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B2B and B2C marketing: what’s the difference?

Understanding the difference between B2B marketing and B2C marketing will lead to greater success in lead generation, conversion and ultimately sales.

They sound like they could be the long-lost siblings of Bananas in Pyjamas characters B1 and B2, but B2B marketing and B2C marketing are actually terms you’ve probably seen bandied around a lot.

B2B marketing and B2C marketing describe the techniques used to sell to two very distinct groups – and understanding the difference between B2B marketing and B2C marketing will lead to greater success in lead generation, conversion and ultimately sales.

Here’s how:

What is B2B marketing?

B2B stands for business-to-business, and basically describes a business selling to another business.

It could be a food supplier selling to a restaurant; a stationery company selling to a law firm; or an accounting software company selling to an accounting firm.

What is B2C marketing?

B2C stands for business-to-consumer, and describes businesses that sell to individual consumers, rather than purchasing officers.

They include markets that sell fruit and vegetables; media companies selling magazine subscriptions; or hairdressers selling the latest looks and styles.

What is the difference between B2B and B2C marketing?

B2B and B2C businesses have some things in common, most notably that they are both engaged in marketing their goods or services.

The distinction between the two lies in the fundamental differences in who the audience is and how that impacts your digital marketing strategy.


B2C customers are buying for themselves, and B2B customers are buying for a business, and this impacts how you interact with them at every stage of the buying cycle, from awareness and consideration to actual sale.

The target audience for the B2B customer is narrow and well defined, normally a purchasing officer with specific criteria, and this audience responds best to logic and efficiency.

However, the target audience for B2C customers are driven more by their gut feelings and respond better to stories about other consumers who have improved their lives by owning the product.

Motivation to purchase

B2C audiences are, for the most part, emotionally driven, with consumers purchasing a product because of how it looks and feels to them.

On the other hand, B2B audiences are more business-driven, making purchasing decisions based on business models and careful considerations.

What all this means is that digital marketing will involve appealing to the head, and to the heart.

Path to conversion

The most obvious difference between B2B marketing and B2C marketing is the length of time from initial contact to conversion. Put simply, B2B is a marathon and B2C is a sprint.

B2B customers are willing to take the time required to make an informed, educated decision. They want all the facts, all the product specifications, as well as detailed analysis on how your product or service has provided value to other businesses.

B2C customers, however, consider details to be onerous. They don’t want to be educated; they want to be delighted. They make their decision as soon as they reach peak happiness and then they make the sale. Take too long and the B2C customer will lose interest.

Tone of voice

As you would expect, the way you communicate with the heart differs from how you communicate to the head.

B2B customers expect a professional, more formal tone of voice, punctuated with terminology that tells the customer you know your stuff.

The tone of voice you would use for a B2C customer can be lower on the formality and higher on the emotive language.

Need help with B2B or B2C marketing?

Whether you’re a business looking to market to other businesses, or a brand that wants to reach more customers, getting your marketing mix right is crucial in connecting with the relevant audience.

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne, with professionals who are skilled and experienced in the B2B and B2C marketing strategies essential to your business.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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