What is the difference between B2B and B2C marketing?

What is the difference between B2B and B2C marketing?

B2B and B2C are two different types of company that every marketer needs to be clued up on. This blog post will take you through the differences between them and how these differences have an effect on marketing.

So, what’s the difference?
“B2B” refers to “Business to Business”, where one business is offering a solution or product to another business. “B2C” refers to “Business to Consumer” where a business is offering a product or solution to an individual customer. To help you understand the difference a little better, here are a few examples of each type of company and what they do:

Hootsuite – B2B
Hootsuite is a marketing tool that allows companies to manage and analyse their social media accounts from one place. Hootsuite are a B2B business as they offer a useful marketing solution to marketing employees to help improve the running of business social media accounts.

Netflix – B2C
Popular streaming service Netflix charges a subscription fee that allows customers to access a huge range of films and series. Netflix is a B2C company as their subscription is directly aimed at the individual consumer, not a business.

Cisco – B2B
Cisco offer a range of networking solutions to other businesses including access networking, routers, switches, phone systems and more. Cisco are a B2B business as their networking solutions are created for businesses rather than individuals.

Starbucks – B2C
Starbucks coffee is a popular coffee chain that sells coffee and other food and beverages to customers across the globe. Starbucks is a B2C company as their products are directly marketed to the individual consumer.

Differences in Marketing
Due to the differing audiences of each type of business, there are key differences in how each business type is marketed to the consumer.

Head vs Heart
When thinking about B2B and B2C Marketing, it can be useful to think of the difference between them as a Head vs Heart approach. B2B is about logistics – whereas B2C is more about impulse decisions and emotion.

B2B Marketing
When marketing to a business, there is more of a focus on building a client relationship and providing detailed information about how your solution will benefit the buyer. This is due to the fact that there is often a bigger commitment when purchasing a solution for a company.

For example, using one of the business examples outlined above, when a company decides to purchase networking solutions from Cisco, they will more likely be spending a larger sum of money on a product that will affect the day to day running of that company. The decision to buy also has repercussions on the employee or department that decided to make the purchase, so the stakes are higher. Therefore, the buyer will want to see that they can put their trust in the company to deliver long lasting results and also convince their higher-ups that the product is worth the cost.

B2C Marketing
When marketing to an individual, there is not as much emphasis on building a relationship with the customer. Sure, building trust with the customer will keep them coming back – but that initial purchase doesn’t require the same amount of relationship building as B2B does.

With B2C, customers usually already know what they are looking for - and are often driven by impulses and feelings. For example, when a customer decides to buy from Starbucks, they already know that they want a coffee. So, the question is not why they need that product – it is where they will purchase that product from. This means that B2C Marketing campaigns will focus more on invoking a certain emotion or reaction to get the customer to make that impulse decision to choose their product over their competitors.

We hope you’ve found this blog post useful and are a bit more clued up on the differences between B2B and B2C marketing. If you’d like to learn even more about marketing, why not take a look at our range of Sales and Marketing courses.