B2B vs B2C

Here’s the B2B vs B2C paradox: B2C marketers get most of the glory, but B2B marketers have much more potential to understand customer needs and drive organic growth. Learn these 12 B2B vs B2C differences to see why… and learn how the B2B Index can guide your efforts in your specific market. Someday, all B2B marketers will take advantage of their B2B advantages. Why not start at your company today?

Preview: B2B vs B2C

B2B professionals have advantages their B2C counterparts can only wish for. When you fully grasp 12 B2B vs B2C differences, you’ll know how to excel at understanding and meeting customer needs. And this is the key to organic growth.

When you consider B2B vs B2C, which market profession has greater advantages? Business schools offer more B2C courses, consumer research tools abound, and sophisticated marketers at B2C companies like Apple and P&G are held in high esteem. B2B marketers are often engineers or sales reps that were tapped on the shoulder and told to “do marketing.”

But here’s the B2B vs B2C paradox: B2B marketers receive less glory, but have more potential to drive organic growth. Why? Good marketing includes both an early stage and a late stage. While many focus on late-stage marketing (promotion), early-stage marketing is more critical. This is understanding customer needs so you can develop and promote a product that customers truly want.

B2B marketers can improve this understanding of customer needs more than their B2C counterparts. That’s because B2B customers have higher “engagement potential,” and can explain their needs very well. This paper explores these B2B vs B2C topics:

  • The Customer Insight Gap: Why B2B companies can elevate their understanding of customer needs more than B2C.
  • B2B vs B2C Comparison: 12 Fundamental differences and their implications for B2B companies.
  • The B2B Index: Why calling something B2B vs B2C is imprecise… and how to calculate your market’s engagement potential.

There are 12 B2B vs B2C differences with implications for your business’s organic growth:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Interest
  3. Objectivity
  4. Foresight
  5. Market Concentration
  6. Market Size
  7. Decision-makers
  8. Value Chain
  9. Sales Cycle
  10. Purchase Commitment
  11. Pricing Decisions
  12. Supplier Insight

These 12 B2B vs B2C differences don’t all have the same implications for your growth. This paper spends extra time on the first “big five,” which have the most impact on your all-important customer insight. For this, a B2B vs B2C example describes two belt producers. One makes B2B conveyor belts used in the food processing industry. The other makes men’s B2C dress belts. The first 5 characteristics from our list of 12 are the most important to consider.

  • Knowledge: Imagine you interview a food processing engineer about conveyor belts, and then a consumer about dress belts. The engineer knows much more about her food belt requirements than you—operating speed, disinfection procedure, maintenance schedule, etc.
  • Interest: The engineer will be interested in speaking with you because you could make her a hero at work… perhaps helping her increase processing speed or reduce downtime. Interest in dress belts is so low that you’ll need to pay consumers to attend a focus group. This is a major B2B vs B2C contrast.
  • Objectivity: The engineer is also more objective in her decisions. In some B2B vs B2C comparisons, B2B is characterized as emotionless. We reject this notion: The passion for innovation and achievement can run high with business customers. But this emotion is grounded in objectivity, not divorced from it.
  • Foresight: The engineer might say, “If your belt operated at a lower tension without slippage, we could extend the life of the bearings and cut maintenance costs.” With no knowledge of your product concept, she could predict likely benefits in a measurable fashion. The dress belt buyer might say, “Show me your belts and I’ll tell you which I like.”
  • Market Concentration: You can measure market concentration by asking, “What percent of the total demand comes from the 10 largest buyers in this market segment?” The answer might be 80% for the confectionary market, and less than 1% for dress belt consumers. This is an enormous B2B vs B2C difference.

Finally, this paper introduces the B2B Index… a B2B vs B2C tool for measuring “how B2B” your market segment is. The B2B Index measures these five characteristics. Each has a 0-to-20 scale, so the maximum total—the B2B Index—is 100. The higher your B2B Index, the “more B2B” your market is. This means you have more potential to engage customers.

To quickly calculate the B2B Index for your market, visit www.b2bmarketview.com. Not only will you find this B2B vs B2C analysis quick (and free), but you’ll be able to download a 16-page report with your results. This report will include your B2B Index chart with the five sub-scores for knowledge, interest, objectivity, foresight, and market concentration. Perhaps most valuable, though, are the B2B vs B2C recommendations you’ll see for your specific market segment.

Most B2B companies are still just dabbling with the remarkable potential they have to engage B2B customers. They’re treating their customers too much like B2C customers and forfeiting their B2B advantages. We hope you’re inspired to do more, beginning with this B2B vs B2C overview. The most exciting times for B2B professionals truly are ahead of us.

For more, see the 2-min video, Understand your B2B advantages, part of Dan Adams’ series of 50 (free) 2-min videos, B2B Organic Growth.

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