B2C and B2B Market Research: What's the Difference?

Before conducting any type of market research, it is first important to determine your target audience. One of the most basic audience breakdowns is business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) audiences.

As easy as a decision as this may be, they are two varying audiences that therefore require two varying approaches to market research.

In many instances, the methodology, timeline, rewards, and costs for conducting market research with each audience are completely different.

For example, conducting a customer survey with B2C audiences are often faster and cheaper to conduct when compared to the same study with a B2B demographic.  

What is the difference between B2C and B2B market research? We review some of the basic differences between the two types of research below.

B2C nad B2B market research

What is B2C Market Research?

B2C market research is defined as business-to-consumer market research. This is market research focuses on non-business customers.

Very basic examples of this would be market research with grocery store customers, moviegoers, hotel guests, and more. All of these examples would mean the survey, focus groups, or in-depth interviews (IDIs) would be completed with consumers.

As a result, the pool of potential consumers for market research is much larger than business-to-business. B2C market research costs less as well because of the available sample from online panels.

What is B2B Market Research?

Whereas B2C market research focuses on consumers, B2B market research is defined as business-to-business market research. These types of studies focus on business-related customers and decision-makers.

Some basic examples of B2B market research include:

  • Surveys with IT managers to discuss data security.
  • Commercial banking focus groups to talk to small business owners.
  • In-depth interviews (IDIs) with C-level decision-makers to talk about ISO 9001 survey vendors.

All these market research projects focus on business professionals in some capacity. This is different from B2C research in that B2B participants are scarcer and more difficult to contact.

Additionally, because not as much sample exists in the B2B space the cost to complete a study is more expensive than B2C.

Best Times to Conduct B2C vs. B2B Market Research

In the old days of phone surveys B2C market research was mostly conducted in evenings and Saturdays only while the respondent was home.

This line has been completely blurred nowadays because of…you guessed it. The smartphone.

The smartphone gives market research companies like Drive Research, the flexibility to send survey invitations and conduct research at any time.

Are there best times to send an invite? Yes. But with consumers being attached to their smartphone devices, they will often reply to surveys at all times of the day/night.

Where B2C market research was mostly evenings, any kind of B2B phone market research is daytime only. You want to reach these participants while on the job since the survey relates to business.

However, the smartphone and laptop have allowed B2B participants to work after hours and check email. Some even prefer to take these IDIs after hours, so they are not taking any time away from work.

Therefore, B2B targeted surveys are also completed around the clock online.

B2C vs. B2B Honorariums

Our market research company always recommends offering some type of reward for surveys, focus groups, etc. Many times, people need an incentive to take time out of their day to share their opinions and feedback.

It’s a “what’s in it for me?” mentality and it spreads across both business-to-business and business-to-consumer audiences.

We talk about this in detail in our blog post, You Should Offer a Reward for Your Market Research - Here's Why.

When it comes to B2C market research rewards, honorarium payouts are less than business-to-business payouts. With the higher quantity of sample available, it is easier to obtain completed surveys.

Therefore, this translates to lower costs and lower rewards.

Whereas reward and honorarium, payouts are significantly more in B2B market research.

C-level decision-makers can earn as much as $250 for a short 20-to-30-minute interview while physicians can earn upwards of $300 or more for their time.

Contact Our Team to Conduct B2B and/or B2C Research

Drive Research is a national market research company located in New York. Our team patterns with a wide variety of industries and business types across the country. We specialize in research studies that are completed with both B2C and B2B audiences.

Interested in conducting a market research study with our team? Contact us today!

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

Author Bio George Kuhn

George Kuhn

George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.

Learn more about George, here.

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