There are plenty of similarities between how B2B and B2C businesses operate; however, there’s a fundamental difference in their target audiences and their interactions.
B2B businesses engage with other companies, while B2C businesses deal with consumers. Marketers in both these companies have to figure out effective ways to reach out to their target audiences and generate sales. The marketing strategies and channels used in B2B and B2C are very different—including digital marketing strategies.
Digital marketers for B2B and B2C businesses use data, financial motives, and emotions to connect with their target audiences, but the content they produce is unique to their industries.
B2B marketing strategies cater to other businesses instead of regular customers. Since their products, services, and solutions are marketed to potential partners and clients, all their marketing efforts are directed toward procurement teams and personnel, and other managers who make critical purchasing decisions.
Unlike B2C businesses where a few people (mostly just a single person) make the purchasing decision, in B2B companies, there’s an entire decision-making unit for the job.
Everyone from procurement personnel to VPs will need to sign-off on purchases made by a company.
Marketers will have to devise strategies that appeal to everyone in the decision-making unit.
Motives Behind the Purchase
The motives behind a purchase are very different between buyers in B2B and B2C companies. B2C buyers are motivated by their wants and desires, but the buyers in B2B companies have to put the company’s best interests first. They’re concerned about the company’s needs.
B2B buyers have to justify their purchases; they can’t afford to splurge on products or invest in the wrong company.
Marketers have to keep these motives in mind when designing marketing strategies.
Interactions With Target Audience
B2B personnel know the importance of building long-lasting relationships with their partners. Although the 80:20 rule applies to both B2B and B2C companies, it’s a lot more significant for the former.
Personal interactions are crucial for B2B businesses. Contracts are longer, so sales procedures can last many months.
Marketers will need to highlight selling points, like ongoing maintenance, updates, special offers, etc., in their marketing communications.
B2C companies sell goods, services, and solutions directly to end-consumers. Their target audience is usually more diverse in terms of their needs, desires, and concerns. The digital marketing strategies implanted by these companies will target multiple segments of the market.
Decision-making units for B2C companies are limited to a few people or just one person. Buying decisions are usually made fairly quickly depending on the type of product, service, or solution you’re offering.
Needs and Wants
Marketers working for B2C companies have to be in tune with the target audience’s needs and wants; they must keep both in mind when developing strategies and communication.
Interactions with Target Audience
Thanks to digital marketing, the way B2C companies interact with their target audience today is completely different from earlier.
Now, interactions between companies and their customers are ongoing through social media channels, loyalty programs, memberships, and other perks.
Let’s look at the key differences between the marketing strategies of B2B and B2C companies.
Differences in Marketing Strategies Between B2B and B2C Companies
Marketers for B2B and B2C companies are catering to completely different types of audiences.
The target audience for B2B companies consists of decision-makers. B2B sellers aren’t concerned about low-level staff or the end-users of the product; they only want to talk to those who make the purchasing decisions.
For example, a company that sells medical software that helps clinics manage their appointments better won’t deal with the personnel who actually use the software; it will only reach out to the CIO responsible for purchasing tech.
Their marketing efforts will be focused on platforms like LinkedIn, other relevant forums, and industry-related online groups. Mailing lists and email marketing are also critical digital marketing components for B2B companies.
B2C companies can direct their marketing efforts to anyone who can use their products, services, and solutions. Often, the person making the purchase isn’t even the end-user of the product. Kids who see a PS4 ad on TV will have to convince their parents to buy it for them.
Because of all these reasons, B2C marketing efforts must cater to a broader audience using multiple channels and various communication methods. A PS4 marketing campaign that targets Grand Theft Auto lovers will be very different from one that targets parents with an 8-year-old.
Appeal to Logic Vs. Appeal to Reason
Whether its McDonald’s I’m Loving it campaign or Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, so much of B2C marketing is directed at people’s emotions. B2C companies are experts at appealing to their target audience’s emotions; it helps them distinguish themselves from other brands.
PepsiCo’s Mirinda campaigns evoke very different emotions from their Mountain Dew campaigns.
B2C marketers have to think about the emotional needs their products fulfill when designing marketing strategies. Storytelling is the name of the game in B2C digital marketing strategies. They involve riveting content, interactive social media marketing techniques, eye-catching display ads, and inspirational video marketing solutions.
On the other hand, B2B marketers have to appeal to their audience’s logical side; there are no emotions involved in B2B purchase decisions. Purchases are keeping the company’s best interest in mind, and nothing else. Marketing communication for these companies revolves around the features of the products and services they’re selling.
Although B2B digital ad copies and marketing collateral will contain industry jargon and industry-relevant information, it needs to be presented in a way that’s easy for decision-makers to understand. Paid search ads that are too complex and dry web content will be overlooked.
ROI is vital for B2B businesses; even before they make a purchase, B2B teams spend time crunching numbers to determine whether the investment is worth it. They use all kinds of information to see how making the purchase will impact their bottom line.
B2B marketers must use data-driven marketing strategies that appeal to potential clients.
The B2C target audience isn’t too concerned about their ROI; they’re interested in getting great deals, entertainment, and the emotional benefits of purchasing a product.
Various groups of B2C buyers will have different priorities; many of them wouldn’t mind compromising durability and functionality for a great deal.
According to reports, 93% of B2B marketers claim that content marketing is a critical component of their client’s digital marketing efforts; this is because their buyers use detailed, relevant, and useful educational resources to help them make purchasing decisions.
Content marketing also helps establish B2B companies as an authority figure in their industries, especially when their content is published on reputable platforms relevant to the industry.
B2C buyers also like content; however, they consume content for entertainment purposes rather than to obtain information. They’re looking for relatable content that “speaks” to them in their voice; it doesn’t even have to be related to the client’s products and services.
The Cost of Digital Marketing
B2B marketing tends to be more expensive for large companies because of the nature of their industries. Because B2B companies have to maintain long-term relationships, communication between partners and clients has to be continuous. Organizations must constantly churn out relevant content to enhance brand awareness and establish themselves as an authority.
All the digital marketing efforts by B2B companies contain technical content that’s overviewed by industry professionals; therefore, B2B marketing costs more.
Unless they’re operating at a national or global level, B2C marketing costs less than the B2B marketing efforts of major companies.
B2C buying cycles are much shorter than B2B buying cycles. In most cases, a single person makes the buying decision in just a few minutes.
B2B buying cycles are a lot longer; depending on the industry, they can take more than a year. The buyers usually meet with many companies and assess all their proposals before making decisions. The buying process consists of several departments, including procurement, top management, and finance and accounts.
Mediaforce’s Digital Marketing Services
Mediaforce is a leading digital marketing agency that services B2B and B2C companies in Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, and New York.
Since our inception, we’ve helped design powerful websites that generate leads and increase revenue for our B2B clients. We take the time to meet and learn from you to create industry-specific digital marketing strategies that grow your bottom line.
We devise riveting digital marketing strategies for B2C companies that excite their customers and enhance brand loyalty.
We’re experts at creating customer-centric, data-driven strategies that deliver results.
If you’re looking for an award-winning, full-service digital marketing agency that can do it all, get in touch with Mediaforce today.