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Hasse Jansen, 07 Nov '18

The Differences Between B2C and B2B Marketing

There are important differences between B2C and B2B marketing. If you want to build a lasting relationship with either the individual consumer or the business buyer, it is crucial to realize what these differences are, so you can improve the effectiveness of your messages.

The majority of marketers agree that B2C and B2B marketing aren’t the same. Almost every self-respecting marketer would be able to come up with a couple of differences and explain how they influence the marketing business. But upon further inspection, it turns out there are more differences than most marketers can intuitively and spontaneously come up with.

We’ve selected the most important B2B vs B2C wisdom the Internet has to offer, and added our own customer engagement experience and expertise to it. We now have a list of all things that make B2C so different from B2B marketing. Statements are somewhat simplified, which makes them easier to consume, to get you up to speed quickly.

Acknowledge the differences today, improve your messaging, and sell more tomorrow.

B2C Consumers versus B2B Business Buyers

Here's a list of the most important differences between the two audiences:

What are they doing it for?

B2C: Satisfy (acute) individual needs. Or just to be entertained or the thrill of potentially scoring a deal.

B2B: A favorable ROI for the company. Save time, money and resources for their company.

When do they want it?

B2C: Short term. The purchases help to reach short-term goals. The benefits can usually be reaped right after buying.

B2B: Long term. Business buyers can tolerate a longer time-to-benefit. It’s an investment to help reach business goals in the (far) future.

How much do they spend?

B2C: Small amounts, but often. Individual consumers don’t spend much in comparison to Business Buyers, but they pull out their wallet more regularly. Buying 20k cans of Coke over a lifetime still generates a lot of revenue.

B2B: A large amount, but less frequently. Business Buyers don’t spend often, but when they do, they spend a lot on the product itself and implementation. A single sale could be as expensive as a truckload of Coke.

How fearlessly do they spend?

B2C: Emotional decision. A buying decision might well be an emotional choice. Purchases are generally quite cheap, so there isn’t much to lose on a bad gamble.

B2B: Rational decision. They need certainty and rational proof. Because purchases are often expensive, choosing the right product can shape the buyer’s career.

Whose support do they require to buy?

B2C: Individual choice. One simple advertisement can get the money rolling.

B2B: Group decision. The entire group of stakeholders needs to be convinced. Catered messages need to win over the individual hearts of people from different roles with slightly different expectations.

Do they know the individual they’re buying from?

B2C: Probably not. Buyers may not know anybody that works at Heineken, but they’ll still agree to “just one more beer” during after-work drinks.

B2B: Probably yes. Buyers need to develop a strong, trusting, personal connection with the seller. The seller needs to be able to answer a plethora of in-depth product inquiries for the buyer to consider a long-term investment.  

How many potential buyers are there?

B2C: Larger pool of buyers. Everyone walking by a Coke umbrella might get thirsty. If not today, maybe tomorrow.

B2B: Smaller pool of buyers. Products are usually more niche with fewer buyers in the market, who also buy less frequently. Sellers get very few chances to make an impression.

Which messages are effective?

B2C: Brand messaging and promotions. Simple, funny and sharable messages that show the benefits of the product can inspire a purchase.

B2B: Tailored messages and guarantees. Personalized messages need to appeal to specific stakeholder needs, taking into account prospect budgets.

How can messages best be delivered to attract new customers?

B2C: Communications can reach broad segments of buyers through a variety of channels. TV, Facebook ads, banners on train stations, you name it.

B2B: Communication options are fairly limited. Targeted buyers can best be reached through channels like events, webinars, LinkedIn or email.

How many messages are required?

B2C: Long-term branding and short-term promotions. When the timing is decent, a few messages can get a buyer from gaining awareness, down the buying journey, all the way to a purchase.

B2B: A streak of perfectly timed, relevant messages is required throughout the cycle. A buyer will only reach the bottom of the funnel after dozens of messages over a longer period of time.

And, of course, we put all the above differences in a rather glorious infographic.

Generating B2B Presentations on a B2C scale

If you’re in B2B, presentations are probably one of your most used marketing materials. A solid presentation can be incredibly effective, but as any sales rep will tell you, keeping presentations organized, up to date, and accessible is a challenge.

To prepare for a meeting, sales reps hastily gather useful slides from existing presentations and hack them together into a new presentation that “sort of does the job”. As a result, core messaging and branding breaks down. And there’s no visibility into what gets presented, and whether the information was accurate.

With Accent Present, you can turn your sales presentations into a sales enablement knowledge base. It gives B2B sales reps a organized, graphical overview of which slides are available to them, and how often they’re used by colleagues. Simply select the slides you need to get your message across, and generate a perfectly brand compliant presentation in seconds.

Finally, you can create tailor made presentations for B2B leads quickly, on a B2C scale.

Read all about it here.