B2B vs. B2C Product Management

Question: “What are the key differences between B2B and B2C product management?”

Answer: The principles of product management are universal and apply similarly to all types of products and industries. Product management principles can be used in the very same manner to manage consumer goods, B2B goods, non-tangible services, etc’.

The key difference between B2B and B2C product management would be in how product planning is executed. No major procedural differences exist between B2B and B2C product marketing, although in the B2C world there is emphasis on value-marketing and in the B2B world the emphasis is on comparative marketing.

With B2C product planning, an MRD and PRD documents would be written. However, in B2B product planning only a PRD would be written because the MRD is already being written by a product planner in the B2C world.

Essentially the market’s value chain is comprised of B2B and B2C activities. In the B2C world an MRD and PRD are written by roles at the integrator (company that integrates product components and sells a whole product to the consumer) and then parts of the PRD are sub-contracted to other companies (manufacturers) to be written and fulfilled with product components.

In the B2B world there is a possibility that an MRD is written at the Integrator level for the integrator’s own needs. Commonly it is a PRD or parts of the PRD that are created by roles at the Integrator and Manufacturer level. Product planners and product architects are found in the B2C world while product architects dominate the B2B world.

The Blackblot model that explains this situation is the PMTK Problem Echelon Model.  For more information, please read the “Who’s Driving Your Company?” chapter in the PMTK Book. Also see the corresponding Content Retention Tool.

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4 comments to: B2B vs. B2C Product Management

  • Moshe Kigler

    Thanks for the post. A few questions:

    Can you please remind what comparative marketing is?

    Also, can you use the following example to explain the differences between Product Planning and Product Marketing in B2C and B2B products?

    1. For a B2C scenario let’s use a company that has a photo album internet storage service and consumers interacts with the service via two main client applications, a web and a mobile one.

    2. For a B2B scenario let’s use a company that sells video surveillance systems to retail stores.

    Thanks.

    • Blackblot - Product Management Expertise™

      MK>>>>>Can you please remind what comparative marketing is?
      Blackblot – All marketing disciplines are governed by methods, modes and techniques. Comparative marketing is a mode in product marketing where the majority of information about the product which the company provides its target market is focused on the product feature set and technical characteristics, primarily in comparison to competing products. The company’s product advertisements and promotions tend to look like datasheets and are often presented in a tabular form. The more a company is technology-driven, the more likely it will practice comparative marketing. For more information, please see the Marketing Domain Elements table which is part of the Blackblot Marketing Model.

      MK>>>>>For a B2C scenario let’s use a company that has a photo album internet storage service and consumers interacts with the service via two main client applications, a web and a mobile one.
      Blackblot – In this particular case and from a methodological perspective, product planners at the company would write the MRD for the photo album service and for the client applications. Who would actually write the PRD in this case depends on the company’s competencies in internet IT operations, web and mobile programming. It all depends on what the company is able to do by itself and what it needs to outsource. There are different scenarios under which the PRD will be wholly written by product architects at the company or wholly or partially written by product architects at the sub-contracting firms.

      MK>>>>>For a B2B scenario let’s use a company that sells video surveillance systems to retail stores.
      Blackblot – This case is actually a B2C scenario and the same guidelines which apply to the photo album service company depicted above, apply here as well.

      If you wish, please provide a more detailed scenario and we can analyze it together.

  • Ivan Orlandoni

    Thanks for the enlightening post!

    I’d like to expand on Moshe’s question a bit and present a B2B scenario to analyze:

    Company A is a B2B software consultancy specializing in building tailor-fit advertising software for small-medium sized businesses.

    What would be the Product Planning/Product Marketing processes?

    • Blackblot - Product Management Expertise™

      For the most part, the Product Planning/Product Marketing processes would remain the same and similar to B2C.

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