Marketers work in two separate yet equally important spaces: business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). These two marketing categories are at the crux of some of the biggest differences in marketing strategy. 

While the strategies differ, marketing fundamentals are the same in the two categories. Especially in digital marketing, marketers are able to use data to pinpoint trends and identify opportunities for these businesses in either category. 

So how are these two spaces different? Are there any overlaps in strategy? And can a digital marketing agency help with both? The answer to all that and more is below.

B2B vs B2C Marketing: What’s the Difference? 

Simply put, the difference between B2C vs B2B marketing is in the names: B2C is business to consumer, while B2B is business to business. In both cases, a business is utilizing marketing strategies to convince a buyer to get from a starting point, typically awareness, to an endpoint, typically a purchase. 

Of course, the types of goods and services being marketed are different depending on the type of business and what they sell.

The core of any marketing strategy is to get a potential buyer into the marketing funnel, and then effectively move them down that funnel to the point of purchase. This is the same regardless if you’re marketing to a business or a consumer. However, the way you move someone through that funnel is different in the two categories. For example, a B2B business might use the following: 

  • LinkedIn messaging and brand building
  • Event networking at conferences and trade shows
  • Meetings with prospective clients or buyers
  • Creating and maintaining a high-quality website
  • Newsletters 

While a B2C business use or do the following: 

  • Social media ads 
  • Sales and digital coupons 
  • Bolster organic social media presence 
  • Email newsletters and updates
  • Ecommerce website 

This doesn’t mean either category can’t and doesn’t use all of these strategies, but the difference is in the time and attention you’d pay to any of these fields, and how much spend you’re willing to dedicate to any one area. So while it may not make sense to dedicate tons of spend to Instagram ads in a B2B strategy, it doesn’t mean you shouldn't have an Instagram presence. All businesses should focus on strengthening their brand and legitimizing their offerings. 

B2M Businesses

B2M, or business to many, is a term for businesses that do both B2B and B2C marketing. These businesses are more prominent than you might think - Amazon is a B2M company, offering services both in the B2C space (online shopping) and B2B (like AWS). 

Typically, B2M companies have B2M and B2C offerings in different branches of the company. Not all B2Ms are as widespread as Amazon, however. Some B2Ms are more straightforward, like Verizon, which offers similar services to other businesses as they do for consumers. B2Ms utilize many, if not all, of the strategies above and may have crossover between branding efforts. Particularly for big-name companies, having a fully integrated B2B and B2C marketing strategy is necessary for establishing brand identity and trust, even if the day-to-day marketing efforts differ between sectors. 

The Role of a Digital Marketing Agency B2B and B2C 

Many businesses think of digital marketing agencies as strictly B2C, but that’s not the case. Digital marketing agencies often have people who are experts in either the B2B or the B2C space and can help you build a plan that is right for your brand. B2Ms sometimes work with different agencies for each area of business, but digital marketing agencies offer invaluable expertise and resources for both. 

Again, consider your business goals and how they fit into the B2B or B2C marketing tactics above before choosing a digital marketing agency. A social-media-focused agency might not be the best fit for a B2B, but on the other hand, all brands can benefit from agencies with strong email marketing records. 

B2Bs and B2Cs may be fundamentally different, but marketing is about one thing: getting someone from one point to another and moving them through the funnel at an efficient cost. Luckily, there’s a digital marketing agency for all B2C, B2B, and B2M businesses.

Want to learn about how we can help your business grow? Contact us now to get started. 

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