Marketing Strategy: B2B vs B2C

If you’re focussing on marketing your business, don’t forget one very important fact: a distinct difference in approach is required for marketing B2B as opposed to B2C.

Understanding the differences will help you decide what approaches and tools to use to successfully promote and sell your goods and/or services to these two disparate market sectors.

The broad concepts of marketing apply to both, but the key differences lie in the tactics and options you choose to use for getting your brand and message out there in front of potential buyers. To help you understand and analyse which tactics might work best in each situation, and tailor your marketing strategy accordingly, there are a few fundamentals to consider:

  • Motivation

The motivation for consumers to make a purchase is usually want, rather than need. For a business buyer this is generally the opposite. Consumers are driven by desire, while businesses are motivated by things like utility, necessity and price.

  • Sales Process

B2C sales are usually made directly to the consumer or through a retailer, using a traditional sales approach involving convincing the consumer that they need the product or service to fulfil their desire. B2B sales, on the other hand, require consultative selling techniques, heavily dependent on developing a good relationship and trust.

  • Buying process

Business buyers tend to take their time before committing to a purchase, whether it be because there are superiors to satisfy or because they take time to research and compare the market. Consumers, however, tend to make spur of the moment decisions and the process is quick and uncomplicated.

  • Quantity and Quality

Selling to consumers, because of the quick buying process, means you can and want to sell a large volume of products, and as often as possible, to as many new customers as possible. With slower, more considered B2B sales, however (which are generally worth a great deal more money) you can and should take time to nurture your loyal business customers rather than aiming your marketing at identifying and attracting new ones. B2B therefore succeeds best with a more personal approach to marketing.

  • Who’s Buying

Consumers are persuaded to choose a particular brand or product by it’s attractiveness and suitability for that particular individual. A business buying from another business however has to consider wider parameters and therefore there will probably be more than one decision-maker to impress and satisfy before a purchase is made.

  • Presentation

Consumers will be drawn to your product or service because they like its style, entertainment value or status. You’ll just need to present it to them in a simple, attractive setting using some emotional incentive perhaps like warmth or humour. Businesses however want details, and the possibility of making a deal. B2B demands presenting your product as better than the competition, and with all the questions answered.

With any marketing to anyone, the bottom line is to know your target audience and develop an appropriate message to suit. You can then strategize about how to deliver that message to best effect, taking into account whether you are aiming at B2B or B2C sales.

Gaining a perspective on the differences between the two types of marketing is the first step to being able to become a specialist in the area dictated by your particular business operations.


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