B2B marketing is also known as business to business marketing and many people swear that B2B marketing is easier than B2C. But such comparison cannot be made because when we compare both – B2C vs B2B, it is evident that both of them have different target groups altogether. So which of them has easier ROI – B2B or B2C marketing – is not easy to define. Let us have a complete comparison of B2C vs B2B marketing.
Target group in B2C vs B2B
In case of B2C, the target group is generally the mass segment. It may be broken down into different segments based on demography, geography etc. But in general, they belong to a defined population which is then broken down into parts.
On the other hand, B2B targets an employee of a company or a manager of a company who is responsible for making decisions regarding the capital investment of the business, or who is in charge of purchasing. Compared to consumers, businesses make purchasing decisions slower, as there might be high price involved and it needs time for approval. Furthermore, the target group of B2B is much more knowledgeable and already knows many things about the products or the industry (and about your competitors also).
Brand loyalty in B2C vs B2B marketing
As we know, brand loyalty in B2C is constantly shifting and customers keep switching brands. This is because of the many options available to customers for any product. This is also because consumer decision-making depends on the customer alone and not someone else and purchase is very easy online or offline. Hence brand loyalty in B2C is very low.
In B2B, the purchase process itself involves elements which builds brand loyalty and at the same time, ensures that the company does not shift to another brand easily once the deal is tied up. This is because the decision-making in B2B is complex and involves many parties. Hence, there are many considerations taken in advance, before the tie up, to make the relationship a long running one.
If the brand is switched quickly, then a lot of time and capital is wasted in training employees to the new products or to get used to the supply parameters of the new product or service. Hence, in general you will find that when we compare B2C vs B2B markets, the brand switching is negligible in B2B. Yes, it can happen that a single brand has tie ups with 2-3 B2B suppliers. But this is because of safety reasons and not because of brand loyalty.
Advertising message in B2C vs B2B marketing
Most of the advertising that you see in B2C market is emotional and appealing. This is because in B2C market, the goal is to connect with your customers, and hence emotional marketing is commonly used. However, when we compare B2C vs B2B, the advertising message is quite different.
In B2B, the advertising focuses more on giving information and building confidence rather than giving an emotional appeal. This is because the B2B market is comparatively smaller, and because the purchase manager makes it his job to be constantly updated on what is happening in the market. Hence Emotional appeals do not work in B2B marketing. In B2B marketing, precise communication giving the advantages of the products being proposed, and who to contact for purchasing the product or for more information, works like a charm.
Selling cost in B2B vs B2C
Be it B2B or B2C, the selling process is always costly. However, the B2B selling process is considered to be costlier (if we compare it percentage wise) then B2C.
In B2C marketing, the selling mainly involves through dealers and distributors, who have their own margins. And hence the cost of selling goes down. You just have to maintain the network.
In B2B marketing, the cost goes up because many times you need skilled executives and managers, some with engineering degrees or MBA’s, who will have to visit the customer many times to close the deal. Even after all this, the customer might demand samples and take his own sweet time to make a decision. So the cost involved in acquiring a B2B customer is very high
Push sales in B2B vs B2C
Door to door visits is another way of promoting the business in B2B marketing, which is almost absent nowadays in B2C marketing, because consumers condone it and the brand equity of the company which is trying door to door sales gets affected. On the other hand in B2B, simply visiting companies which operate in the same field, and presenting them your products which can solve problems, may turn them into prospect, all because of 1 uncalled visit.
Cold calling is known to work strong in B2B business because purchase managers are so tied up, that when they meet a corporate sales person and give him 5 minutes, then they can make decisions quickly. In some cases, the sale is made just because the purchase manager needed that product, but he had not got around to researching it.
Knocking on their doors and paying them a visit will help them to identify the need. It is clearly understood, that the seller will operate an up to date CRM system, will try to take appointments before cold calls, and should have detailed information about the prospects. Only through knowing the customer very well, one can devise a successful corporate push strategy.
Media vehicles in B2B vs B2C marketing
The media vehicles involved in B2B marketing are cheaper when compared to B2C marketing. In B2C marketing, there is so much noise, that you have to differentiate yourself to be remembered. And even if you have differentiated yourself, still people will not remember you unless you advertise regularly. Generally, the media vehicles involved are out-of-door media, print media, television and radio and other ATL as well as BTL media.
In B2B marketing, the returns from BTL media is much higher than from ATL. You will hardly find any B2B firm advertising ATL. This is because the cost of ATL does not justify the ROI. Plus, the purchase process and the quantities required are such, that the supplying company is anyways going to be contacted for their specialised products because the field in itself will have 3-4 players. The vehicles used for B2B marketing are generally trade fairs, trade magazines, business magazines, business TV channels or other such specialized media where the ROI will be high.
B2B marketing also means following up with all the big trade fairs taking place either in your region, nationally or globally over the year. While some businesses may regard attending trade fairs as an expense, it is actually an investment, as they offer the chance to defend the brand from new competition. Another advantage with trade shows, is that they allow you to build relationships on the floor.
Online Marketing in B2C vs B2B marketing
The biggest difference observed nowadays in B2C vs B2B marketing is the way these two segments are advertising online or the way they are using online marketing. Both B2C and B2B have online portals, but the role of these portals is completely different. Where B2C mainly wants to give information to consumers about its sales and service presence, the B2B portals want to get customers directly to the company.
Hence you will find that B2B corporate has a fantastic web portal when compared to B2C. But you will find, that the social pages of B2C are much more active than B2B. B2C is also leagues ahead in the social media market, but B2B is leagues ahead in the blogging market. B2B corporate blogs are known to solve problems for customers, and because of this reasons, customers come to B2B websites. There are many call to actions on B2B sites to attract and convert prospects to customers, or to collect their email id or their contact numbers.
The webpages also need to be optimally designed in case of B2B businesses and in this case, the web pages themselves are a 24×7 sales man. Even here at Marketing91, when we design pages for our clients, we use lead pages frequently to collect a lot of sales leads for businesses. In B2C, most of these sales happen through modern retail or online format, even though the advertising is being done online. It does not happen through the B2C website.
Finally, if you compare, B2B marketing and B2C marketing are poles apart. This is because the target group is completely different, and hence the marketing strategy changes as per the target group.
Here is an infographic explaining the difference even better. The source of the infographic is here.