Company Blog

Business-to-Business vs. Business-to-Consumer

One of the biggest differentiators between companies is whether they sell from business-to- business (B2B) or from business-to-consumer (B2C). Although B2B and B2C may not seem so different at first glance, these models have key differences in relationships, audience and the buying process.

Relationships

One of the most important aspects of B2B marketing is establishing relationships. B2B businesses tend to form professional relationships that span years if not decades. It would be tremendously challenging and costly for B2B businesses to switch suppliers frequently. It’s much more beneficial to have a reliable business partner that companies can depend on indefinitely.

In contrast, B2C businesses don’t need a sustained relationship with consumers.  Their messages must be quick and to the point. B2C marketing also often makes an emotional appeal to consumers, allowing customers to quickly understand the benefits of the product.

Audience

B2B companies have a much smaller audience pool than B2C companies. B2B companies are often specialized and cater to a specific industry niche.

B2C companies usually have a much wider audience. B2C companies may target a section of the population based on age, income, location or other factors, but their audience pool is still almost always larger than B2B.

Buying Process

B2C consumers have a much shorter buying process; often, purchases are made within a few days. B2C marketing usually involves advertising campaigns and point-of-sale displays. Most consumers look to a B2C brand for spontaneous, one-time purchases.

For B2B companies, however, that process is much longer. Transactions between businesses are often carefully researched and involve lengthy chain of commands at both companies. Usually, a level of trust must be built between the two companies before any contracts are signed.