Case Study: 5 Key Differences Between B2B and B2C Surveys
A survey is an instrument that is used to gather information from individuals. The individuals participating in a survey are expected to share their responses to a fixed set of questions. Online forms, phone interviews, or in-person interviews are different methods of conducting a survey. The information collected through surveys can be used for research, marketing, or other purposes.
Different types of surveys serve different purposes. Some surveys are designed to collect specific information points, while others are used to access business needs or conduct a census. Surveys can be built in a single language or be multilingual. They can be either long or short and take as little as 3 minutes to complete or even be up to an hour long. The choice of the survey depends entirely on the objective of the survey.
In this article, we shall look into two types of surveys and the key differences between them.
Key differences between B2B and B2C surveys
Before we compare a B2B and B2C survey model, it is important to understand what both these terms mean. B2B stands for Business to Business. In this model, one business interacts directly with another business. An example of such a model is a chip manufacturing company selling its chips to a laptop company. On the other hand, B2C stands for Business to Customer. In this business model, businesses directly interact with the end user of their product.
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Now that we have understood the fundamental meanings of both models, let us look into some business aspects that set both these models apart from each other.
Different research methodologies are used to capture data in B2B and B2C surveys. B2B surveys prefer using research tools like problem trees and mind maps to conduct in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and more. However, B2C surveys are generally conducted using a simple questionnaire with either yes/no or multiple-choice questions. B2B surveys allow more open-ended discussions to occur, while in a B2C survey, the questions asked are very specific, and they intend to capture a single data point per question.
Everyone is a customer, but not everyone is a business owner. The sample size for a B2B survey and a B2C survey depends on the specific research objectives and the target population. With a rule of thumb, however, one can safely say that B2B surveys are conducted with a smaller sample size than a B2C survey. The reason for this is fairly simple. A B2B survey targets a well-defined group of people specifically. These people are decision-makers within a particular industry or market segment. A B2C survey might target a huge set of people to sample in order to represent the greater variability in population diversity. As a result, both surveys require different numbers of people to achieve statistically significant results.
Geographical Diversity of the Participants
One key difference between B2B and B2C surveys is the diversity in the location of respondents. A B2B survey is limited by the locations of the business. Most businesses set up their manufacturing plants in similar areas since all the resources a business needs are met only in a few areas. As a result, there is less geographic diversity in the survey participants.
On the other hand, thanks to globalization, development, and technological advancement, a business can cater to customers from all around the world at once. If a B2C entity wishes to conduct a survey, they can share the survey questionnaire with all their customers to get a large geographically diverse response. B2C surveys can use translation services to translate their survey questionnaire so that customers who speak different languages can understand the survey with ease. This way, they will get more insights globally.
The cost of B2B and B2C surveys depends on many things. The type of research methodology used, sample size, and the complexity of the survey all weigh in on the total cost of the survey. However, generally speaking, B2B surveys are more expensive than B2C surveys for the following reasons:
They are used for more in-depth analysis. This means that they would need complex research tools to conduct the survey.
The data collected in B2B surveys can be quantitative and qualitative. Data analysis of such data is a specialized skill that can be expensive.
B2B surveys have to be facilitated by industry experts who will charge their own opportunity cost.
Compared to this, B2C surveys are inexpensive as they need not be as specialized as their counterpart as they cater to the general customer. Most B2C surveys are conducted online, or they can be self-administered. Furthermore, even if further data analysis is required, it can be collected through a telephone conversation, massively cutting down the overall survey cost.
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Engagement styles of respondents
Given the nature of a B2B survey, participants in the survey tend to be more serious and detailed in their responses because the questions are descriptive. However, there is a larger scope for gamifying and making B2C surveys fun to participate in. In fact, many new agencies conduct fun B2C surveys with their audience to get a sense of what their audience is feeling. Social media influences use interactive tools of social media to take polls for their next video idea and such. Participants are interested to take part in such surveys. However, such diversity is not possible in a B2B survey setup.
A Few Concluding Thoughts
B2B surveys and B2C surveys differ from each other in many aspects. These include the cost, geographical diversity of respondents, sample size, and how the survey participants engage with the survey. Both survey styles serve very specific purposes, based on which businesses can choose which type of survey they want to use.
About the Author - Ruby Butz
Ruby Butz is a professional researcher. She specializes in data collection and primary analysis. She designs research methodologies for her clients when they want to conduct research. Ruby is adept at holding focus group discussions and using other participatory research tools. Sometimes, she publishes her research findings and other writing on her online blog.