What’s the Difference between B2B and B2C Marketing?

Whats the Difference between B2B and B2C Marketing

I ran across an Instagram post over the weekend that seemed to get a lot of attention from people in my network.

It was a nice graphic designed to differentiate between B2B and B2C “thinking.” 

The caption read: “Are you B2B friendly or B2C?”


If you’re unfamiliar with the terms, B2B refers to Business to Business. B2C refers to Business to Consumer. Basically: Is your business selling to other businesses or to individuals?

The post described B2C as large scale market, emotionally driven and names the #1 priority as brand awareness … B2B as niche market, rationally driven with the #1 priority as lead gen.

I Have Two Questions

That’s not an unusual analysis of B2C and B2B business or the difference between them. But I’d like you to consider these two questions:

What if you changed your B2C focus to lead generation by making an emotional connection with a niche market of your Ideal Customer (or Client) type?

Lead generation, whether you define it as sales prospects, potential contracts or customers walking through the door, is vital to every business. It’s not really a B2B or B2C thing.

Every successful business focuses on a niche market. Most need to focus on a smaller niche than they currently do. Whether you’re sell in the B2B or B2C world, you need to know who your Ideal Customer of Ideal Client is. Focus on a niche market of people like them.

What if you changed your B2B focus by admitting that somewhere in both B’s involved in the transaction (B2B) there is a human making a buying decision that may not be all that rational?

I make decisions for a number of reasons. Yes, I make rational choices and irrational choices. Sometimes I decide things based on emotion; sometimes I think I can completely remove emotion from my decision making process. Maybe you’re the same way.

In business, there’s often a focus on the bottom line. Many business leaders will talk about things like Return On Investment (ROI).

But here’s the thing: No matter how focused you are on the bottom line of your business, the majority of purchasing decisions are based on repeat business, referrals and relationships. 

Yes, it’s true that experts tell us that most consumer buying decisions are emotionally driven. Don’t forget that somewhere in the largest corporations in the world, there are real, live human beings making the purchasing decisions for that company.

The Biggest Mistake

I believe that trying to remove humans and all the emotions that figure into their purchasing decisions it one of the biggest mistakes made by marketing, sales and business development pros in the B2C area.

So what about the graphic in the Instagram post?

I don’t want to discount the post completely. I’m not here to say there’s not a difference between B2B and B2C “thinking.” I do want to say it’s a mistake to divorce niche markets from Business to Consumer marketing and a mistake to associate lead generation only with Business to Business marketing.

But the biggest mistake I think this post makes is forgetting that, at its core, every purchase is a human to human transaction.

That’s a mistake none of us can afford to make.

Question: Are you marketing to a company or an avatar or are you marketing to a real live human being?

Let's talk about how you can adjust your marketing to focus on the humans in every market. Click this link to schedule a free call with me.