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Marketing Differences Between B2c And B2b Websites

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Differences in Marketing for B2C and B2B Sites

March 27, 2006

Differences in Marketing for B2C and B2B Sites


Marketing in an electronic-business/commerce (e-business/e-commerce) arena today is truly no different than the ole 'brick and mortar' business. Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sites need to have a crafty approach to implement marketing strategies and develop an effective marketing plan to reach the intended (targeted) market. Thus, the mixing or blending of the four Ps (product, place, price, and promotion) in such a way to attain both the business and target market's goals and objectives is the key to success. The correct marketing mix, or blend, will help both a B2B or B2C site develop a successful marketing strategy plus a highly effective marketing plan.

Both B2B and B2C sites must consider the intended market when blending the mix elements. Knowing the intended market and understanding their wants and needs helps to build a marketing mix that satisfies those needs and wants, but also meet or exceed the organization's objectives. Both types of sites need to view the marketing mix as a management tool to ensure that products and services are developed to be profitable and are according to market requirements.

This paper discusses the similarities and differences of marketing for B2B and B2C web sites. One similarity found for both types of sites is the use of 'branding.' Not only are logos used to identify a business, but the tone of the words used as well as the use of emotions ("B2B Marketing: Mind your language," 2005). Branding is an important part of both B2B and B2C marketing.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

As part of the marketing mix, B2C sites add a fifth P to the mix: people. Being a business that caters to consumers, people are another aspect that must be analyzed and addressed. Through market segmentation and data research, B2C sites can develop the other four Ps to 'spark' the consumer's interest. Additionally, many B2C businesses do 'data sharing' of consumer information where they pool their consumer files together creating a listing of highly responsive consumers. B2B sites have not grasped this concept yet. Most B2C businesses have done extensive research into the types of consumers interested in their product and will spare no expense to capture that target market's interest.

Hence, B2C marketing concentrates primarily on the consumers. B2C sites attempt to determine consumer needs and desires. B2C sites want to educate the consumers about their product, the availability of the products, and the important product features. Thus, B2C sites develop strategies to persuade consumers to buy the product. To do this, B2C sites aggressively go after consumers with more promotional and price activities than B2B sites. B2C sites will use coupons, digital displays, and promotional pricing to entice the target market to buy. The B2C goal is to get the consumer to purchase the product immediately (, 2006).

B2C sites normally implement product-based marketing strategies as part of their web site development because most B2C businesses believe they are in existence due to their product line. Web sites such as Staples and Sears have designed their web sites with a product-based appeal instead of customer-based. This type of design is usually helpful to the average consumer, but those that have specific needs and wants might have a more difficult time in locating what they are looking for (Schneider, 2004). However, most consumers that are on the Internet surfing or looking for a product are normally in the mood to purchase the item immediately or in the direct future. Accordingly, a web site should be designed to capture the consumer's attention and interest to look deeper or further.

For the B2C marketing side of things, B2C marketing campaigns focus mainly on the transaction and not the relationship like a B2B marketing campaign. B2C sites are after the number of transactions they can receive rather than the number of relationships or the duration of the relationships. This is because the relationships that are developed between a B2C business and a consumer are normally shorter in duration than the relationship between a B2B business and their customer (, 2006).

Business-to-Business (B2B)

Like B2C sites, B2B sites must also have a good understanding on the target market they are attempting to reach, but B2B marketing is more focused on relationship building than transaction building like B2C sites. Additionally, "the business buyer is sophisticated, understands your product or service better than you do, and wants or needs to buy products or services to help their company stay profitable, competitive, and successful" (, 2006). Furthermore, the visitor to the B2B site might not be the actual buyer, but a member of the decision making team. Thus, B2B sites must fulfill the needs of the 'researcher' who may be just wanting to locate detailed information about the product, long-term customer care, and the financial stability of the B2B (Grove, 2005). And, in most cases, B2B site's target market is smaller and well defined versus the B2C target market. For B2B sites, they are building their customer base on long-term relationships, trust, and commitments not on the number of transactions that are completed.

B2B sites spend more time and money looking for direct methods to reach the decision makers than actually promoting their products to other businesses. However, until recently, B2B marketing was



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