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Writing Tips for B2C vs. B2B Marketing

Photo of a woman looking at the camera. It looks like she is in a kitchen, so perhaps she needs to market her restaurant business.
There are some important differences between B2C and B2B. (Photo: ammentorp)

Marketing can be divided into two broad categories:

  1. Business-to-consumer (B2C)
  2. Business-to-business (B2B)

As the names suggest, B2C is focused on marketing products and services to the end user, while B2B is focused on marketing products and services to another business.

When most people think of marketing, they’re thinking of B2C because it’s mainly what they see in daily life.

Here are some B2C examples:

  • An iPhone commercial
  • An online ad for McDonald’s
  • A billboard that shows off the new Honda Accord
  • Product placement of someone drinking Coca-Cola in a movie

B2B is harder for most people to spot because they don’t see it quite as often, unless they have a career in marketing or buy products and services on behalf of their company.

Here are some B2B examples:

  • A magazine ad for IBM consulting
  • A sales presentation that explains Aetna’s health insurance policies for corporations
  • A white paper that lists the benefits of LessAccounting to small business owners (I love LessAccounting, by the way. Their slogan used to be: “All small business accounting software sucks; we just suck the least.”)

There are many similarities between B2C and B2B marketing because behind every company there are people—such as owners, board members, and executives—who make decisions.

But there are also some important differences.

B2B Decision Makers Respond Better to Soft Selling

Some marketers like to use more aggressive sales tactics—often referred to as hard selling.

But this typically doesn’t work well in B2B because it’s a more professional environment, and there will be a lot of thought and deliberation that goes into a purchasing decision.

When you’re writing for B2B, it’s best to avoid using hype.

Don’t write in a way that tries to get readers to buy your product or service today. Instead, give them some good information about how they might benefit from whatever it is you’re offering, and then let them know how they can learn more.

Don’t Miss: 4 Ways to Remove Hype From Your Marketing Campaign

Provide More Information in B2B

In both B2C and B2B, information is crucial—and decision makers demand that you provide them with it.

However, it’s even more important in B2B because it’s risky to make a bad decision on behalf of your company. This could cause the business to lose money, which may get some employees fired, especially those who were involved in making the bad decision.

As a result, B2B buyers usually do much more research before investing in a product or service.

So focus on educating prospects when you’re writing for B2B. You want to provide them with the information they need to be informed and make a good decision.

Image of a quote that says, "In B2B, write in a way that builds your company's reputation and focuses on establishing a relationship with your prospect."

B2C Involves More Impulse Buying

As consumers, we’ve all made some impulse buying decisions.

For example, maybe you’re at the mall looking for a birthday present for a friend, and you decide to also buy something for yourself. Consumers will often make a purchasing decision in a matter of minutes.

This doesn’t happen very often in B2B. Businesses often take months (or even years) to make a decision on buying a new product or service.

So B2C writing can focus more on making a quick sale and show the consumer what the product is all about. But in B2B it’s better to write in a way that builds your company’s reputation and focuses on establishing a relationship with the prospect.

Understanding these differences will make your marketing materials more effective. If you’re looking for a copy editor who understands both B2C and B2B, contact Super Copy Editors to learn more about our services.

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Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Hi, I’m Dave Baker, founder and copy chief of Super Copy Editors. I have more than 25 years of professional proofreading and copy editing experience, including work for The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where I shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes. At Super Copy Editors, we’re passionate about helping agencies, marketing teams, and education companies refine and polish their text to give them confidence and ensure success. Learn more here.

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