The terms “Business to Business” (B2B) and “Business to Consumer” (B2C) are outdated. These terms imply your business is doing something to a customer. That may be how business was conducted decades ago, but it’s always been better – and is now necessary – to conduct business with your customer. Business to a customer is a transaction. Business with a customer is a relationship.Whether your customer is a business or a consumer, they prefer a relationship over a transaction.


The transaction tone of B2B and B2C says, “we’re happy to sell you anything”. This transaction perspective suggests everything is a negotiation with terms and conditions. It means you’re happy with a win-lose deal as long as you win. When customers need something new, they can expect another transaction. The tone does not imply you’re in a relationship to win, together and to support each other.


Instead, when you frame your model as BwB or BwC you focus on working with your customers. If you deliver business with a business you’re in it together. If consumers hear you’re service is delivered with them, they expect a continuous relationship. You’re framing the channel as a relationship in which you serve your stakeholders. A small change? Sure. But framing your business as BwB or BwC puts you in the right mindset to build lasting relationships rather than finite transactions.

Sure, nobody’s going to blame you if you maintain the status quo and continue to talk about your B2B or B2C channel. But then again, you’re not out to maintain the status quo if you read this blog. If you want to emphasize your focus on serving stakeholders through a relationship rather than a mere transaction, it’s time to talk BwB and BwC, instead.

Question: Will you start using BwB and BwC?

Ben Lichtenwalner is the author of Paradigm Flip: Leading People, Teams, and Organizations Beyond the Social Media Revolution. He blogs at and is found on Twitter at @BLichtenwalner. Ben’s mission is to advocate servant leadership awareness, adoption and action. He has a unique perspective on social media as a tool for greater leadership influence and writes often on the topic.

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