Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing require distinct marketing approaches, social media channels and sales funnel strategies. To understand the differences in B2B and B2C marketing, first, it’s important to understand who the target audiences are and what drives them to make purchases. In most cases, B2B is about logical, process-driven buying decisions, while B2C focuses more on emotion-driven buying decisions. These often tend to overlap.
What is B2B Marketing?
Relationship building between businesses is key in B2B marketing, so the main goals should be to generate leads and develop personal relationships with companies that can drive long-term sales. This strategy connects businesses with other businesses and helps build brands and stand out from any competition. Establishing these kinds of strong foundations lead to repeat and referral business.
B2B branding starts with consistent presentation and delivery of products and services, with a strong personality to drive the brand recognition towards the target audience. Ongoing, open communication helps show audiences that the products and services are a good fit. Furthermore, the content must be current and have the right terminology for readers. This can all be backed up with well-researched, accurate data from Google Analytics, keyword research and other resources.
What is B2C Marketing?
Effective B2C marketing leads consumers to products and services on a company’s or client’s website on larger scale markets. These relationships are more transactional and less personal. The main goal is to sell products as quickly as possible. Branding is also crucial for B2C, because it works to create consumer loyalty, build emotional connections, establish credibility and encourage purchasing decisions.
If you’re confused, think of yourself as a consumer that’s shopping online. If you want to buy a pair of BFlyye shoes, you’re not going to interact with the company’s management; Instead, you will familiarize yourself with the product, its branding, price and reviews and decide whether or not you want to make a purchase. If you own BFlyee shoes and need to find a shoelace provider, you will interact with the provider’s management and other team members. If the interaction goes well and if you receive the service and or product that you’re looking for, you will then likely consider forming a long-lasting relationship with the provider.
B2B vs. B2C Market Size
According to Finance Online, the majority of B2B transactions are completed through automated software, which makes the processes easier. With mobile tech and artificial intelligence, this industry is poised for exponential growth in the coming years. Last year reported B2B digital sales growing by 10.9 percent in 2019, and B2B internet use is expected to increase in the coming years as well.
Grand View Research posts a chart that shows that the global 2020 B2B e-commerce market was valued at $6.64 trillion (WOW!) and is expected to grow by about 18.7 percent from 2021 to 2028. Much of this growth was fueled by COVID-19, as businesses began to shift their focus to online shoppers. North America accounted for about 15 percent of that overall B2B commerce revenue.
Coming in considerably lower (but still strong), the global 2020 B2C e-commerce market was valued at $3.67 trillion that same year. It is expected to grow by about half as much as B2B from 2021 to 2028, with the reported figure at 9.7 percent. This growth is being driven by the increased use of social networks, more availability of smartphones, plus rising disposable income and global per capita income.
B2B vs. B2C Sales Funnels
Freshworks explains that sales funnels are the stages that prospects travel through before they become customers. These funnels resemble inverted pyramids, with large numbers of prospects at the top, and the lower numbers of committed customers at the bottom. The top starts with product or service awareness, followed by consideration in the middle and ending with the decision-making. So how do B2B and B2C sales funnel strategies differ?
In early 2021, 61 percent of all B2B transactions start online. The B2B sales funnels that most marketers use include blogging (50 percent), email newsletters (40 percent), social media content (40 percent), eBooks (38 percent) and in-person events (36 percent). According to Khoros, the most effective social media channels for B2B marketers are Linkedin (80 percent of B2B leads are sourced here) and Twitter (77 percent), followed by YouTube and SlideShare.
Shane Braker claims that 97 percent of B2C marketers use Facebook, 65 percent leverage Twitter and 60 percent of B2C marketers rely on Instagram, which works well with visual brands. 46 percent publish YouTube content and 44 percent are on LinkedIn. Some others use Pinterest and Snapchat. In order to build awareness, a B2C funnel can start with blogs, podcasts, social videos, social content, images and infographics. This may move down towards webinars, conversion landing pages, white papers, eBooks, product and service videos and paid ads, followed by sales emails, testimonials and case studies.
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