2B or not 2C

People often refer to B2B as the less difficult brother of B2C. They couldn’t be further from the truth.

In many cases, the differences between B2B and B2C are pointed out. Like they are two completely different worlds, that have nothing to do with each other. Like one is superior (B2C) to the other (B2B). Why is that? Where does it come from? Both B2C and B2B are about creating the right distinctive content, for the right target audiences, in the right place. Or am I wrong here?

Of course, when talking about the details, there are many differences between B2B and B2C. Let’s name a few (easy ones):

Single propositionMultiple propositions
Homogeneous (large) target audienceComplex, fragmented target audiences
An actual product or serviceCombination of products and services
External brandingExternal and internal branding
Budget for testingMostly ‘gut feel’
Mass media‘Invisible’ media
Big budgetsSmall(er) budgets

For a very long time, there’s been rivalry between B2C and B2B marketeers. B2C addicts think that they are the brains in communication and have ‘real jobs’; B2B marketeers think they are the chosen ones. In both cases it’s about positioning brands, products and services, with the overall purpose of attracting the interest of (potential) customers. Creating a flow. And to come to that flow, they both use KPIs, targets, touchpoints, insights, activation mechanisms, media etc.

So far, B2B and B2C are pretty similar.

The big difference lies in the fact that in B2B, target audiences are often more complex, more fragmented and different on one hand, with specific media and touchpoints on the other. Definitions like ‘complexity’ and ‘consistency’ are key here. Understanding this and knowing how to handle it (even with challenging budgets) makes the big difference for B2B. Not by being better or worse, but by being different. And yes, I believe that there are two different groups of people: B2C people and B2B people. I’m one of the chosen ones.