One of the current trends in marketing is the integration of web content marketing into the overall business strategy. Content marketing strategy within the world of digital has not been treated as a separate process but a mere marketing tool for quite some time. And since B2B and B2C businesses have quite different business goals, their content strategies should also vary.
We will look at how B2Bs’ and B2Cs’ content marketing approaches differ. Let’s start with defining their goals, based on data from Content Marketing Institute.
B2B Content Marketing Goals:
Lead Generation (85%)
Lead Nurturing (78%)
Brand Awareness (77%)
B2C Content Marketing Goals:
Customer retention/loyalty (81%)
Brand awareness (80%)
B2C: the Emotional and Visual One
Business-to-customer companies traditionally heavily rely on emotional and visual content. Once you trigger the impulse your customer might experience concerning your product, the sale is almost done.
What customers need from a business in terms of content is the satisfaction of his/her own preference, as well as getting an answer to a WHY question, over WHAT. The customer doesn’t really need to know what exactly Chanel N5 perfume consists of; the customer just wants to acquire the Chanel lifestyle. Thus, once you picture the life one gets involved in by purchasing your product, you have pretty much completed your marketing task.
The WHY question answers the needs, addresses desires, and solves problems that your potential customers might have. The irrational and uncanny play an immense role within B2C.
However, the biggest challenge in a content marketing strategy within B2C is the lack of time. As we have seen from the goals mentioned above, B2C content is responsible for sales, retention/royalty, and brand awareness. These matters take time to be built with full commitment to a consistent content strategy. The latter is always a long haul, whereas the pressure to showcase immediate results (higher ROI) is constant.
B2B: the Rational and Verbal One
B2B, on the other hand, is believed to generate more or less of an instant outcome. However, there is a lot to learn from B2Cs: both B2B and B2C share a common feature – they create brand awareness, thus B2Bs should take a more customer-focused approach, borrowed from B2Cs, in order to understand their audience and whom they are targeting.
B2B companies are mainly concerned with showcasing the potential of their solutions via content marketing. That is the main focus. Therefore, there is some truth in thinking that B2B content is of more dull nature than B2C. However, this notion is currently changing.
Think back to Adobe rebranding upon acquiring Omniture; “…it gradually turned CMO.com into a powerhouse of original and curated content that’s highly relevant to heads of marketing.”
There are some differences in B2B and B2C marketing; however, at the end of the day we’re all looking to tell a story about our brand to develop relationships with our target audience. B2B marketing means being able to tell that story to different people at different levels of the business and having your content resonate with each of them.
There are many life-changing takeaways from recent Google research on B2Bs:
The B2B audience is getting younger and younger; almost 50% are millennials
Thus, appealing to millennials’ taste is key. After all, “corporations are people” and now they are young people. Moreover:
It is not just people within the C-suite, who are decision-makers
Before your offer reaches the senior-level executive, who eventually writes the check, it first is considered by a B2B researcher. The purpose of your content should be concentrated on making the job of the latter easier, by helping him convince the C-suite professional that you have a certain advantage over your competitors. Your content is not just for selling your product but has to facilitate the further sale to the economic buyer. Thus, case studies, white papers, etc should be included within a wider content strategy of B2Bs. Moreover, these, especially white papers, can be used for lead generation, since they can be provided in exchange for some contact details
89% of B2B researchers do not do branded searches, but, firstly, surf the web for general queries
As we have seen above, the sale doesn’t occur instantly. Thus, your product comes first, and your brand later. It can be concluded that in this case, the rationale prevails over an impulse. However, security and trust still are key to a sale, and these two are achieved via long-term content marketing strategies, traditionally associated with B2Cs.
Mobile-friendliness + Video
When looking for products, 42% of research is done using smartphones. 70% of B2B purchasers prefer video content, and according to Forbes, it influences their decision-making. Remember our first point on millennials? That’s when they come into play!
All in all, in the case of a B2B audience, you want to showcase your product as a solution that meets business requirements. For B2C, your goal is to meet the requirements of your customer. Businesses are also customers, and even though the paths of content marketing are different when it comes to B2C vs B2B, the overall goal remains the same.
If you would like to dive deeper into B2B Campaigns, we invite you to check out our SEMrush webinar on November 24th, 2016.