In the digital marketing world, you’ll often see the terms B2B and B2C. These simply stand for “business-to-business” and “business-to-consumer”, respectively. But each type of transaction varies a little in complexity, so it’s important to know the difference when marketing your product or service.
When consumers buy products, they are typically for personal use. And when businesses buy products, they are obviously mostly for business use. This description may sound pretty simple at first glance, but the decision-making process is what differentiates the two.
According to consumer studies, 95 percent of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously. Emotion is the driving force behind buying behaviors. This means that most savvy B2C marketing campaigns focus largely on how they make the customer feel. That’s not to say that B2B purchases are never influenced by emotions. On the contrary, since these urges are subconscious, they likely are.
The difference, however, is that most business purchases have to be made with logical criteria in mind. They also usually have various groups of executives involved in the decision. And some of these people may never see the marketing material at all.
Many B2B sales rely heavily on discounted prices. This depends largely on what your product or service is. But if you’re dealing in retail, you’ll probably be selling lots of bulk orders at wholesale prices. These prices might also be a little different between customers. In other words, prices are usually cheaper the more someone buys. However, if you deal with a company enough, they may request special discounts or free shipping for everything they buy.
In B2C sales, however, you usually price products the same for every customer. It’s a much simpler process. You don’t have to work out bulk profits and handling costs for every customer like you might have to in B2B sales. Of course, this means you have to make more sales to make the same amount of money. But since it’s much less complicated, some people find the B2C business model much more appealing.
Billing is another area where B2C and B2B differ. In consumer sales, every customer is billed equally in most cases. But in business interactions, one company might have a different billing structure than another, depending on their agreements. For example, a manufacturer may allow a company that’s been in business for many years to pay after their shipments arrive. But it may require upfront payment from a brand new company they’ve never dealt with.
The invoicing structure can vary between B2B and B2C as well. When invoicing individual consumers, your invoices will likely all be identical. But businesses often need invoicing sent to different departments, split payments, or other specific documentation.
Marketing is possibly the main area where B2B and B2C really stand apart. Getting sales leads for B2B can require more business networking than B2C. It can require unique strategies, such as partnerships and logical techniques.
Because B2C marketing should target emotion, you’ll have to focus on what your product can do for them. They want to know how it will make their lives easier, more fun, or better in some other way. You have a short window of time to capture their emotions and make them feel as if they can’t live without whatever you’re selling.
B2B, on the other hand, relies more heavily on logic than on emotion, so even printed, digital, or video marketing is different. To market to this clientele most effectively, you’ll have to focus on how your product or service saves money and streamlines business practices.