B2B stands for business to business, meaning the company sells to other companies. B2C companies (business to consumers) sell directly to consumers. One might ask, what does the distinction have to do with marketing? The answer: EVERYTHING! Whether a business is selling to consumers or another company changes marketing strategies vastly. 

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Read below for three main differences between B2B and B2C marketing. 

1. Audience 

One of the most significant differences between B2B and B2C marketing surrounds their audiences. B2B audiences are often niche, a particular segment of the market. Conversely, B2C companies market to a broader audience.

If you're marketing to other businesses, your value is in a product or service that will make the job of another professional easier. That is why B2B customers want to be educated. To be a successful B2B marketer, you must help your audience think critically about the industry and make them more skilled professionals. B2B marketing makes those other companies successful and efficient in their work. 

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Another thing that separates B2C and B2B audiences is the desire for detailed content. Consumers often do not require lengthy product or service descriptions. B2C marketers work hard to capture audiences' attention as quickly as possible, often using as little explanation as they can get away with. 

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But B2B companies find it helpful to give their audiences as much information as possible. B2B audiences must justify their purchases to others, so the more information about buying, the better. B2B marketers should tell their audiences what their value can do for their business.

There are also differences in how content is conveyed to audiences. Just as B2C marketing must be quick, it should also be simple. When directly advertising to consumers, marketers should not use industry jargon. All content should be easily digested by a large, diverse group of people. B2C companies also assume a more casual tone. According to HubSpot, 83% of consumers prefer an informal style in marketing content. B2B marketing gets away with using language that is geared towards specific markets. Often B2B audiences are well versed in their industry and can appreciate a company that uses similar phrases that dominate their business language. 

2. Customer Relationship

While B2B marketing focuses on building personal relationships, B2C marketing has a more transactional focus.

Personal Relationships 

Building strong client relationships is essential for B2B marketing and business strategy. Personal client relationships are necessary because B2B offerings are costly and ongoing. Strong client relationships also allow B2B companies to show customers what sets them apart from competitors and make lasting business connections. Lead generation is essential to B2B success. 

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Unlike B2C, B2B companies thrive on referrals and reviews from customers. Developing close business connections pay off when customers leave good reviews that eventually convince others to buy into their value. A poor relationship can result in a bad review which dissuades potential clients from your business. According to G2Crowd, 94% of customers read online reviews, and 72% of B2B buyers say negative reviews give valuable insight into a product/service. 

Transactional Relationship 

B2C customer relationships are more transactional. The ultimate goal of B2C marketing is to drive sales of products or services. Customer experience is more important than personal relationships between company and customer. B2C businesses need to develop a relatable voice and brand, so buyers want to buy their products. But unlike B2C, the relationship is transactional. A B2C marketing strategy centers around efficiency, delivering quality products/services to customers promptly to drive revenue. Like B2B, B2C marketing does a fair amount to ensure repeat business, offering discounts and freebies to returning customers.

3. Buying Process

Logical Buying

The B2B buying process is longer than B2C. B2B offerings are likely more expensive and have a longer contracted time than a B2C purchase. Many factors are included in a B2B buying decision, things as data, budget, and time. B2C buying decisions are quicker, often having much less impact. B2B customers have to think in terms of business impact. 

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B2C customers, on the other hand, are much more dependent on their gut when deciding to buy something. Because these people don't answer to someone else when making a purchase, a brand that tells an uplifting story about someone who benefited from the product can be all the persuasion they need.

Emotional Buying

B2C purchases are primarily emotional drive decisions. Consumers buy because the product or service makes them feel a certain way. Or the product could add value to their lives, also making them feel. That is why B2C companies advertise emotionally, drawing consumers in by how the brand makes them feel. As said before, B2C businesses use a relatable voice that entices the customer to click on an advertisement. B2C advertisements should replicate a buyer's emotions once they have purchased a product or service. Copywriting for B2C should evoke emotion in the consumer. 

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B2B customers also work with multi-level buying individuals that need to agree. B2B marketers have a much longer chain of command than B2C. Procurement, accounting, and department heads often need to approve purchases in B2B situations. An individual B2C customer typically makes their own speedy purchase choices, not reliant on anyone's approval. The B2C buying process and funnel are shorter than that of B2B. The B2C buying process has fewer steps for a customer to move through because of the time and financial investment involved in that purchase. 

Understanding the differences between B2B and B2C marketing is essential to effectively reaching the right audience and developing targeted messaging for them. 

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