For years there have been two primary types of businesses: B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer). With the launch and success of social media, a third primary has been created that very few people or businesses are recognizing: B2Comm or Business to Community.

In B2B, businesses focus on selling products and services to other businesses and have very little or no interaction with an individual consumer. In most cases, a consumer is almost an irrelevant concept to a B2B business.

With B2C businesses, the focus is in selling products and services to an individual or groups of individuals (families). They usually rely on B2B businesses to supply them with the tools they need to do their job or as a resource for buying products in bulk.

B2Comm businesses leverage and utilize both B2B and B2C businesses, but they target an entire community instead of only individuals or other businesses. Now to read that you may think that most businesses fall into this category for reasons like “My clients are in the Bellevue area” or “My Company participates in community events,” but you would be wrong. Those are classifications of your target market and tactics of outreach to them, respectively. Another thing you’ll notice is that there is no mention of ‘online’ or ‘ecommerce’ as both of those are also tactics or approaches. That is until the day when man discovers a way to convert humans to droids and removes our ability to do all that is human.

A true B2Comm business would be something like a non-profit organization, government, or a prime commercial contractor. Yes you read that correctly, a prime commercial contractor is actually a B2Comm business.

Let me explain. With a B2Comm business or organization their primary goal is to educate and inform a community as a whole about something (usually specific in nature) and the results of their efforts while they may affect certain individuals, mainly have a large-scale effect. They either collect donations (non-profit organization) or affect the community as a whole (like building a park or a condo community). These companies leverage B2B and B2C businesses as a way to educate, to create the change, and by encouraging participation and feedback in their efforts.

So what does this mean?

To simply give a business a new classification doesn’t sound like it should have any impact or effect, but it does! Acknowledging that your business is actually a B2Comm business means you have to change how you approach the market, how you think about the business, how you actually obtaining results (kids playing on the playground you built or the turn-a-round a community made because you were responsible for cleaning it up), how you educate and train your employees, and what we are all most familiar with—how you market your business.

I want to hear your take: What other B2Comm businesses can you think of? What does this new classification mean for our economy moving forward?