Content marketing is a relevant marketing approach for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Who doesn’t like to consume valuable content today? Recent stats from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) show that 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing strategies and 86% of B2C marketers consider content marketing as a key strategy. Though top-notch quality holds equal value for B2B and B2C, most content specialists would agree that content marketing strategies for B2C and B2B businesses are poles apart.
An in-depth understanding of the differences between content marketing for B2B and B2C is important before crafting the content strategy for your enterprise. These comparisons and contrasts are a set of guidelines for defining your content marketing.
What Motivates Your Target Audience?
In a B2B setup, the biggest factor in making a sale is the credibility of your firm. Content marketing is a great way to achieve this goal. B2B customers value your thought leadership and market authority. If a B2B organization can steer their marketing efforts to create this credibility for themselves, they will have earned the trust and business from their customers, well before they begin selling, i.e. through their content marketing. On the other hand, a B2C market is driven by emotions and stories. A B2C business that has a compelling story which subtly sells, but also tugs at an emotion, will be able to motivate their audience to buy. While both B2B and B2C businesses should position their products/services from the customer’s viewpoint and direct their narrative toward meeting their concerns, storytelling significantly drives results for B2C, and technical know-how takes the front seat in B2B.
The Intent and Goal of Content Marketing
The primary objectives of B2B companies investing in content marketing, according to data from MarketingProfs and CMI, are raising brand awareness, lead generation, and boosting engagement. Businesses always like to work with brands who are at the top of their game. For B2C businesses, their top goals for content marketing are website traffic generation, engagement, customer retention, and repeat buys, in that order. Brand differentiation is a goal common to both, B2B and B2C, but their method of achieving that goal is different. B2B business would highlight what their product or service can do better for their buyer, whereas a B2C business would highlight their brand story and what they are all about – their values and positioning in the market.
Crafting the Content Marketing Strategy
The content strategy in a B2B setting focuses more on hard data and factoids. Concrete numbers and statistics matter more in a B2B enterprise than a brand story. Storytelling works for a B2B company when backed by facts and statistics, or when their brand authority is already established. On the other hand, a B2C market is driven by storytelling. Relevant storytelling helps create a bond between the buyer and the business, leading to better customer retention. The metrics for measuring ROI of the content marketing in both the scenarios would also be very different. A B2B would be measuring their lead generation and brand awareness, whereas a B2C would be measuring CTR, heat maps on the site, and downloads of their app.
Content Distribution Channels: The Waterholes of Buyers
B2B businesses have limited and niche content distribution channels to reach prospective buyers. It is easier to reach individuals, as in the case of B2C, as opposed to groups of executives – much of what is needed for B2B marketing. LinkedIn Pulse, reputed publications, and research journals are some good ways for a B2B company to get in front of their clients. B2C businesses drive campaigns on social media platforms based on their target audience demographics. So, an eCommerce business selling accessories would focus on Instagram, whereas an e-learning platform would focus on YouTube.
Content Types: From a Whitepaper to a GIF
Content surveys have, time and again, proven that ideal content types for B2B and B2C vary. B2B clientele prefers reading blogs and white papers during the pre-sales phase. Technology service buyers who wish to subscribe to vendor content, prefer white papers, case studies, and technology guides. This stands in stark contrast with B2C businesses which leverage user-generated content, graphics, micro-content and real-time marketing, especially on social media.
Brand Voice: From Einstein-ish to Buzzfeed-ish
B2B type content is required to achieve the goal of establishing authority, and hence, is meant to be more formal, technical and serious. Au contraire, a B2C enterprise uses easy-going, quirky, and lighter tone in their content, to be immediately relatable to their target audience. The ideal brand voice for B2B conveys market dominance, while that for B2C would resemble the customers’ voice and tone. Therefore, B2C content campaigns may vary geographically. B2C also considers the sentiments of its customers around current happenings – a calamity, a festival, or other events like a cricket match.
Content marketing is an ever-changing landscape. As such, this guide serves the purpose of a beginning point. While this is an indicative list that gives basic differences in content marketing for the two kinds of businesses, it is important to dig deep and investigate to identify what works best for your enterprise. No two companies are alike; hence no two companies can have the same content strategy. Are you a B2B which sells travel packages? Then your tone may be lighter. Are you a B2C who sells software that makes an app out of an existing website? Then your content may be more technical in nature. The basic steps of crafting a content strategy cannot be missed, but these differences serve as a guideline to understand the underlying principles of why the content strategy differs for B2B and B2C enterprises.
Do you have any interesting approach to your content marketing strategy? Share in comments!