difference between b2b and b2c marketing | person making a purchase at counter with cashier

What’s the Real Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing?

I recently stumbled across an article that dove into the difference between B2B and B2C marketing. Some of the advice was solid, but overall, I didn’t agree with a lot of what was said. In short, the author forgot to mention something that is fundamental to all good marketing.


What’s the real difference between B2B and B2C marketing?


The article states that there are three main differences between B2B and B2C marketing:


    1. Length of sales cycle
    2. Number of decision makers
    3. Decision-making process


Let’s dive into these.


Length of sales cycle


If you are selling to massive companies, the B2B sales cycle is measured in months or years. The B2C sales cycle is often shorter – weeks or months. On the surface, this looks accurate. But not always.


My clients are other companies (small and mid-size), and the vast majority of them decide to work with me in a matter of weeks. They need copywriting, and someone in my network (a friend, partner, client) suggests they work with me.


Now, as a consumer, I might sign up for your email list today, but I might not buy from you for months or years. Take Cuyana. I’ve been getting their promo emails for maybe five years, and I made my first purchase from them last year.


My point is that you can’t make general statements about sales cycles. And this touches on the fundamental marketing truth that is totally missing from the article. I’ll get to that shortly.


Number of decision makers


A big company might have several decisions makers. A small company will have one, maybe two.


Meanwhile, as a consumer, you might make the decision about where to buy groceries or what kind of car you want to drive – but your spouse, kids and elderly parents who are now living with you full-time because of the pandemic might also weigh in. You could end up with six decision-makers – more than at a big company with 1,000 employees.


Decision-making process


According to the article, B2C decision making is product driven and emotional. B2B decision making is relationship-driven and rational.


When have relationships ever been rational? We like the people we like, because humans are governed by emotions.


I completely reject this premise.


This is what’s fundamental to all good marketing


Marketing is about building relationships with your fellow human beings. We are all different, which is what makes us (and life) so interesting.


Good marketing, whether you are selling to a B2B or B2C audience, is about knowing your customers/clients inside and out so you can send them the right message at the right time.


That’s it. And this is the fundamental truth about marketing that is completely missing from the article.


Read it and let me know – do you agree with me? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your take. Just leave a message in the comments.


Image by Clay Banks via Unsplash 

  • Susan Kim
    Posted at 15:24h, 11 May Reply

    I could not agree more with “When have relationships been rational?” People are people. I would say the biggest difference between BtoC and BtoB is that the customer pool for BtoB is a lot smaller. There are fewer businesses than individuals. So while everyone may need toothpaste not everyone needs a software service that costs $100K/mo. That more affects the media buy– which should be different. As for the message– for both of them, it needs to be compelling and grab them emotionally in some way.

    • Monika Jansen
      Posted at 15:38h, 11 May Reply

      Great insights Susan!

Post A Comment

Skip to content