Making the Right Career Choice: B2B or B2C Marketing, Which One is Right for You?
Starting a career in marketing can be exciting, with so many options to choose from. However, it is important to make a wise choice, as the marketing world is divided into two main segments: B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business).
I started my career in B2C marketing, where the pace is fast, and creativity is king. In this world, you are often the customer, so it's easier to empathize with your target audience. Most B2C companies are willing to invest heavily in marketing and creative, as they understand the connection between marketing and sales. Just think of the buzzy brands, luxury events, and creative campaigns portrayed in shows like "Emily in Paris".
On the other hand, B2B marketing can be a challenge, requiring a strategic mind, and the patience to navigate through long and complex sales cycles, multiple decision-makers, and technical products. This type of marketing is not for everyone, as some may find it "boring". The biggest battle in B2B marketing is internal, as you must convince your stakeholders that marketing is not the same as sales, and that both are essential for success. Think of the day-to-day office life depicted in shows like "The Office", with plenty of meetings, internal brainstorming, and teamwork to achieve common goals.
4 Key Differences between B2C and B2B Marketing
- Sales Cycle Time
One of the main differences between B2B and B2C marketing is the time it takes to make a sale. B2C sales are generally much faster and require less effort. On the other hand, B2B sales can take months or even longer to close. The sales cycle for B2B products and services is often more complex and requires a lot of back and forth between the company and the customer. The complexity of the product or service will determine the length of the sales cycle.
- Number of Decision Makers
Another difference between B2B and B2C marketing is the number of decision makers involved in the purchase process. For B2C, you only need to convince one or two people to make a purchase. However, in B2B, the average number of people involved in a purchase is around 12!
Each person represents a different department with different expectations and demands, which means that in order to make a sale, you need to address the concerns of each decision maker and tie it all together under a relevant value proposition.
- Marketing Channels and Tactics
The channels and tactics used for B2B and B2C marketing are also different. For B2C, text messages and social media platforms such as Instagram are effective channels for reaching customers. For B2B, LinkedIn, industry events, and online communities are more useful. There is no "one size fits all" approach to marketing, and companies will need to adjust their marketing strategies based on the customer segment they are targeting. This may include differences in industry, geography, company size, and more.
- View of Marketing Internally
Because B2B sales cycles are longer, and because most B2B purchases are not made without the involvement of a sales representative, the executive team may question the effectiveness of the marketing and sales plan. This impatience can lead to companies investing in ineffective marketing campaigns instead of collaborating on an integrated plan to reach the right customers.
In summary, If you prefer immediate wins, creativity and a fast-paced role, B2C is the way to go. If you have the patience, stamina, and love a good challenge, you will find that B2B marketing is a rewarding path to follow.
And if you decide to go the B2B Marketing route, you're invited to join our exclusive (free) B2B Marketing community, Soar Marketing Society, a global network of like-minded B2B Marketing leaders.