Updated: Jun 7
Product marketing is a critical function for any start-up or business that aims to promote and sell its products to customers. However, not all product marketing strategies are the same. Depending on whether a business is targeting other businesses or individual consumers, the approach to product marketing can differ significantly. In this blog post, we'll explore the similarities and differences between B2B product marketing and B2C product marketing and highlight some of the key tactics used in each.
Before we begin, here are some data points from the Product Marketing Alliance’s 2022 recent research into the discipline:
Product Marketing represents just 2% of all marketers globally.
A further breakdown of product marketers shows: 16% are in B2C Product Marketing, and 84% are in B2B Product Marketing
Most Product Marketers, or around 58%, have just five years of experience
< 10% of product marketers have trained in product marketing
The key point is that Product Marketers are a rare breed of marketer with a unique skill set. Added to that, B2C Product Marketers is an even rarer breed.
The B2C Product Marketing Agency is a leader and pioneer in the B2C product Marketing space with over 30 years of working in the discipline. With that, we wanted to provide some added insight into the key differences between B2C Product Marketing and B2B Product Marketing.
B2C Product Marketing
Business-to-consumer or B2C product marketing is all about selling products directly to individual consumers. The primary goal of B2C product marketing is to build brand awareness, generate leads, and drive sales for individual consumers.
To achieve these goals, B2C marketers typically use a variety of mass communication channels and tactics to reach consumers at scale. B2C marketers often rely on emotional appeals to connect with their target audience and create a sense of urgency to drive purchases. Tactics used include paid channels (such as paid social, digital media, and traditional media), organic channels (SEO, Organic social, lifecycle), and earned media (PR and events).
However, the challenges of B2C marketing are numerous, such as short attention spans, intense competition, and changing consumer preferences.
B2B Product Marketing
Business-to-business or B2B product marketing is about selling products and services to other businesses. The primary goal of B2B product marketing is to build trust, generate leads, and drive revenue.
To achieve these goals, B2B product marketers can use similar channels to their counterparts, by the tactics are slightly different for B2C product marketers. There is a much heavier reliance on content marketing, events, webinars, and account-based marketing targeting specific personas who are involved in what is often a longer sales cycle. B2B marketers often rely on educational content to build thought leadership and establish credibility with their target audience.
However, the challenges of B2B marketing are also numerous, such as longer sales cycles, complex decision-making processes, and the need for customized solutions.
Similarities between B2B Product Marketing and B2C Product Marketing
There are many similarities between B2B Product Marketing and B2C product marketing. These include:
The need to research, position, launch, and drive product usage and revenue for the product or service areas.
Partner with their channel teams to cover the entire funnel from acquisition, adoption, product usage, retention, and revenue-driving activities by partnering with their marketing and product counterparts in product, brand, lifecycle, social, website & content, paid media, and PR.
Need to have an in-depth understanding of their customer to identify customer needs, motivations, and goals and use that to help define the product to build and create compelling go-to-market messaging that reaches and resonates with them. The messages are value propositions that are customized for the different customer personas they are targeting.
Rely on data to measure the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing efforts and adjust their strategies accordingly.
Build Go-to-market strategies and plans. While the strategies and tactics may differ, the process of developing them is largely the same.
Some marketing tactics can be effective in both B2B product marketing and B2C product marketing contexts. For instance, storytelling can help to create a connection with the audience, while user-generated content can provide social proof and build trust. Personalization can also be an effective way to tailor messaging to the specific needs and interests of the target audience.
Differences between B2B and B2C Product Marketing
Despite the similarities, some key differences exist between B2B Product Marketing and B2C product marketing.
One of the most obvious differences is the target audience and size.
B2C product marketing needs to appeal to individual consumers
B2C Product Marketers typically target a larger pool of consumers.
B2C customers are motivated by their individual needs or wants and often purchase products/services which are much less expensive.
B2C Product Marketing - Given the lower price point, B2C decisions are often made in a shorter timeframe than in the B2B context – with the need for less information and time to make a decision. This can lead to B2C purchases seeming more spontaneous and with less interaction from the sales teams.
B2B product marketing needs to appeal to decision-makers within other businesses. B2B Product Marketing has more engagement with the sales teams.
B2B Product Marketers typically target a smaller group of businesses (and the decision-makers within these businesses)
B2B customers need to solve a problem and have a longer decision-making process with multiple people in the organization making the decision. In these situations, the B2B Product Marketer provides the sales team with sales enablement resources like call scripts, battle cards, and white papers to get help get buy-in from the prospective organization’s key decision makers. This process of getting buy-in is longer and can take several months.
Another difference is the buying process for B2C Product Marketing vs. B2B Product Marketing.
B2C purchases are often made on impulse or emotion or shorter cycles, and customers have shorter attention spans.
This means, in B2C Product Marketing, your window to grab their attention, develop interest and drive them to the next step is much shorter. Often, it may require several engagements to get to this stage. Emotional connection can play a powerful role in connecting with the consumers and driving them to the next stage.
B2B purchases are more rational and based on carefully evaluating options.
As a result, B2B product marketing often requires more educational content to help buyers make informed decisions because they need something. They put great thought into what they need and will align it with things like how it can help them save time, cut costs, and make more sales, increase productivity, enhance security, etc…). Since it is a more rational purchase with many stakeholders involved, aligning and empowering sales teams is key for B2B Product Marketing marketing.
The below diagram will summarize the main differences between the B2C customers and B2B Customers as they move through the marketing funnel.
B2C Product Marketing vs B2B Product marketing - customer behavior through the through the funnel.
Three key takeaways on why B2C Product Marketing vs. B2B Product Marketing:
B2C Product Marketing and B2B product marketing have different primary goals, target audiences, and tactics. B2C product marketing focuses on building brand awareness and driving sales through multiple channels to drive faster conversion with the individual. While B2B product marketing aims to build trust and generate revenue through channels like content marketing, events, and account-based marketing.
Despite these differences, there are commonalities between B2B Product Marketing and B2C product marketing, such as the importance of understanding the target audience, creating compelling messaging, and measuring ROI. Certain marketing tactics, like storytelling and personalization, can be effective in both contexts.
To improve their product marketing, start-ups should conduct customer research, experiment with different channels, and analyze their results. By understanding the similarities and differences between B2B product marketing and B2C product marketing, they can optimize their strategies and achieve better results.
B2C Product Marketing Agency is the go-to place for B2C, Consumer Tech, and Fintech startups, and we will work with you as your internal product marketing consultant. We have a history of success and are at the forefront of helping consumer startups grow. We are passionate about helping startups to grow. Click here if you would like to learn more about our product marketing services, or use this link if you want to set up a free 30-minute initial consultation.