Although all marketing efforts have a common goal, the path to that goal varies greatly depending on who you are targeting. In other words, your marketing strategy will change depending on whether your target is BtoB or BtoC.
What Are BtoB And BtoC
Ultimately, the main distinction between B2B and B2C marketing is the third letter of the acronym, i.e. “B” for business and “C” for the consumer. For example, in a B2C e-commerce model – the most common marketing method – the goal is to sell to customers, who are the end users of what is being sold. B2B marketing, on the other hand, is aimed at other businesses, which means that you cannot address them as individuals because they are not the ones using the product/service.
Let’s take the example of an advertising service. As such, it is a B2B company because it sells to other businesses that need help with their marketing activities. So when they publish materials, they speak to decision-makers with a say in who their organization hires for marketing assistance. If the business is a fashion brand, it will be B2C and sell directly to customers, for example, by publishing a guide on how to dress appropriately for a given season. In summary, the main distinction between B2B and B2C ads is the target audience. And while there are undoubtedly parallels between the two, one ends in “B” and the other in “C” implies that there would still be distinctions.
5 Differences Between B2B And B2C Marketing
The Target Audience
As stated earlier, the main distinction between B2B and B2C marketing is the audience, that is, an actual customer or business that can target other companies or customers. As such, the B2C audience comprises a single decision maker who is most willing to purchase a product for personal use and can choose features and benefits that meet their needs.
B2B, on the other hand, can cater to anyone from a single C-level employee to an entire board that manages all of the company’s decisions, resulting in a broader audience that is more concerned with how the organization as a whole can benefit; an audience that desires goods or services that can help the business improve.
The Language Used
A second distinction between B2B and B2C advertisements is the vocabulary used. This distinction is based on the target audience. When the goal is to reach another business, the B2B marketing language is often heavily dominated by industry jargon and similar words that speak more to the brand’s expertise than the goods or services themselves.
B2C, on the other hand, is aimed at individual users, which results in vocabulary that is more accessible and simple enough to be understood by a wider audience. Besides words, another aspect that sets B2B and B2C marketing apart is sound. As B2B is aimed at other businesses, the tone will be more formal and authoritative, conveying trust and respect. Although B2C always seeks to dominate, it often takes a more casual – and often sarcastic – tone intended to be conversational.
Marketing activities will not fully begin until an audience and vocabulary have been identified. In this regard, B2B and B2C brands will determine the proper channels to reach their customers, i.e. the networks used to distribute the content. Since a B2C audience would consist of users who can be found almost anywhere, almost any medium can be used, emphasizing specific platforms that are more effective for businesses in particular industries, for example, Instagram and Pinterest are great platforms for fashion brands that are very visual.
Because B2B viewers are made up of other businesses, they are more particular in their chosen platforms. While you can still engage with them through Facebook and Twitter, you’re more likely to succeed on LinkedIn, which is more business-oriented than other social media platforms.
The following distinction between B2B and B2C marketing is the trigger needed to convert your audience. Although emotion plays a role in all marketing efforts, it must take a back seat in B2B in favor of rationality and performance, which resonate better with an audience seeking expertise. Likewise, since this demographic is accustomed to pitches and other marketing efforts aimed at them, you want informational materials that highlight key product features and describe how the goods or services will help their organization.
B2C marketing differs from B2B marketing in that, unlike the latter, it focuses on feelings and, more often than not, that’s why they came to you in the first place (e.g., a trigger emotion based on a desire). Additionally, they place greater importance on hearing from other customers, as evidenced by their willingness to see reviews and recommendations from people who have been in their shoes before.
Finally, since businesses and customers demand very different goods and services, the final key distinction between B2B and B2C marketing is the duration of each marketing activity. To justify it, it must be considered that a company will use the services of another company. Sometimes, it will need assistance, such as software streamlining internal processes. In this scenario, the purchase will depend on a deal that lasts months or years.
Although B2C customers can also place long contract-based orders, the lead time is often much shorter and reserved for the period of the initial order and product distribution, which may be just a few minutes for others. Consequently, the decision-making time for the purchase is significantly shorter. Additionally, B2C is more in the moment, as customers are unlikely to purchase a product based on an ad or social media post they saw months ago. In contrast, B2B marketing is more long-term and attempts to create partnerships in case the target company needs its services in the future.
Ultimately, the distinction between B2B and B2C ads comes down to who you’re marketing to and why. Suppose you’re marketing to another company whose primary interest is the organization and those it serves. In that case, you’ll end up using a systematic, business-oriented tone that emphasizes rationality and the benefits that the company will achieve. If, on the other hand, you address customers directly, the vocabulary will be more relaxed and closer to reality, taking advantage of the feelings that some consumers may experience.
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