“Oh? That company? Yes, I know them but it’s B2B. They don’t sell to buyers like your or I!”
“Paul, first figure out your plan to do – whether to start a B2B venture or go for B2C, and then go ahead?”
Haven’t we all heard and even been a part of such discussions at least once while advising a friend or even making a simple conversation? That doesn’t require much thinking!
For decades, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing ideas have been treated as distinctly different, but they pretty much converge as much as they are bound to diverge! Simply put, there are as many similarities between B2B and B2C as much as the differences! How is that so?
Let’s find out! But before that, what do the terms business to business and business to customer mean? Read on.
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing, abbreviated as business-to-business marketing, is a business trying to sell its products or services to another business instead of targeting regular consumers. Since businesses like these market all their products or services to other companies, they target the decision-makers.
For instance, companies selling services, products, or SaaS to other companies or organizations typically use B2B marketing.
What is B2C Marketing?
B2C, on the other hand, stands for marketing activities undertaken to sell from business to consumer. Here, the customers are individual buyers, rather than the ones involved in businesses that require them to undertake the purchases. Therefore, all the businesses’ marketing is dedicated to the needs, interests, and challenges of people in their everyday lives.
Examples include real estate companies that sell homes to people, retail stores, commodity dealers, etc.
Now. comes the question of whether B2B marketing is different from B2C or do they tend to converge and are there a lot of different strategies that need to be in place for successful execution of both? To answer that, let’s first take a look at the similarities between them.
What are the similarities between B2B and B2C marketing?
The biggest similarity between B2B and B2C marketing is that both are focused on building a lasting relationship with the end-users and the customer or business journey continues beyond availing the service. Both highlight effective branding strategies and are inclined to identify and be in tow with the expectations of their target audience. Besides, here are some points that explain the idea of B2B and B2C marketing converging.
- Customer relationship: Both B2B and B2C brands believe in building lasting relationships since it is crucial for the expansion and growth of the business. The main aim for both is to build a good reputation, acquire and retain customers, promote their services, and gather more leads.
- Sales target: The main target of both the forms of marketing is selling more and attracting people to avail of their services. The marketing teams work closely with the sales teams to ensure various channels for the client are available to reach out to at times of need.
- Marketing costs: Both B2B and B2C types of businesses spend a considerable amount of time and money in marketing their services to respective buyers. They focus on creating value at every step for each customer segment and even within each segment, studying the market profile and identifying traits.
- Advertising and promotion: Advertising plays a crucial role in both forms of marketing since most user decisions come from the explanatory content created and provided, highlighting that detailed content creation is an integral part of promotion irrespective of the type of marketing strategy.
- Return on investment: Return on Investment (ROI) is invaluable for both business-to-business and business-to-customer forms of marketing (nope, it’s an absolute misconception that B2C businesses do not focus on returns)! Both demand extensive data about the efficiency of their products and their durability alongside how they can manifest the overall company processes to bring in profits and future developments.
Now that we have listed the similarities between B2B and B2C marketing, let me tell you a secret! Both differ in the very points where they appear to concur!
Sounds confusing? It’s not!
Though the key areas of focus and processes between B2C and B2B marketing are similar, they differ in the aspects within those. Let’s take a closer look.
Differences between B2B and B2C marketing
- Customer relationship: B2B marketing techniques rely on great one-to-one relationships with the businesses they offer services. By developing such ties, business values, and ethics can be easily portrayed, which in turn, helps build the brand and help it gain ultimate recognition. Since B2B services need to give out complete information on how things work at their backend, it involves a considerable amount of money spent per customer.
With a small per-customer expense, B2C companies are smarter and more sophisticated with how they build up relationships. In the B2C space, it is common to conduct automated and sophisticated customized marketing to a wide audience at scale.
- Sales target: Business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing has embraced the power of data to be able to track sales and show up ads for the same! Using sophisticated data sources and data management platforms (DMPs), a shoe seller, for example, can track the last pair of shoes you looked at on your desktop and show up an ad for the same shoes on your mobile Facebook feed, and that is exactly what B2Cs focus on.
Unlike this automated B2C sales approach, B2Bs often rely on generic workflows like sending an email followed by a cold call from a sales representative, which might take a longer time to reach the right audience, and therefore the sales target. Since they have a greater budget, the need to drive customer value from each interaction is far less than in the case of the B2C marketing process. As a result, most B2B marketers tend to be more conservative in their approach.
- Marketing Costs: Since B2B marketing’s main target is to sell, logical planning, and rational decisions are made before making the final marketing plan. A lot of thought goes into analyzing and making information regarding the product’s quality available, making the cost of marketing much higher than in the case of B2C businesses.
Another reason for B2Cs having lower marketing costs despite a higher customer base is an uptick in switching to e-commerce with increased implementation and use of fin-tech and other technologies in use right now. Most B2B businesses are yet to embrace this, though they too have started relying on digital promotion platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Before hiring B2B services, customers make sure of the value it will add to their business in turn and generally are interested in knowing the full details and information about the company whereas B2C customers are instantly attracted by an advert on Google saying, “you are worth it”. This is another reason for B2Bs facing higher costs despite not targeting millions of customers at a go.
- Advertising and Promotion: B2B customers need to adequately learn about the product or service. Hence, content and advertising play an essential role since most of their decisions are based on the detailed content that is created and presented. Moreover, such content is an integral part of this type of marketing since its customers are businesses looking to make their operating strategy efficient and enjoy returns.
Though content is also an integral part of B2C marketing methods, it is created to match the needs of consumers while keeping it relevant to their thought processes. Only then can you pursue them to buy your products.
- Return on investment: Now, B2B marketing looks at the returns of investment from two aspects – the business that is offering the service and the business availing of this service. ROI from the business offering services perspective is calculated based on metrics collected from several promotion channels such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, for example, that could integrate your content marketing strategy, and compare the number of your landing page (website) visitors with how many people drop you an email or call up to enquire.
B2B customers always prioritize their return-on-investment factor. They are eager to learn about the time of getting back what they invested right when they undertake such a venture. Extensive data on the efficiency of the product and its durability is required to figure out the incentive and logic behind the investment.
B2C marketing, on the other hand, not only focuses on data collected from promotion channels such as those on social media but also on omnichannel marketing – involving both online and offline sales that enhance user experience and analyze their returns. This, besides helping to create an effective pricing model, identifies shoppers and studies their habits which in turn could fetch great profits for the company.
Now that we are clear on the similarities and differences between B2B and B2C marketing methods, what’s the takeaway and the answer to our question how are these two forms of marketing different?
They are as much different as they are similar. In other words, Same Fundamentals. Different Aspects.
It is, however, important to acknowledge that both B2B and B2C customers expect personalized sales experiences. B2C businesses understand this and have worked hard on it for a long time, whereas, B2B businesses, have lately been hit with this realization and the fact that there are emotion-driven human beings at the end of their customer journey touchpoints as well.
I know that question in your mind right now – to start a B2B business or opt for B2C? Which model has more prospects of success?
The answer is there is no right answer!
Both B2B and B2C have their own hits and misses and it’s important you understand what suits you the best depending on your experience, expertise, and capital! It’s easier to go in for a B2C venture if you understand what the customer wants and are willing to experiment with the most innovative ideas, but if you’re looking to build lasting and valuable relationships and highlight your principles the best, go for B2B.
For any business to add value to the market, keep in mind the following points,
7 things to keep in mind before starting a business
- Identify your niche – look for something that you understand and are keen to discover more about. It’s important for you to understand what you plan to showcase to others first.
- Write down your ideas – before getting ahead with anything you have planned, it’s important to write down your business plan, and access the targets and projected results.
- Study the market – find out the practical prospects of your idea, whether there are others doing the same thing, and your potential customers and competitors.
- Figure out your costs – this is one of the most important steps, even if you have done your calculations and have adequate capital available. Area-specific cost identification will help you in budgeting and preparing an effective price model.
- Get a good team on board – before you go ahead with your ideas, it is important to get like-minded people on board, people who add value to your ideas and bring in impeccable creativity to the table, because it requires two hands to clap!
- Pitch your ideas – once done with those initial figure outs, pitch the ideas and identify people who are interested in your business! The investors! They are the first hint that you have the potential to succeed. Remember, it’s the toughest to please the first few people who hear out your strategy. So, if they give you a go-ahead, you are on the right track!
- Focus on a good design – now that you are ready to turn your ideas into action, figure out a simple yet innovative design that highlights what you stand for. Make sure to add an effective tagline that’s both catchy and cool!
Need more help with your business?
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