B2B and B2C Marketing: What Is It and What’s the Difference?

You may have heard the marketing terms B2B or B2C tossed around in school, at work, or out and about. Maybe you are an expert or maybe you nod your head and pretend to know what they mean (we all do it). Either way, to be successful in marketing it is important to understand the differences between B2B and B2C.

 As a brief overview, business to business (B2B) marketing is selling products or services to other businesses and business to consumer (B2C) marketing is selling products directly to consumers. An example of a B2B company that you might be familiar with is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social media network that provides insight into the business world. In this case, LinkedIn typically focusses its marketing towards other businesses because businesses will purchase the premium version for their employees to give them access to other great features. In contrast, a B2C company would be Walmart because the majority of their products are sold and marketed to consumers. Though there are many similarities with B2B and B2C marketing, the differences are what truly sets them apart and might make the terms easier to understand. 

 Listed below are the three main differences between B2B and B2C marketing that will hopefully make you an expert on the topic.

3 Main Differences Between B2B and B2C in Marketing

1.Emotional vs. Rational Purchases


As a consumer, you have probably made a purchase based upon emotion at some time. After all, “retail theory” is a thing, right? B2C marketing is directed on capturing a customer’s emotion and pinpointing the decisions that are largely based upon how the individuals feels. This is a main focus for B2C marketers so that they can focus on communicating feelings rather than the hard facts. They emphasis their attention to the human, rather than the buyer.

Rational decisions are based on profit, security, utility, caution, and health. In B2B marketing decisions are typically more rational. In business to business marketing, salespeople commonly sell to one buyer yet business to consumer marketing is directed towards any consumer. With that being said the buyer has to be cautious of their purchasing decisions to achieve success.

2.  Return vs. Emotional Appeal

B2C transactions use a much shorter sales cycle and therefore the marketing is primarily focused more on the product and what that product can all do. Consumers purchase products based off convenience and emotional appeal. Therefore, B2C companies focus on marketing the benefits of the product and how it can solve a problem in the consumers life. If a business can appeal to a problem in a consumer’s life, that consumer is more likely to purchase that product because it can solve their problem.

On the other hand, B2B companies focus mainly on marketing on the return their product can offer. Businesses do not purchase products based off emotional appeal, but instead they purchase based on the return they can get from their investment. Return on investment can include saving money, time, or increasing efficiency. Therefore, marketing strategies need to focus on what will make either the consumer or business purchase their product.


3. Branding Yourself

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In a B2B company, when selling your product or service, you might be faced with the challenge of approaching potential customers who are unfamiliar with your company’s name. B2B approaches focus on branding themselves through their salesforces and the relationships that they build with each other. On the other end of things, most people have heard of the Walmarts and Targets of the world where they have already built their brand identities. Marketing with a B2B company is always a struggle because unfamiliarity can be hard to overcome. On the other hand, B2C marketing struggles with pricing and ensuring the customers that your products are better than the store across the street.


Though there are many similarities with B2B and B2C marketing, the differences are what truly sets them apart and might make the terms easier to understand.  Hopefully by learning these three main differences between B2B and B2C marketing, you have become on the topic.

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