C client might have a problem because of low income. If they want to purchase food, they are looking for a cheaper grocery store. Their problem is the price of the food. By slightly reducing the costs or offering discounts on weekends, you can solve their issue.

B2B businesses work with much larger numbers. They also often purchase internationally, so their pain points are different. Have that in mind when looking for the focus point of your marketing campaign.

How to do SEO?

SEO for B2C clients is mostly done on a local level. B2C businesses first focus on the local area before expanding.

However, SEO for B2B requires a different approach. B2B clients do more thorough research before making a deal, and SEO for this type of business plays a major role. It affects branding, massively increases website traffic, and creates international exposure. When you think of SEO for B2B, think about reaching businesses all around the world.

The importance of case studies and testimonials

B2C marketing substantially benefits from customer testimonials. Let’s look at eCommerce, for example. If you are selling clothes online, every customer review counts towards building your reputation. If a client writes how the entire process was easy, and the jeans they bought fit perfectly as described, that is a good commercial for the next buyer. It is short, simple, and straight to the point.

B2B marketing should instead focus more on case studies. A case study is an in-depth testimonial. It covers every nook and cranny of your product. If we go back to our example of selling POS systems, a case study would mean that the company that purchased your software provides a detailed review of how satisfied they are and analyze your software in detail.

Marketing budget and resources

When it comes to how much you should pay for a marketing campaign, that depends on multiple factors, both for B2C and B2B. It is true that, with B2B clients, you need to cover a much larger market. Instead of focusing on your local area, you are going globally. That alone will require a lot more resources.

Nevertheless, a B2C marketing campaign can also be very costly. If you are running a chain of grocery stores, you need to reach out to the clients in the entire city, or even your country.

Finding resources for your business and the marketing campaign is never easy. Luckily, options exist. The best advice is to set a marketing goal, calculate the ROI, and use that research to set the budget for your campaign.

B2B and B2C marketing differences explained

Let’s do a quick summary for the end:

  • B2B businesses act more slowly and buy in larger quantities, while B2C customers buy every day, and in smaller quantities;
  • the pricing model for B2B clients is more complex, and it usually requires multiple tiers of pricing depending on the purchased quantity;
  • B2C companies more focus on local SEO, while B2B businesses have better chances of working both with local and international companies;
  • while B2C benefits from customer reviews, B2B should rely more on using case studies in the marketing campaign;

As you can see, B2B and B2C marketing differences significantly affect the entire process and results. The key takeaway should be to thoroughly research your clients and their needs and use that to set marketing goals that will further dictate all aspects of the marketing campaign.