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 b2b more times than you can count.

Best defined as acronyms for the two most common types of potential customers, b2b stands for “business to business” and b2c stands for “business to consumer”.

There are a few key differences to note when it comes to sales, marketing, product development and customer service.

In the following sections, we will break down b2b vs b2c marketing with actionable tips you can use to take your strategy to the next level.

Business to Business Marketing

Business-to-business (B2B) organizations sell products or services to other business buyers.

Consequentially, these businesses need to target customers who are decision-makers making purchases on behalf of their business.

Whether you are executing a digital marketing campaign or traditional campaigns, this appeal should be rooted in clearly outlining return on investment (ROI) or quantifying benefits.

This is due to the fact that the average business purchasing decision is driven by logical and financial incentives. B2B decision-makers want to bring value to their organization and tend to do a little more diligence pre-purchase to make sure they are presenting the best option to do that.

Consequentially, a solid strategy b2b typically focuses on logical appeal with a secondary focus on emotional appeal.

The importance of logical appeal in b2b marketing boils down to your end audience.

Simply put, the b2b sales process, often involves a steering committee or group of stakeholders, rather than an individual.

These deals tend to have a longer sales cycle than their b2x counterparts.

Even if you’re marketing directly to the end decision maker off the bat, you’ll likely need a few other key players on board to make a deal happen. In larger corporations, these tertiary stakeholders often work in diverse roles within disparate departments focused on different objectives.

For example, if you’re selling an enterprise SaaS product to a marketing director, you’ll likely also need buy-in from the CIO/Director of IT and/or CFO/Director of Finance to make the sale.

Some organizations may even require a COO of the business unit or CEO of the company to be at the table for a substantial purchase decision.

While emotional connection will still likely play a key role in attracting your first evangelist, the decision-making process for a b2b prospect typically involves cost-benefit analysis and other logic-driven conversations.

Business to Consumer Marketing

Short for business-to-consumer, b2c businesses sell directly to individuals.

A b2c purchase typically has a shorter sales cycle and fewer stakeholders involved.

The key to effective b2c marketing lies in relationship building with your end consumers. This is because most of your potential customers in the b2c space are making purchasing decisions based on brand recognition and emotional connections.

Familiarity, social proof and subconscious appeal all play a role influencing the person buying your product or service. Whether they realize it or not.

Research shows nearly 90% of decisions are made on emotion alone. 

While many marketers and companies make the mistake of messaging on the features or benefits of their product or service, the key to success in b2c marketing and lead generation lies in the strength of your customer relationships.

Even though a customer may name cost performance, product features or other tangible elements of your product when asked why they made the purchase, these statements are oftentimes more of a post-purchase justification than a peek into their true reasoning.

The subconscious is a force to behold.

Underneath the surface of our persona and our conscious being, the influence our subconscious has on our decisions is staggering.

Adding that most of our subconscious thoughts are rooted in emotion to the equation, the importance of emotional appeal in b2c cannot be overstated.

Emotions like fear, belonging, joy, safety and love are some of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s tool belt.

In addition to emotional appeal, it’s also crucial to carefully consider brand voice in designing b2c marketing strategies.

Your brand voice should invoke the aforementioned emotions with a relatable tone and informal approach. While industry jargon and buzz words help demonstrate expertise to a b2b prospect, over 80% of consumers interviewed in a recent study prefer an informal tone in video content.

Marketing campaigns that nail the idea tone for their target audience can easily outperform campaigns that miss by a margin of 10x.


The Intersection of B2B and B2C Marketing

Marketing for both b2b and b2c brands often involves a crossover into the opposing discipline.

At the end of the day, most companies need to strike a healthy balance between both strategies to succeed.

One example of this concept in play can be found in the financial services industry. While not every insurance broker sells business coverage, most larger organizations sell a broad spectrum of products tailored to a wide variety of audiences.

From individual auto insurance to group health plans for large groups at multinational companies, the average insurance company needs to successfully execute both b2b and b2c campaigns to win.

Not only is this mastery crucial to maximize revenue in each business unit, the crossover potential between products and power of word of mouth means a b2c customer may open the door to a b2b deal down the line.


The Importance of Differentiation

While is likely a place for both b2b and b2c strategies within your business’s marketing efforts, the importance of tactical execution cannot be overstated.

At NLSG, we believe it is crucial to differentiate the types of transactions your business is conducting and the strategies you employ to maximize your ROI.

That’s why our team of seasoned marketing experts takes the time to get to know the nuance of your organization before starting work on your bespoke marketing plan.

Schedule your free consultation here and find out what Next Level Strategy can do for you.