B2B vs. B2C Marketing

B2B versus B2C

The Balance / Emily Roberts

Marketing business-to-business (B2B) is different from marketing business-to-consumer (B2C). Although in each case you still are selling a product to a person, the main difference is that B2B audiences make buying decisions based on logic, and B2C customers will typically make their decisions based on emotion.

What Is B2B Marketing?

B2B marketing is directed at people who will purchase a product on behalf of a business, typically a key decision-maker. This type of marketing is primarily concerned with:

  • The people who will be using the product
  • The business goals the product will enable
  • The return on investment (ROI) that the purchase will deliver

There is little to no personal emotion involved in the purchasing decision, so you want to focus on understanding your buyers and how they operate within the confines of their organizations' procedures. What's their role? What's important to them?

What Is B2C Marketing?

B2C marketing targets consumers, not businesses. The consumer will be buying the product for personal use.

Your most effective marketing strategies will focus on:

  • The results your product or service will deliver
  • How your product or service helps the buyer
  • What benefits it will bring to them personally

With B2C marketing, focus on the problem or pain point that you solve.

What's the Difference Between B2B and B2C?

 B2B Marketing B2C marketing
Based on logic Based on emotion
Judged by ROI Judged by benefits
More complex buying cycle Simpler buying cycle


When you market to a B2B, you will realize that businesses work hard to streamline the buying process to save time and money. It often explains why a B2B purchase is based more on logic and why a consumer's purchase often is based more on emotion. 


B2B clients often need to prove a return-on-investment (ROI) for their purchase. In other words, how will the expenditure help the company meet its business goals? What return can they expect for this investment?

B2C customers don't typically need their purchase to deliver a return—at least not one that's measured in dollars. They're more concerned with how the purchase will benefit them personally.

Buying Cycle

It is true that the cost of a sale for the B2B market can be more expensive than the B2C market. The easiest way to explain this is that a B2B transaction often takes more consideration, involves more people, and requires more decision-makers. The buying cycle can be much longer than for B2C.

With B2C marketing, there is typically just one end user or buyer. They don't have nearly the same number of hoops to jump through to complete the purchase. They may not need to consult anyone else before they buy.

B2B Marketing Example

In B2B marketing, you want to focus on the logic of the product and its features. Be more in-depth with your marketing materials.


Your most effective messages will focus on how your product or service saves time, money, and resources.

What kind of return on investment can buyers expect with their purchase?

As an example, imagine that your company sells productivity software. If you are marketing it to businesses, the key thing you need to be able to show your prospective clients is that using the software will save them money in the form of time.

Because those using the software will be able to streamline their work through the use of your software, employees will be able to get more done in the same amount of time. This likely would be a significant purchase for most companies, requiring multiple software licenses and adequate training. Therefore, expect the sales process to involve detailed demonstrations and trial periods.

B2C Marketing Example

When you are marketing to a consumer, you want to focus on the benefits of the product. Their decision is more emotional. Consumers also are different in that they demand a variety of distribution channels for convenience.


Consumers are less likely to be interested in a lengthy marketing message and will want you to get right to the point.

Consumers don't want to work to understand your benefits. Instead, they will want you to point out the benefits to them clearly. With consumers, your message must be simple and easy to understand. Consumers also have a much shorter purchasing process than businesses. They can purchase within a few minutes to within a few days.

Consider again the example of productivity software. What consumers will want to know is how the software is going to make their lives easier. Does it include a calendar feature? How is inputting information easier? How does it sync with family members' phones and laptops?

Your customers in this example aren't looking for a return on their investment. They're simply looking for software that will make their lives easier without being too complex.

The Bottom Line

B2C marketing should account for multiple decision-makers, a long buying cycle, and logic-based purchase decisions. B2B marketing is usually aimed at just one buyer or end user, who is more likely to make the buying decision based on emotion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is better, B2C or B2B?

It depends on your business and what you're selling. B2B could be better for businesses that are selling a complex, expensive, or high-volume product, because other businesses may have the money to buy and the time to thoroughly vet the product. On the other hand, B2C may be a better model for businesses with less expensive products, higher inventory turnover, and a large or growing customer base.

Is Amazon a B2B or B2C?

Amazon is a B2C retailer, selling products directly to consumers through its e-commerce arm. But it also uses B2B marketing to sell its Amazon Web Services and other products to businesses. Amazon even offers a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplace that allows some consumers to sell to others.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. SCORE. "What’s the Difference Between B2B and B2C Branding?"

  2. IA Blue Book. "Report: Trends for B2C Companies Looking To Expand Into B2B by Hanover Research."

  3. Amazon. "Start Building on AWS Today."

  4. Amazon. "Start Selling With Amazon."

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