What are the Key Differences Between B2B and B2C Relationships?
Believe it or not, there was a time when there were more businesses that wouldn’t sell things to consumers. Instead, they sold products and services to other businesses. Then, the rise of the internet changed everything.
Now, most companies sell products and services to consumers online. Instead of marketing to businesses, like B2B companies did, B2C companies market to the average person.
Yet, it’s important to understand that it doesn’t matter where or how B2B and B2C companies sell their products. The marketing plans they each develop will be fundamentally different. Businesses aren’t like the average person, and people aren’t like businesses.
One kind of target audience responds to the cold calculus of profit and logic. The other is an emotional kind of customer who responds to promises of comfort and happiness.
Keep reading below to learn how B2B and B2C companies market themselves differently!
Business Buy Things Too
The B2B, or Business-To-Business, model of marketing is more straightforward than traditional marketing. Instead of having to creatively associate emotion with products or services, the B2B market is about arguing. It’s about formally making a case for your product’s ability to help people.
Marketing strategies for B2B companies are usually objective and simple. They feature graphs and hard numbers of how a product can help businesses make more money. These numbers also come from hours spent researching a business’s sales and how the product affected other businesses, using the latest tools.
The most creativity that goes into a B2B marketing plan is choosing the color of the graph. It’s about crafting hard-hitting arguments driven by numbers and research. There’s no room for emotion on the board-room powerpoint presentation.
B2C Companies Try To Make People Feel Things
While B2B companies hone their marketing around logic, businesses selling to consumers take a different approach. The marketing they develop is the kind of marketing most people are familiar with. They create advertisements trying to convince people to buy something and manage brands, for example.
The kinds of strategies developed by B2C companies are centered around creativity and emotion. The ultimate goal is to make a potential customer associate feelings of happiness and joy with a product. For example, a marketing video should show off smiles and people have fun with the product.
That way, a person will purchase it, expecting to feel even more joyful at having it in their hands.
There isn’t much room for logic or arguments on a billboard, no matter how big it is. People don’t generally respond to arguments about how the latest iPhone can boost their productivity. They respond to the potential for creativity and opportunity having an iPhone may unlock for them, and the joy they get from that.
After-Sale Service Is A Product For B2B
One of the key differences between B2B and B2C companies is what happens after a sale. Even though the target audience may have made a purchase, the company’s relationship with them doesn’t end.
With B2C companies, after-sale services usually come in the form of customer support and communication. It can also come in the form of social media engagement, encouraging people to show off their new purchase. But for the most part, companies take a hands-off approach after the target audience makes the purchase.
However, B2B companies rely on having a good after-sale service. Most of the products they market come in the form of subscription services or contracts. That means B2B companies need to work to make sure the target audience will renew with the company.
To do that, B2B companies develop constant communication channels with their customers. They send out regular update newsletters and keep in contact with business leaders to see how the product is working out for them. Their customer support departments are also usually more robust than B2C companies.
B2C Companies Build Communities
There’s one thing B2B companies can’t do with their marketing: create communities of users. Businesses are competitive, so getting them together as a community under a common product is futile. They won’t want to engage with each other.
Yet, once customers of B2C companies purchase a product, they want to keep feeling how the marketing campaign made them feel. That means they are directly incentivized to come together with other customers and share their feelings towards their purchase. Since customers are bound to create communities of themselves anyway, B2C companies usually help them.
The company’s brand usually becomes the flags under which the community thrives. For example, Google manages its Pixel community by encouraging people to take pictures with their phones and posting them. This way, Google can lead and manage their community to ensure people are satisfied with their purchases.
By being part of a community, B2C customers are also invested in more than just the product. They are invested in the community and will buy the next line of products to continue being a part of it. That means B2C marketing can create a guaranteed group of customers out of the emotions they make them feel.
B2B And B2C Companies Target Different People
The biggest difference between B2B and B2C companies are the kinds of people they cater to. Lead generation takes on totally different forms for each kind of company.
With B2B companies, lead generations come from groups of businesspeople and leaders. Their marketing strategies aren’t focused on individual demographics but are instead focused on specific groups. You can read more here about B2B lead generation, which is a totally different beast than typical lead generation.
Yet, B2C companies focus their marketing on two groups. The first are large swaths of people, who can’t possibly directly work with each other. For example, a marketing campaign for a B2C may target males between 18 -25 years old.
There’s no way for 18 – 25 years old males to get together and decide whether a product. They just know whether it’s worth the money or not individually.
The other kind of B2C marketing targets individuals. Commonly, this kind of target audience comes in the form of a household’s decision-maker. For this, B2C companies just need to assemble research about what kind of person takes a leadership role in a household.
They can then use that information to determine how to approach this kind of person. And when the household decisionmaker makes a purchase, it’s likely that the whole family will follow suit.
Different Companies Call For Different Marketing
No two companies are the same. Every company should have a unique brand and marketing strategy. If companies copied each other’s marketing, there would be an ocean of potential buyers who couldn’t be reached.
No B2B and B2C company should ever have the same marketing strategy, especially. No customer will purchase a new phone because the marketing says it may boost their productivity. And no business leader will subscribe to a service because it makes them feel good.
Marketing is different for everybody, but it can also always be improved. To get the latest information about how you should market yourself, keep reading here. Our website is constantly updated with the latest info on how you can succeed in your market!