How is B2B Marketing different from B2C marketing?

How is B2B Marketing different from B2C marketing? is one of those fundamental Marketing 101 things that anyone who takes a marketing class must study. Surprisingly, there appears to be  substantial confusion between these two concepts and this post is an attempt to clarify the differences between the two. For simplicity, let us assume a for-profit business that is doing the B2B buying:

  1. Need is different in B2B and B2C: Need is very different in B2B and B2C. When a business buys in B2B they are primarily buying to feed their internal operations. The feeding may be an internal user – deep inside the buying organization. Think  of a machine that an operator and manufacturing group will use in a distant factory. “Feeling good”, “great brand” are less important than functionality. What you sell to a business must do the job – for the business- that both are hoping for. B2C is far more personal satisfaction oriented. If drinking a new fruit smoothie makes some consumers feel great- that’s the target market for your B2C product.
  2. Few in B2B and many in B2C : When you market to businesses there are far fewer businesses in numbers than consumers. If you market a frozen pizza your B2B are grocery stores (few) and your B2C are customers of the grocery store(many).
  3. Personal selling in B2B vs Pull marketing in B2C: Because of the low number of businesses in any tightly defined B2B market, personal selling is viable and relationships are critical. Since B2C customers are many , in most cases it’s not economical for the marketer to engage in personal selling. Exceptions are high value consumer items ( eg. a  roof replacement  or major home renovation). Most B2C has to rely on pull marketing i.e you advertise your branded frozen pizza on TV, newspaper, flyers,  Internet so as to build brand awareness so that the customers goes and asks for your brand at the grocery store. The grocery store upon facing this consumer “pull” is more amenable to your B2B sales pitch to carry your frozen pizza.

If you are in business you have B2B customers, its  very useful to have a sense of who are the next point B2B or B2C  customers in your value chain, and what they are looking for. 

Check out our new online training on ” Decode your B2B Buying Center“.

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