In the past I’ve read many a different explanation of what differentiates B2B and B2C marketing and purchase decision-making processes. I very much like Jerry Rackley’s take on this, which is that in B2B it is relationship-based, whereas in B2C it is brand-based.

I’ve finally come up with my own differentiation:

  • B2C: benefit-based
  • B2B: value-based

Both are versions of ROI, but I believe that for consumers most purchases are considered sunk costs, and that the emotional accounting is benefit-based, e.g., food needs to not just satiate an appetite, but also taste good. But on occasion we’ll just choose the functional solution so that we’re not hungry even though the food may not taste very good.

However, in B2B a prevalent mindset is that a solution wouldn’t even get considered for purchase if it didn’t provide a benefit (duh!), but it must also generate a measurable/tangible return. “Will this make me money, not just cost me money?” That’s value.

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