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Demystifying B2B vs. B2C Product Management

By Ravikiran Papthimar – Product Leadership at Candela Labs

As product managers, it is paramount for you to understand the difference between B2C (Business to Customer) and B2B (Business to Business) product management. Both types of product management involve the creation and delivery of products, but their individual approach to the product development process and the challenges that come with it can differ significantly. 

Here, we will be demystifying the differences between B2B and B2C product management.

Key Takeaways:

  • B2C kind of products are those that have a lot more experimentation and a wider customer base. B2B products have less scope of experimentation and a smaller customer base.
  • In B2C companies, most of the requests that product managers are given are mostly wishes of the customers. But in a B2B kind of setup, these requests usually come with expectations and demands.
  • B2C industries are fast-paced and ad hoc driven whereas B2B industries are slow-paced and require very less updates on the product.
In this article
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    Experimentation vs Expertise

    B2C kind of products are those that have a lot more experimentation. As B2C product managers, you will take data from customers from different industries and you need to do a lot of experiments and testing. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it will not work. B2C setup allows product managers to take risks and try out new ideas because they have a large audience to get their product feedback from.

    On the other hand, in a B2B kind of setup,  you are developing products for enterprises. Hence, you don’t get as wide a customer base as you get in a B2C setup. Experimentation is a lot more constrained. Getting data for a good customer base is itself a challenge. You can’t launch something and then say that you are testing it. The customers will not take your product then. So B2B product managers should attain a certain level of expertise regarding their target industry. You cannot just build any hypothesis. It has to be targeted for that industry or line of business.

    Customer Requests and Expectations

    In B2C product management, there is a large customer base. And most of the requests that product managers are given in those kinds of cases are mostly wishes. But in a B2B kind of setup, these requests usually come with expectations and demands you cannot say no to. Depending on the type of product that you have, most of the B2C companies involve a lot of enhancements and evolutions which are happening. Every day you get a new update. But in B2B products these are very limited. Usually, you have an update once in 6 months once or a year post-release of the product.

    Adaptation to Industry Dynamics

    It is important to know the differences between B2C and B2B companies because depending on what type of product you are interested in, you have to choose that industry well. If you are very good at B2B product management, and go to B2C, you might find B2C companies full of adhoc or dynamic updates. Whereas if you are used to a lot of fast-paced product life cycle and dynamic experimentation and if you come to a B2B product industry you will feel very constrained and you will not be able to deliver it. 

    Ultimately, to ensure success in product management, product managers should be well aware of the unique challenges that come with both B2C and B2B product management. They should be able to tailor their approach to meet the needs of their target audience and deliver value that aligns with their business objectives.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    B2B product managers have a lot less scope of experimentation in their products as compared to B2C product managers. Customer base is much larger in B2C industries as compared to B2B industries. B2C industries are fast-paced and need constant ad hoc activities but B2B industries are slow-paced and need very less updates in their products.

    B2C product managers rely a lot on experimentation, and data analysis to meet the demands of their very wide customer base. They do not prefer using industry knowledge in their product development process. They come up with constant updates for their products, depending on the feedback of their customers.

    In B2C product management, customer requests often resemble wishes rather than demands. While there may be pressure to meet consumer expectations, there’s generally more flexibility in prioritizing features and enhancements. But in a B2B kind of setup these requests usually come with expectations and demands you cannot say no to.

    About the Author: 

    Ravikiran Papthimar – Product Leadership at Candela Labs

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