Events: B2B versus B2C

I was recently asked about B2B and B2C events and my simple statement was, there is inherently very little difference between the two. The tactics and logistics are nearly identical. The biggest difference is your audience, hence the B and the C.
Your business and consumer clients will be attracted by different marketing and messaging, but when you work with your marketing team… it still is all the same.
No matter who your audience is, you will always target your messaging and branding TO THAT AUDIENCE.
You are not going to go after a business with a sexy Carl’s Jr. ad and you won’t go after your consumer with an ad from Oracle.
So the question really becomes null and void about the differences in the actual event. The difference is in the marketing. When it comes down to it, you are still marketing to people but with a different purpose and focus.
Businesses are realizing that they need to be more relevant, more human and more attractive to their buyer. Which means that when we are creating an event, we are still catering to the human need to experience something.
Whether we are creating a very structured business event or a very loosey goosey festival, we are still focused on the experience that the “people” are going to have.
The foundation of creating an event will always be the same. We as event planners don’t care who the audience is in a general sense. We care about the experience that we are creating and how we need to create it. I was going to tell you that the other difference is the content, but it’s really not. You can educate, teach, lecture and train in both a B2B or a B2C event. I’ve seen, done and attended both.
Overly simplified, a B2B or a B2C event looks like this:

  • Research and secure venue, F&B, all meeting spaces and room blocks – Event Team
  • Research and secure A/V – Event Team
  • Research and secure all staging/lighting needs – Event Team
  • Research and secure all event tech – Event Team
  • Create all marketing messaging – Marketing Team
  • Create all marketing collateral (digital and onsite) – Graphics and Event Team
  • Market/Promote Event – Marketing Team
  • Develop content – Event Creator
  • Research and secure Photographer and Videographer – Event Team
  • Registration Page (Ticket Sales) – Digital Tea,
  • Onsite Registration – Event Team
  • Agenda Creation – Event Creator and Event Team
  • Design and Decor – Event Team
  • Event Management – Event Team
  • Secure Sponsors – Sponsorship Team
  • Secure Vendors – Event Creator
  • Set up, Tear Down – Event Team & Venue Staff

Oops! I think I just made event planning look super easy to some. Let me be clear, within that list is a 1,001 details that need to be handled and managed, but the point of this is to show you that we as event planners do not change how we plan and run an events, regardless of the B or the C.
Now with all that being said, let me go back to the experience. The experience will be very specific based on the B or the C, but remember we are still catering to the ‘HUMAN” experience. With the B experience, you may do more high end networking or cocktail parties. You will provide opportunities for your B’s to connect with each other in a very professional atmosphere. While your C experience may be all about the excursions and play.
What I would like to really emphasize and remind you is that no matter what, there are people involved in both. I think the B2B world gets SO stuck in business that they forget to play. You can and might want to consider adding in play and excursions to the B2B events. The depth of the experience will change and you create opportunities for your audience to build a relationship beyond the cocktail party, business card exchange.
What if you created more team building exercises that required your B’s to work together and collaborate more. You allow them to showcase their brilliance and to see each other in action. You allow them to build trust and rapport more quickly than they will by just having a conversation over an alcoholic beverage.
Remember, whether you are in a B2B or a B2C environment, your focus needs to be the people and the experience.
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