B2B vs B2C Marketing – Four Truths and Two Lies

B2B and B2C marketing are, of, course, different. They target different audiences, use different channels, and play on different drivers and pain points.

That said, they’re often more similar than people expect. There are many persistent myths around the differences between B2B and B2C marketing, and getting sucked into these assumptions can cause your approach to be less effective than it could be.

In this post, we’ll take a look at four real differences between B2B and B2C marketing, and two myths that don’t really hold up to scrutiny.

Let’s start with the truths.

B2B vs B2C Marketing: The Differences

Deep vs Digestible

In B2B marketing, data is all-important. With so much at stake, it’s important for businesses to be as informed as possible about the product before making a buying decision.

That means B2B audiences prefer longer, more detail-oriented materials, like whitepapers, e-books, and one-pagers. Good B2B content is usually packed with data and statistics, giving the reader everything they need to make a compelling case to their team.

B2C content, on the other hand, is typically shorter and more ‘shallow’. This might take the form of blog posts and newsletters. With something like B2C tech, for example, a little more detail and data are required compared to an industry like fashion, but still less so than with B2B.

Money, Money, Money

Cost is a factor in any buying decision, but it’s much more of a factor for B2C customers compared to B2B buyers. Research has found that only 20% of B2B buying decisions are actually based on the price or actual offering, with much more emphasis placed on the buyer’s customer experience.

This is because, for B2B buyers, the cost is much less of a personal obstacle. They’re using their company budget to purchase the product, which is completely different from a B2C customer paying out of their own pocket.

B2B buyers typically care much more about the revenue a product can generate than the money it will initially cost.

Big Market vs Small Market

B2B audiences tend to be smaller and more specific than B2C audiences. The pool of customers you are likely to target as a B2B marketer will be more specific. Marketers tend to focus more on building deep and intimate long-term relationships with their buyers.

With B2C, the goal is more about standing out in a vast and often crowded marketplace, so the methods here will differ. B2C marketing is more about grabbing attention, using SEO and social media to maximum effectiveness, and developing lots of short relationships over a comparatively small number of high-value ones.

Specialist Language vs Accessible Language

One of the areas where B2B marketing differs from its B2C cousin is with the language used. With B2B marketing it’s important to convey authority and expertise, assuring your readers that you know your subject extremely well and your product will reflect that.

Also, B2B marketers are usually targeting a specific niche that will understand jargon easily. There’s no need to make the language more understandable since you’re talking to specialists. While writing should be clear and easy to digest, B2B marketing materials can and should rely more heavily on industry-specific language.

B2C marketing, on the other hand, targets a broader and less specialized audience. Here, the focus is on making language accessible and easy to process. It’s important not to drive potential customers away by bombarding them with dense walls of jargon.

B2B vs B2B Marketing: The Lies

Emotions vs Spreadsheets

Conventional wisdom teaches us that B2C buyers are more easily swayed by emotion, whereas B2B buyers rely more on hard facts and logical arguments. But research has shown that this isn’t necessarily the case, and in fact, the opposite might be true.

A report by Google, CEB Marketing and Motista found that B2C brands formed emotional connections with just 10-40% of their customers, while most B2B brands did so with more than 50%. 

After all, B2B buyers are still humans, and the consequences of their buying decision will likely have an impact on their career and reputation. This means there’s often more at stake than a consumer, who has nothing to lose but money. The above study found that B2B purchasers are almost 50% more likely to buy a product or service when they see personal value, like the possibility for promotion.

Still, the decision-making process is different between B2B and B2C brands. Where B2C marketing focuses on personal drivers like fashion and status, good B2B marketing targets feelings around risk and credibility, and will use a more data-driven approach.

Personalized vs Mass

Another common misconception around B2B marketing is that it’s less personalized than B2C. This stems from the idea that B2C buyers are usually individuals, whereas B2B products target multiple buyers at the same time, working for the same company.

It’s certainly true that B2C buyers value a more intimate approach — almost half get annoyed when a brand’s correspondence isn’t personalized.

But B2B consumers also like to be spoken to more directly. A report by Salesforce found that 72% of B2B customers expect a personalized approach. The good news for marketers is that it’s getting easier and easier to achieve this, with technology like chatbots and access to richer user data.

B2B and B2C marketing are different beasts, but they still share a lot of common features. As technology continues to shape and disrupt the way we do marketing, these two areas will become more different in some ways and grow closer in others.

To deliver the most effective marketing strategy possible, it’s crucial to look beyond common myths and use an approach that really works.

To find out how 93x can help you nail your B2B digital marketing strategy, contact us today.

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