• Jack Geddes

What's the difference between B2B and B2C Marketing?

Updated: Mar 24


When it comes marketing, knowing whether your business is B2B or B2C will drastically change the different strategies that you’ll choose in order to carry out effective marketing. The sales process for both these types of businesses can be completely different from one another and the problems you solve for your customers will be different too. Not to mention, the channels in which your target customers tend to frequent, and on which you should focus your marketing efforts, will ultimately be decided by your business' position in a B2B or B2C market.


What is the difference between B2B and B2C?


So, if these terms are completely new to you (welcome to the business world, my friend!) then this is the best place to start. B2B stands for "business to business", and B2C stands for "business to consumer". The difference between these business models is who they sell to.


If you operate a B2B type business, then you most likely sell your products and services to strictly businesses. Autus, for example, are a B2B business as we deal with customers who want to purchase our services from us for their business and make a return off of their investment. If you operate a B2C type business, then you most likely only sell your products and services to consumers. This means selling directly to your customers who might not necessarily be looking to make a monetary return on their investment.

For example, Autus has customers operating in the B2C marketplace within the Home Improvements industry, and they sell directly to Home Owners, products and services such as; New Kitchens, Boilers, Electrical Services, Gas Fires, Garage Conversions, House Extensions, Bathrooms, Electric Vehicle Charge Points and much more.



Of course, businesses do not need to conform to one or the other, there are many examples of businesses selling to other businesses and consumers at the same time. B&Q in the UK is a good example of this, selling to both consumers doing DIY and tradespeople that need supplies for carrying out their work. And then there is B2B2C...this is where a business sells to another business who then sells to the end consumer - think Car Dealerships, the OEM car manufacturer sells cars to the dealership and in turn the dealership sells to the consumer...this allows the downstream business (Car Manufacturer) to reach the ultimate end customer.


The Differences in marketing B2B vs B2C


Buyer intent and decision making

One of the ways that marketing for B2B and B2C businesses is different, is because of buyer intent and the decision making process that goes with that intent to buy. Consumers tend to make lots of small purchases throughout the week, motivated by the want factor. Individual consumers, the majority of the time, base their decision to buy off of their own needs, wants, and moods, meaning their decision making can be very emotionally linked. This gives B2C businesses the opportunity to benefit hugely off of upsell tactics and a quick, frictionless checkout process. It also means that marketers can use emotion evoking language to attract customers.


Of course, not all B2C businesses have low-cost items that can be purchased as easily as I just described. Companies with higher average-order-values will have to educate and prepare potential customers for a longer checkout process during their marketing campaigns. Setting the expectation before the sales process will allow for less surprises for the customer further down the line.


B2B businesses, on the other hand, can have a much longer consideration period as multiple departments and people can be involved in finally deciding to make the purchase. Even when looking at smaller B2B businesses, the business owners will be wanting to make sure that they will make a return on their investment. Overall, this means that, as a B2B business, you need to be prepared to prove that your products and services fit their customers' broader business goals.


Customer Lifecycle


Another key difference between B2B and B2C marketing is how long a customer typically stays around and continues to pay you for products and services. B2B businesses generally have much longer customer lifecycles as customers stay for years and build relationships with the company. B2C businesses, however, can see a lot of one-time customers as there isn't the same incentive to build a relationship with the company.


With these key differences in mind, a B2B type business might market their products and services slightly differently to their audience to build that relationship before they finally make a sale. They may use slightly longer nurture sequences that build awareness and trust then call the prospect to action to speak to a salesperson. A B2C type business might instead opt to drive more for a sale in their marketing, sending a nurture sequence full of awareness and offers on their products and services. The retention element might come more in the form of aftercare, asking how the customer got on with their product or service that they purchased and asking if there's anything they could do better or fix for them. This transparency usually helps extend customer lifecycles for B2C businesses that often see a lot of one-time customers.


Marketing Messaging


Consumers love the rush of buying a brand new "thing" for themselves, even if not a technically "smart" purchase. This emotional power is very powerful and can often mean that people look for the opportunity to buy something to make them feel good. As I mentioned previously, this is something businesses can take advantage of when creating their marketing message to get more people to reminisce or laugh and make their products or services more relatable.


Businesses are different, however, as every purchase made needs to see a return on the investment. Therefore, your message when marketing towards businesses is going to be more about how you can help them. Will your product save them lots of time? Will it allow them to solve an issue they've been having? Will it allow them to advance their workforce's skills? Of course none of these might apply to your products and it might be that you need to reinforce a different reason for why they need your products or services.



Of course, Autus is no stranger to the business world. We've already helped a range of B2B and B2C businesses increase their audience's awareness, their conversion rate, and their turnover overall. Want to learn more about how we did it? Go to yourmarketingdept.online to find out!