B2B vs. B2C Marketing Strategy

A colorful mural split down the middle with a brain superimposed over a microchip on the left side and a heart surrounded by colorful paint splotches on the right

Whether you own a business, run a business or work for a business, you’ve likely heard the words B2B and B2C more times than you can count.

Best defined as acronyms for the two most common types of business transactions, B2B stands for “business to business,” and B2C stands for “business to consumer.”

While these abbreviations come with slightly different considerations in sales, marketing, product development and customer service roles, there are a few rules of thumb that almost universally apply to each side of your business.

Key Differences Between B2b and B2c

Perhaps the most important strategic consideration when talking about business-to-business versus business-to-consumer is the conversion levers.

While marketing strategies tailored to both consumers and business leaders need to invoke an emotional appeal for successful lead generation, appealing to a business decision-maker is more often rooted in logic.

In other words, marketing strategies tailored to selling products and services to consumers should focus on alignment with potential customers’ identities and ideals, with a secondary focus on cultivating positive feelings during the buying process and overall customer experience with your brand.

Conversely, b2b marketing should also focus on invoking emotion, with a secondary focus on communicating the benefits, features and potential return on investment your product or services can bring your target audience. While cultivating emotional appeal with decision-makers is also vital as a b2b marketer, winning in the mid-market and enterprise space typically requires aligning multiple stakeholders with varying personalities and interests.

Business to Business Marketing Strategy

Successfully marketing products or services to b2b businesses requires careful consideration of your target audience, needs, and the decision-making process.

Once you grasp these fundamental considerations, you’ll need to grab the attention of the decision-makers who work at the company.

Often selling products or services to businesses requires selling multiple departments within each company on your solution.

Especially in the realm of Saas products and other big-ticket items, it’s not uncommon to see IT, Operations, Marketing, Finance and Sales decision-makers all with a seat at the table. While one or two respected evangelists can help sell your b2b buyers internally, b2b marketers need to arm these advocates with knowledge on features and return on investment to win.

Suppose you’re a b2b-focused business facing a lengthy buying cycle or gatekeepers. In that case, you may need to shift your marketing focuses to finding a messenger who can get your content marketing in the hands of the actual decision-makers.

In these situations, it may make sense to focus your initial marketing strategies on cultivating emotional appeal, shifting to a logic-focused content marketing strategy once you have someone’s attention.

B2C Marketing Strategy

As aforementioned, winning at B2C marketing requires a focus on emotional appeal.

While many b2c customers may indicate they purchased your product or service for a helpful feature or other perceived benefit, few b2b purchasing decisions have anything to do with logic.

On the contrary, a recent Harvard study found 95% of B2C purchasing decisions are subconscious.

https://www.inc.com/logan-chierotti/harvard-professor-says-95-of-purchasing-decisions-are-subconscious.html

Perhaps more interesting is finding that when asked why they completed a purchase process, the overwhelming majority of b2c buyers contradict what they actually feel when asked why they made a purchase.

The NLSG Perspective

Humans are driven by feelings.

If you want potential customers to remember your product or brand, you need to get them engaged and passionate.

Outside of b2b and b2c marketing, NLSG believes it is crucial to differentiate the types of transactions your business conducts and the strategies you employ.

Regardless of whether you’re taking sales, marketing, customer services or anything in-between, it’s critical to know who you’re targeting and what compels them to act.

While emotional appeal may be the most effective conversion lever at your disposal, the synergy between emotion and logic is where the magic happens in b2b.