What is the difference between B2C and B2B marketing?

Marketing is marketing, right? And yes, it is to a certain extent. The planning, strategy CVP and USP processes are the same. The fact that you should be marketing a product or service that meets a need is the same. The difference is when it comes to the fourth P in the marketing mix – promotion. AKA marketing communications or simply: what you tell em, where you tell em and how you tell em.

All marketing content is read by people (and mainly written by people, but I’m not going down the AI writing route here, or ever!) But when people are reading B2B stuff, they are at work. When people are at home they are relaxed and open to reading B2C ads, but don’t be bothering them with business stuff. 

Related posts: What is a CVP and why do you need one?


b2b marketing

Business to Consumer – B2C marketing

B2C means Business to Consumer. FMCG companies such as The Coca Cola Company is B2C (well technically, Coke is B2B and B2C as they sell to businesses (distributors) first, which then sell to the consumer. But when we see Coke ads, for example on TV or social media, it is promoting directly to the end consumer – me and you.

Business to Business – B2B marketing

B2B means Business to Business. Software companies tend to sell directly to businesses (unless it’s an app). B2B marketing is when software companies promote their products directly to businesses. This is where the difference lies – the needs of the person buying a B2B product are primarily focused on the benefits to the company, whereas the same person buying a B2C product are solely focused on the benefits to them. 

You don’t want to be seeing ads in your Facebook feed at 8pm for a SaaS product. I know I don’t. But you might be susceptible to seeing ads for clothes or shoes (be strong Aisling, be strong). The reverse is mostly true. You might do a sneaky little online shop during the day while you are working (who hasn’t booked a flight at work?), but you won’t be spending hours researching accommodation. That will wait til the evening. 

Is B2B marketing easier?

In some ways, B2B is easier. Well not exactly easier. But you tend to market to a smaller group. B2C tends to be everybody, or certainly a large portion of everybody. 

Going back to the Coke example, Diet Coke’s target market is health conscious adults. That’s a lot of people. Now I don’t work with Diet Coke, I just drink it, so I would imagine that there is an age range that they specifically target. Adults from 18 to 85 is huge, where as adults from 18 to 30 is a little more manageable. In fact the recent change in can shape which meant I had to rearrange my fridge shelves to accommodate their height, was specifically to attract the younger age group. That makes sense. Get em hooked young and they’re a customer for life. It worked for me!

Of course, I  have experience with marketing both! My work with Local Enterprise Offices where I work as a consultant and mentor tends to be B2C. But B2B is where I grew up. And B2B is where I spend my marketing energy.

The next step in your B2B marketing strategy is to segment your market. Read my blog “How to segment your B2B market” to learn more.

Learn more

Want to learn more? The USA-based B2B Writing Institute offers a free e-book if you subscribe to their newsletter – The real difference between B2B and B2C.


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