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B2B vs. B2C: What Your Small Business Needs to Know

A lot of small business owners don’t understand the distinction between B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) marketing. After all, it’s still “just” marketing — right?

Not exactly. There are some pretty serious differences between B2B and B2C, and if you don’t recognize them, you run the risk of throwing your marketing bucks straight down the drain.

Here’s what you need to know.

Education vs. Enjoyment

Convincing a business to buy your product or service takes a lot of work. They likely have plenty of decision-makers on board, and they’ll need to be convinced that you’re a solid investment. That conviction can only come from education. It’s not enough to tell them about the benefits; if you’re marketing B2B, you have to show them — preferably via graphs, charts, multimedia presentations and cold, hard facts.

A consumer, on the other hand, wants to be entertained. B2C marketing requires that you capture (and keep) their attention while they make their decision. While the information still needs to be available to them, it should be presented in a less formal, more upbeat way — think social media posts, infographics and upbeat blogs and videos.

Logic vs. Emotion

B2B marketing is driven largely by rational, logical decision-making. Again, making choices for a business requires a ton of accountability, so it’s important that enough thought goes into the purchasing decision. (No one wants to be the guy who greenlights a bad deal.)

B2C marketing, however, is emotionally driven. They’re looking for a solution to a problem, and they’re motivated by things like good deals, status symbols and an “everyone else has one, so I need one too” mentality.

Marriage vs. First Date

Most businesses are seeking long-term contracts — a “marriage” between their company and yours. Since so much time and energy goes into sealing a deal, it’s advantageous for them to partner with you for a lengthy period of time.

Consumers, however, are still playing the field. They’ll commit to a first date quickly, then see where the relationship goes from there. With B2C, you’ll earn your customers’ loyalty slowly; with B2B, you have to prove your own loyalty before they’ll agree to a deal.

Input vs. Acceptance

Since B2Bs tend to partner long-term, a business will likely want some input into the process — a design change, bulk discount, scheduling preference, etc. Your business is completely at liberty to deny their requests; however, that might spell the end of the potential deal. It’s a good idea to decide what concessions you’re willing to make before you begin this process. That way, you walk into the pitch meeting armed with the knowledge of what you will (and won’t) do to make a sale.

B2Cs, however, have a “take it or leave it” approach. You provide a product or service, and they decide if they’re going to buy it or not. (If there are more people in the “not” camp, try some good ol’ A/B testing to figure out where improvements can be made.)

In the end, B2B and B2C have similar wants and needs: a great product, amazing marketing and a stellar experience with your small business. But there are plenty of differences, too. Knowing them can help you tailor strategies to both marketing models — and double your sales in the process!

Do B2B and B2C have you saying IDK? Mischa Communications can help! Contact us today and we’ll show you how to market to any acronym!

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