No matter where your customers come from or the nature of your business, you need to create content marketing strategies that connect. However, marketing to businesses and reaching the average consumer require different approaches. They may reach you through different touchpoints, which means your B2B and B2C content marketing strategies may also be different.
Both want value, but their pain points and needs couldn’t be further apart. You can market to both effectively as long as you understand these inherent differences and tailor your strategy. For example, B2C customers want to know about features, while B2B prospects prefer to talk about the benefits of using your product.
It’s all down to learning what motivates each audience to choose you over the competition and how to retain their loyalty.
B2B vs B2C: What’s the Difference?
Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing means that you’re dealing with a fellow business owner or authorized agent. In general, they’re looking for products and services that will help their business thrive in some way. Some are looking to improve efficiency, while others are looking for ways to streamline their own services. They’re also interested in cost-efficiency.
However, all are looking for information and added value. They want details, statistics, and some insight into how giving you their business will further their own. Marketing to businesses often involves dealing with more than one person within the company, and there are more stakeholders involved in the decision-making and satisfaction level. They want to know that they will get a good ROI, and they’re looking to form ongoing relationships with their service providers.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) customers respond better to emotional appeals. They want to know how your product will improve their lives in some way. When creating content for consumers, they respond best to stories and images that are aspirational. They want to imagine themselves enjoying your products or the lifestyle your products are created to enhance. Typically, these customers are only looking to please themselves and the people in their immediate circle.
When you’re selling to another company, your efforts should be directed toward the key decision maker within that company, regardless of how many others will benefit from the purchase. Although selling to consumers also targets the person making the decisions, the net you cast is wider. You’re targeting a whole, but specified, demographic.
Even when the product you sell, such as software solutions, could be marketed toward business owners and individuals, your approach and the value propositions should be geared toward what motivates the ultimate buyer. For example, your pitch to a corporate buyer could highlight software integration and scalability. When selling that app to a consumer, you could focus on its clean interface and user-friendly features.
B2B Content Marketing
More than any other demographic, B2B customers take longer to cultivate and convert. Unless it’s a big ticket item, consumers are usually buying in the moment. With this demographic, you’re looking to build a mutually beneficial relationship that will possibly span years. For example, my company has purchased from the same paper supplier for years. The quality is exceptional, they offer a broad product line, and the price remains competitive.
The decision maker within the company will want to weigh their options so that they can choose the best provider for their requirements. They want high-quality supplies, cost-effective, reliable networking and communications, and other products or services that will boost productivity and improve customer care. They’re also looking for expertise and data-driven incentives.
When marketing to this segment, focus on information and results that are measurable. Consider visual content that highlights processes, blog posts that discuss industry-related issues, white papers, and case studies. Prioritize content that establishes your authority and provides resources that will improve how they do business in some way. In short, they want reliable, cost-efficient business solutions from a company they trust.
B2C Content Marketing
Rather than focusing on an individual or narrow group of decision makers who answer to others within their company, marketing to consumers requires you to appeal to a diverse group of potential buyers within a refined market segment. This type of customer responds well to the emotional appeals with a personal touch.
Although they also care about saving money, they’re willing to spend more to gain personal satisfaction. They respond well to familiarity. Think about ads and commercials that create feelings of nostalgia.
Consumers also want brands that instill trust. Comparisons work well. Tell them why your product preforms better or more reliably than brand X. Create content that draws them in with an engaging story that’s relatable and builds an emotional bond. Leverage social media to reach out and engage consumers on a personal level. Encourage customer reviews and other customer-created content that provide social proof.
Use images that inspire your audience to see themselves in that picture. Create before and after transformations of real customers or video that demonstrates how your product works. Instill a fear of missing out. Market items in groupings or suggest complimentary products.
B2B and B2C marketing are two sides of the same coin. Although marketing strategies can be standardized, and your branding should always by unified across platforms and campaigns, no two customers are the same. How you approach one audience will need to be tailored so that you can meet them on their own, individual journey, wherever they are at that moment in time.
Consumers and other business owners have unique requirements and pain points, each of which must be addressed. Knowing the difference will allow you to reach your audience and keep them coming back for more.