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.