b2c-vs-b2b-vs-b2g-marketingMarketing is full of jargon and buzzwords. You’ve heard of B2C, B2B, and B2G marketing — but do you know what they actually mean and what the difference is between them? What overall strategies are best for each? Not to worry — we have you covered with a quick primer on the differences you should understand when it comes to digital marketing to these very different audiences.

B2C – Business to Consumer: Building Emotional Connections

If you’re selling goods or services for personal, individual use, you need a B2C strategy. You could be a pet store, a specialty clothing company, or a software firm. What does that mean for your digital marketing?

  • Focus on value – From coupons to sales, consumers love and need bargains.
  • Focus on emotional connection – Even more than value, consumer decisions are more likely to be triggered by emotions: Will this pet food make my dog happy? Will this headband make my hair look better? Humorous or heartstring-tugging content both work well. Social media is very effective when it comes to forging that immediate emotional connections.
  • Focus on two-way engagement – This means engaging with consumer review sites such as Yelp, and quickly responding to comments—and complaints—on social media.

B2B – Business to Business: Building Relationships

Whether you’re selling a business-oriented software solution or other products or services aimed at professionals, business to business selling has some different goals than B2C marketing.

  • Focus on problem solving – How can your product or service help solve a day-to-day work issue for your potential clients?
  • Focus on long-term relationships – Business-business client relationships can last for years, built around contracts worth thousands, even millions of dollars. Accordingly, it can be a long selling cycle that might have to go up a long chain of command to reach the right decision-maker.
  • Focus on expertise – B2B marketing is marked by content that informs and educates its audience, thus positioning you as an industry leader.

B2G – Business to Government: Building Expertise

For digital marketing agencies based in Northern Virginia and the DC area, the government is an inescapable presence. B2G marketing has many similarities with B2B strategies, especially the importance of relationship-building. But there a few critical differences. Here are a few important points to take into account.

  • Focus on the decision-making process – Contractors for the most part respond to requirements published by a government entities through a public bidding process. Any digital marketing effort has to account for this highly structured process.
  • Focus on identifying the right decision-makers – The audience of specific government decision- makers who make purchasing decisions is even smaller and more specific than in B2B marketing.
  • Focus on education – Even more than B2B marketing, B2G marketing, particularly content marketing, is most effective when it offers standalone value by educating and informing its audience.


Obvious, these are not hard rules but general ideas about basic strategies. And many of these ideas cross boundaries. Clearly B2B marketing should make use of emotional connections; B2G marketing has to focus on value; and consumers like to be informed. Most importantly, branding—your unique identity as a business—is crucial for B2B, B2C, and B2G marketing alike.

Now that you’ve seen the differences and similarities, are you wondering where to start with your own marketing strategy? Do you need to define your audience? Digital marketing agencies with experience in big-picture strategic thinking along with branding services can give you a plan for forging ahead, no matter what audience you want to reach.