For something that’s already playing a significant role in revolutionizing the business world, digital marketing can be surprisingly perplexing to those who are new to the industry. It’s a field that’s rife with buzzwords and catchphrases, many of which can be baffling, to say the least.
If you’ve ever sat in a business meeting wondering what the heck your colleagues mean when they go on and on about B2B and B2C, you needn’t worry anymore. We have highlighted some of the important aspects about these two marketing strategies, including what they are, their similarities, and their differences.
B2B and B2C Explained
B2B (business to business) are businesses whose customers are companies like themselves. For example, airbag manufacturers like Autoliv are B2B companies because they sell their products to car manufacturers like Toyota and Ford. Also, Salesforce is a B2B enterprise selling CRM solutions to companies.
On the other hand, B2C (business to consumer) sell goods and services directly to the consumer. Skullcandy is a great example of B2C companies.
While many enterprises follow a single business model, others adopt both types. For instance, tech giants Google, Microsoft, and Apple have units that focus on consumers and others on businesses.
Differences between B2B and B2C
In B2B, you market and sell to multiple stakeholders such as executives, IT staff, managers, or finance department, depending on the type of purchase. For example, selling an accounting software to a committee made of finance professionals. In B2C, you market and sell to an individual buyer. Think of selling a smartphone to a customer.
- Path to Purchase
In a B2B purchase, the driving factor is rational and strategic considerations. B2B buyers consider how a product or service can help their company to generate value, attain a strategic advantage, or drive revenue. They want to see the facts, statistics, and data to be certain that a product or service will fulfill their needs.
In the awareness stage, for example, one advertisement or conversation is not enough to drive B2B buyers along the funnel. They need multiple points of contact to build trust. In the consideration stage, B2B buyers require more nurturing than B2C buyers. They need to vet their options thoroughly while collecting facts. In this phase, B2B buyers should be offered numerous resources such as whitepapers and demonstrations. The decision phase of the B2B buyer’s purchase path is ongoing. The buyers will constantly review the decision to ensure it meets corporate needs.
A B2C purchase is driven by emotional attachment, personal gratification, and economic considerations. Therefore, B2C buyers require lifestyle-based content to make purchase decisions. In the awareness stage, B2C buyers are neither searching for a specific solution to a problem nor trying to develop a relationship with a brand. Instead, they are identifying the challenges they may have.
In the consideration stage of the digital marketing funnel, a B2C buyer asks themselves whether a certain product can meet their needs. They weigh the pros and cons of the product as they proceed further in the purchase path.
B2B buyers purchase products and services for many people. For instance, a company buying laptops for all employees. Also, they have to consult with various people in the company before they come to a decision. B2C buyers, on the other hand, tend to purchase products for themselves, friends, and family. Think about a person buying a blender.
- Duration of the sales cycle
B2B sales cycles are longer and need to be nurtured over a long period before a sale is made. Think about the many consultations among stakeholders that have to occur before a sale. On the contrary, B2C sales cycles are shorter. A consumer may purchase at the first touch point.
B2B customers expect more educational content that uses industry jargon and business terms. For instance, a complex article explaining how to use data analytics to enhance the customer experience. B2C customers expect easy and fun content. Think about an article describing how to travel cheaply.
Similarities between B2B and B2C
Although B2B and B2C business models seem to be different, they are numerous similarities.
- Behind both categories are real people.
- Both need excellent customer service and enhanced customer experience.
- Both require a customer-centric sales process.
- In both, you have to focus on solving clients’ problems.
- Both groups require authenticity and credibility to be engaged.
- Customers in both markets are more knowledgeable than ever.
- You need to build trust in both groups to make a sale.
- Both categories make purchases online and offline.
- In both, the customer journey does not end with a purchase; it continues to after purchase.
B2C involves selling directly to consumers, while B2B is all about selling to enterprises. Whether your business is a B2B or a B2C, you must align your marketing strategy to your target audience. This article helps you understand the two main business models so that you can better understand your business. Remember that both B2B and B2C companies have people behind them. Therefore, strive to appeal to them.