B2C and B2B Market Research | The Difference and Benefits

First, let’s define the acronyms B2B and B2C. B2B and B2C are both marketing terms that refer to the relationship between two groups within a marketing campaign. B2B refers to the marketing relationship business-to-business, and B2C refers to marketing relationship business-to-customer. Although in both instances a product or service is being promoted with the objective of resulting in a purchase, research shows the decision-making process between these two marketing relationships is quite different.

Research shows that businesses are more inclined to make purchase decisions based on logic. Often times businesses include multiple employees in the buying decision process in order to streamline the process, ultimately saving time and money. Businesses are also more concerned with ROI (return on investment) when choosing to purchase a product or service.

A ROI for a business can include time, money or resources. From a business perspective, saving time, money or resources leads to desired increased revenue. B2B marketing materials need to be in-depth in order to provide substantial proof of ROI to the decision makers. Useful marketing materials included in B2B marketing can include logistical data from case studies, functionality of features or evidence of financial benefits. Needs and motivators of the business are supported with strong data.

In comparison, B2C marketing is based more on emotion due to the fact customers tend to purchase based more on emotion than logic. B2C marketing needs to focus on the benefits of the product or service on a more individual level, and therefore the copy needs to speak directly to the ideal customer. B2C marketing is based upon the results and the benefits a product or service will bring them.

Often times B2C marketing campaigns are more straight forward and to the point than B2B, because the average customer is busy and flooded with marketing material everywhere they look. B2C marketing is designed to instantly and quickly grab a potential customer’s attention and interest. The average individual is less concerned with elaborate and explanatory data.

In both marketing relationships, a solution to a problem needs to be clearly portrayed, but the messaging differentiates between logic (B2B) and emotion (B2C). Due to the difference in marketing campaigns, B2B and B2C market research would also require different methodologies and strategies and there are benefits to both.

B2C and B2B Market Research | The Difference and Benefits

What are the benefits of B2B and B2C market research? Read more below.

Benefits of B2B Market Research

Business to business relationships are complex. Therefore, B2B market research may include mixed methodologies. Quantitative (numbers) and qualitative (experience) data are both used to gain insight about the preferences, needs, and opinions of a company. Collecting data in more than one capacity gives a deeper understanding of the business customer.

The B2B target market represents a specific population, allowing for smaller sample sizes to be used during market research projects. Also, it is more common to conduct B2B market research via the phone or web instead of in-person focus groups. B2B research can include companies that are competitors and they may not want to provide candid feedback in front of each other, and typically possess high level positions within a company that require a large amount of their time and energy, creating difficulty to getting them to the same location at the same time. This dynamic allows for the expense of a focus group facility to be eliminated, as well as saves time for the participants (no travel and more accommodating scheduling).

Benefits of B2C Market Research

Every business can utilize the same 24 hours in a day. How those operating business hours are spent is crucial to business success, because time is money. With a B2B product or service a company may be competing with 1 or 2 other firms at most who bid a similar product or service. However, with B2C marketing, there is more competition for brand attention, as well as more necessity to market based on emotions and impulses. For this reason, using market research for B2C becomes critical in order to stand out in a crowded marketplace and truly speak to the ideal customer.

Think about a company who sells potato chips. Not only are there 5+ brands of other potato chips in the grocery store, but they are also competing against pretzels, corn chips, and cheese doodles for the same shelf space. On top of that, they are competing with other snacks as well in the same aisle and other aisles: crackers, peanuts, ice cream, fruit, etc. If you do not use market research to truly understand brand preferences and differentiators your potato chip bag will be left to collect dust on the shelf in the store, and in the B2C space.

One benefit of B2C market research includes the fact there is a larger pool (population) of potential customers, meaning there is a larger pool of participants for market research. A larger pool makes it easier to find willing and able participants for a market research project.

Other objectives of B2C market research include understanding who the target market is, where they spend their time, what messages to use, how much they are willing to pay, how often they purchase, awareness of brands, perceptions of brands, and comparisons to the competition. In a highly competitive space, gaining a deep understanding of an ideal customer’s needs, wants, preferences, and opinions can give a brand or product the advantage over the competition, leading to more brand awareness, more customers, and ultimately more revenue.


Although B2B and B2C are both marketing terms that refer to the relationship between two groups of a marketing campaign, the market research strategies and benefits differ because the relationships are unique from one another. B2B purchases are based more on logic, while B2C purchases are based more on emotion. There are benefits to B2B and B2C market research, and ultimately both create an opportunity to guide the potential customer to purchase a product or service.

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