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B2B vs B2C Marketing: 7 Differences Every Marketer Needs to Know

Founder of Orchid Agency
Mariya Finkelshteyn
June 29, 2021
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One of the first decisions you have to make as a startup is which product or services you will build, pain points you will solve and to whom you will sell it . At this stage most startups decide if they are making a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) product. B2B sells services and products directly to other businesses, while B2C caters to consumers for personal use and addresses emotion-driven purchasing decisions. These two are similar in many ways, but their differences run even deeper.

Understanding these differences is essential to achieve a high performing marketing strategy for your startup. Below are the seven crucial differences every marketer should know about B2B vs B2C marketing strategies:

1. Customer Relationships

  • B2C: Initiates transactional relationships

Since B2C businesses value efficiency, it minimizes the time spent getting to know the customer and this results in an extremely transactional relationship. There is a shorter decision making process, for the goal here is to push the consumers to your website or mobile app and then drive sales. You have to deliver great offers along with top-quality products at the fastest rate possible, otherwise you will lose the chance to sell them your products or services. 

To make this happen, you need to let customers have a near-perfect customer experience with your website, mobile app, landing pages, paid ads, etc.. As a marketer, offering deals for completed reviews can help you boost your startups’ number of positive reviews. One way to do this is through sending emails with personalized discount codes or store credit after the customer’s purchase. By simply providing additional value for them, you can definitely increase future user experience.

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  • B2B: Cultivate personal relationships

To say that the relationship building in B2B marketing is crucial is an understatement. Cultivating personal relationships that drive long-term business is a priority in this marketing strategy. It might be time-consuming to do this because it takes about 12 to 18 months to build a business relationship at times, but it is truly worth it. This process builds confidence in your brand and products. 

“In B2B: C-level executive won’t purchase a multi-million dollar product by clicking on a paid ad that they see on Facebook.” Mariya Finkelshteyn, CEO of Orchid Agency

 When you are able to develop meaningful and honest relationships, you can gain repeat and referral business that helps you drive revenue, brand awareness and loyalty and achieve cost economics. 

2. Target Audience

  • B2C: Stick to the marketing funnel

The target audience range in B2C businesses is much greater than in B2B. Marketers conduct lots of consumer research, user testing to understand the deepest pain points, brand sentiments and purchasing decisions. As a result, analyzing these personal demographics lets you create a better lead list and remarket those audiences that may generate sales.

In addition, the implementation of effective conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies is a significant audience targeting tactic in B2C. Curating engaging content, creating simple yet powerful conversion funnels, and making easy and quality landing pages to navigate can drive more sales for your startup.

  • B2B: Look for your niche

Unlike in B2C, B2B marketing typically looks at a wide range of decision makers, influencers, gatekeepers, users, authorizers  and other applicable personas within a specific vertical, or sector. 

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The focus here is to understand how those types of personas behave at scale and derive specific marketing and sales tactics in order to educate, influence and engage each of the persons within your target B2B accounts. 

3. Brand

  • B2C: Focus on the experience

Most CEOs in the B2C space understand, value and invest in the power of brand. Its crucial as consumers make decisions based on not only the product and also the representation of the brand. Loyalty, repeat purchases, word-of-mouth spreads so fast that in today’s word the brands that openly promote and share their thoughts on diversity, inclusion, LGBTQ+ rights get more traction.  The typical relationship between the company and the consumer is transactional, so you have to bring out quality experience and at the same time a lasting memory for your customers to ensure that they come back. 

  • B2B: Concentrate on relationships

Branding comes through relationship building in B2B marketing. With the consistency of deliverance and presentation of your services or products, you are able to start branding effectively. When you recognize where you position yourself in the market and adjust your brand towards your audience, you help in the increase of your lead generation and brand recognition.

4. Copy, Voice and Tone

  • B2C: Create emotional ads

B2C space is a lot more courageous when it comes to copy, voice and tone. That's why we see tons of great B2C companies like Nike, Apple product ads on LGBTQ+ communities, Black Lives Matter, etc. We don't see that in B2B - ever! Yet the influencers and decision makers in B2B are consumers as well. Using a relatable voice that draws the customer’s attention to click on an advertisement is also a vital part in B2C marketing. Always keep in mind that copywriting should evoke emotion in the consumer when it comes to this marketing strategy. Simply use straightforward language rather than industry jargon, so that customers can relate with you quickly. A simple ad copy that stimulates feelings can absolutely make your campaign thrive.

  • B2B: Clear, concise with value

Speak the language of your target audience and you will see how it can positively influence B2B businesses. Learning their terminologies and processes helps customers decide during the buying process. More importantly, marketing in B2B should be done professionally and with a polished tone. Never compromise your credibility when curating a copy, so better provide constructive conversation and detailed content about the product or service you are offering.

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5. Marketing Tools

  • B2C: Customer data platform (CDP)

By using CDPs, you can interpret customer data properly and create personalized experiences effectively. B2C marketing uses these tools to unify and collect customer-related data to get a full view of its customers. Additionally, this is practiced to keep track, analyze, and manage customer interactions.

  • B2B: Marketing automation tech stack

On the other hand, B2B marketing uses more traditional tools, like Hubspot, Marketo, and the like. Managing B2B marketing is a tough job, but when you have these marketing automation tools, you can perform your job easily. With these properly executed and planned tools to your website, you can experience a fast and meaningful impact. Event management, Salesforce integration, lead scoring and segmentation, as well as web activity tracking are effortlessly accessible.

6. Marketing Channels

  • B2C: Grab customer’s attention 

Primarily, B2C marketers can leverage emails, websites, paid marketing ads, and social media channels from a sales and customer service perspective. You can jumpstart your marketing campaign, create immediate results for your brand, and upsell services and products based on where the customers spend their time the most. Online presence will then definitely be felt on Google and other marketing channels.

  • B2B: Communicate with the right enterprise

B2B uses channels depending on which enterprise to focus on. Whether it is a small business, a mid-sized one, or a large-scale organization, identifying it beforehand is critical. A higher value is placed on educational formats, such as webinars, conferences, and blogs when it comes to B2B marketing. That is why it pays to communicate with the right enterprise when dealing with B2B vs B2C marketing. 

7. Sales Process Ownership

  • B2C: Product +Marketing Duo

Both sales and marketing drive B2C ownership. The decision-making process is simplified where you can use their expertise in converting funnels to maximize return of investment. You also need to formulate influential advertisements that give the consumers the need for a product. Once the need has been identified, the consumers then have a clear understanding of what product they are looking for. 

  • B2B: Sales-led Journeys

B2B relies heavily on a sales team to wrap up the sales cycle. There should be constant and open communication among the team in order to complete any tasks. To address different decision-maker’s needs, you will need to understand your audience, too. If you are able to deliver a specific message, then you can be ahead of your competitors. 

Understanding B2B vs B2C Marketing

Having been able to read and internalize the differences between B2B and B2C marketing, you can now apply these to your own business and eventually improve your revenue. As a marketer, it takes quite some time to master such things, but everything will impact your business in a positive way.

Not sure how and where to start? Reach out to us and we will assist you in creating that big change in your business!