As a small business owner, marketing is one of the elements that’s key to your company’s success. Not all marketing is the same, though. Are you selling products to consumers (business-to-consumer, or B2C marketing) or to other businesses (business-to-business, or B2B marketing)? You might even have multiple product or service lines aimed at these two very different markets. Or you might be in the process of expanding from one to the other. Comparing B2B Vs B2C marketing can help you make wise choices as you position your small business within your marketplace.
How B2B and B2C Marketing Are Similar
B2B and B2C marketing are, of course, both trying to accomplish similar goals: the sale of products and services to willing customers. Because of this, both types of marketing work at their best when your marketing and sales departments are working hand-in-hand with a clear understanding of each department’s roles and expectations.
B2B and B2C marketing also increasingly rely on data to make smart strategic choices. By gathering customer data, you are able to increase brand awareness and convert leads into customers. The type of data collected and the analysis process used to improve marketing strategies is often similar in type. Though its scope may vary.
Finally, B2B and B2C marketing both rely on similar processes as they develop marketing and promotional campaigns. Marketers on both sides of the B2C/B2B divide do similar testing to see how their campaigns are received. They tweak their message to reach potential customers and create brand awareness.
B2B Vs B2C Buyers and Decision-Makers
Buyers are different in the B2B and B2C worlds. When you’re marketing to consumers, you only have to convince one person to close a sale: the consumer with the credit card in their hand. In the B2B world, in contrast, many decision-makers are often involved in sales decisions. Managers, executives, technical experts and the employees using your product may all get to weigh in on the decision. This leads to creating a purchasing process that can sometimes seem to take forever. B2B marketers have to focus in on all the objections that might be raised by various people involved in making purchasing decisions.
In the B2B world, all the people involved in the decision are focused on the same goal. In the B2C world, marketers may have to appeal to a much wider target audience of consumers. One product or service might attract people of different ages, genders, backgrounds, incomes, and spending habits, and yet the marketing has to address them all. The purchasing process may be easier in B2C marketing, but the development of customer personas and targeting may be much more complex.
Targeting and Sales Cycles in B2B vs. B2C Marketing
When you’re a B2B marketer, you have a much smaller number of potential buyers to target. Maybe only a few hundred potential customers exist for your product in your city. Whereas hundreds of thousands of potential consumers might be available to B2C marketers. Because of this, B2B must target marketing campaigns much more narrowly.
The sales cycle for B2B marketing is typically much longer than the B2C cycle, though. A consumer purchasing a new cellphone or pair of shoes might undergo a sales cycle that involves:
- researching the options available,
- reading reviews,
- comparing various products, and
- making a final decision.
That cycle is likely to occur within a few days at the most, and can sometimes be completed within hours or less. B2B marketers, on the other hand, may have fewer consumers to target, but they may spend weeks to months reaching out to their targeted audience.
Whether you’re involved with B2C or B2B marketing, focusing on data, establishing a strong brand, and encouraging your marketing and sales staff to work together can keep your company moving forward.