Key Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing You Need to Know

By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on Aug 26, 2022

If you are trying to build a marketing agency or build an advertising agency, you should have a deep understanding of the differences between B2B and B2C marketing. Of course, some businesses are both business to business and business to consumer. For example, a law firm could offer corporate law services but also offer family law services.

Although there are similarities between B2B and B2C marketing, there are also important differences it’s important to keep in mind. They are not the same.

Some of the key differences include

  • Target audience
  • Price, sales cycle and decision making
  • Volume
  • Customer relationships

Target Audience Differences Between B2B and B2B Marketing

B2B

As we have already established, B2B companies sell to other companies rather than consumers. For example, they might sell enterprise software to corporations or machinery for an assembly line.

B2B businesses often sell to a particular niche. So, in addition to understanding B2B marketing, it doesn’t hurt to have a passing acquaintance with that niche or research it. Of course, you will also want to collect and analyze data you gather with marketing tools and campaigns. Data can help you immensely in your quest to reach the right audience and to generate leads, the lifeblood of B2B businesses.

B2B companies are selling to a much smaller pool than B2C companies, so they focus heavily on the quality of leads and prospects.  B2C companies of course also want to market to audiences who are likely to be interested in their products, but they are still much more concerned with quantity of leads that B2B companies.

Of course, B2B companies don’t need to make anywhere near the volume of sales that B2C companies do, because their corporate clients typically have large budgets (larger than consumer budgets anyway) that may already have been set aside for the purpose.

B2C

B2C companies as we have seen, sell directly to consumers. Think Coca-Cola. Sure, a business could buy Coca-Cola, but it is primarily intended for consumers.

B2C marketing is aimed at individual people and household budgets as opposed to B2B marketing that is aimed at corporations with much bigger budgets.

While B2B businesses typically address a niche market, B2C businesses usually serve a wider, more varied market.  B2C marketers can of course narrow their efforts to those who are more likely to be interested through digital remarketing strategies such as remarketing. But it’s never going to be the personalized kind of marketing common in B2B. More on that in a moment.

Price and Sales Cycle

Both B2B and B2C marketing efforts are designed to move prospects along the funnel to a purchase. But because of the difference in the markets and the products and services sold, the process of getting the prospect to take the next step is one of the major differences between B2B and B2C marketing.

B2B businesses tend to sell products and services that are much higher priced than B2C companies. Not only that, but when a business makes a bad buying decision, it can have much further reaching repercussions than when Sue down the street buys a laptop that doesn’t quite meet her expectations.

For example, if a business makes the wrong decision buying an enterprise software system that does not work properly, certain business functions could come to a standstill while they address the problem.  This could cost thousands or even millions of dollars.

With all this in mind, it should come as no surprise that the B2B sales cycle takes longer than B2C. There are more decision makers and influencers to convince, and they probably want a lot of proof that buying from your client’s company is the best choice. Depending on the product or service, a B2B sales cycle can take months.

When selling to consumers on the other hand, the goal is to influence those open to purchasing the product to do so immediately. Sure, if the consumer is buying a laptop v. a pack of gum, they are going to do a bit of research. But that typically only involves a quick process such as reading some online reviews and asking a couple friends about the brand.

But when a business makes a purchase, particularly a large business, it may involve several interdepartmental meetings, reports, budget shifts and approvals and maybe even a customized demo that could last months.

There is a dearly held sales axiom that people buy with their heart rather than with their head. This is especially true in B2C marketing. It also holds some sway in B2B marketing, but in B2B it is particularly important that, you also make a solid, logical financial and business case with all the right specs to back up product appeal.

Volume  

Since consumer goods tend to be much lower prices than those intended for corporate consumption, it also follows that B2C marketing needs to move a higher amount of sheer product volume than B2B companies. This is one reason that B2C marketing tends to be much more in your face and to use as many channels as possible. Its success depends on the product constantly being shown in its best light to the public at large.

Customer Relations

The trend in marketing today is toward increased personalization and connection with customers. But B2B marketing is always going to be much more relationship-driven than B2C marketing. B2B Salespeople often work with executives over many months before they make a sale. As we have discussed, B2B sales are much higher ticket, and the sales cycles takes much more time than B2C sales which can often be almost instantaneous.

Let’s put it this way. Consumers don’t expect to get to know a Coca-Cola sales rep well before they buy a case.  That’s just not the case with expensive B2B purchases. The degree of customer interface and connection is another one of the key differences between B2B and B2C marketing.

Umbrella Handles Both B2B and B2C Marketing

Whether your agency’s clients are primarily B2B, B2C or both, Umbrella’s white label services can be tailored to their needs. We understand the differences between B2B and B2C marketing. You don’t have to do it all.

Whether you want to build your own marketing agency or have been in marketing for years, contact Umbrella for a free consultation. Umbrella is the best marketing service reseller platform to help your agency and your clients’ businesses grow.

 

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