B2B & B2C Content Marketing strategies are different but they share many common elements.
What should you do in each case? What is the best strategy for your project or your business?
Let’s begin with some basic definitions and principles.
B2B Marketing (Business to Business) is the practice among organizations including commercial enterprises , governments , institutions and nonprofit organizations – that helps promote sales.
It also helps in the transfer process of goods or services to other companies or organizations that in turn resell them or use them in order to support their activities.
B2B Marketing is the most important area of business activity. For most people, marketing means advertising and direct sales to the consumer.
Marketing, however, consists of a much greater number of layers, which play an important role in the strategic planning and organization of the business activity.
So a significant part of marketing consists of B2B marketing, as it covers the whole range of commercial and non-commercial activities and services in both the private and public sectors.
B2C Marketing (Business to Customer) on the other hand is more widely known as the traditional marketing activities. Business or transactions conducted directly between a company and consumers who are the end-users of its products or services. (investopedia.com).
Enough with the introductory stuff. Let’s get down to what are the differences between the two forms of marketing and why should someone care to invest the time in order to acknowledge implement the right system for each occasion.
Let’s start with a simple one: the way in which you communicate the content. In B2B, industry jargon, specialized vocabulary excels; while in B2C a simpler language and simple meaningful words and phrases that are directed to the practical user as well as the emotion of the end-client are preferred.
Numbers vs Emotions
B2B is driven by numbers, by stats, by hard data, ROI and facts. They play the main role when it comes down to taking a decision and planning for the best outcome for a business. Your strategy should focus and be organised based on the aforementioned data. In B2C you should target the emotional side.
Emotions play the most important role in sales. The strategy needs to be designed without forgetting this. Of course, it’s not always imperative to stick to this rule of thumb. Many successful marketing masters know that the right balance is the key. You should know – according to each case – which is of higher priority.
You must find the golden ratio between data and emotion. B2C appeals more to emotion, while B2B more to data.
Someone once said that a great song is like a story, a dialogue between two people, questions, and answers that take you on a journey from start to finish. I thought it was a great quote so I kept it and tried to check how applicable it is to various situations.
I found it to be applicable to many situations (dates, presentations, arguing, etc.) and here as well. Let me elaborate. in B2C you have to make a story. The most successful companies have crafted a unique story that sells to their audience and this is absolutely necessary in order to achieve a place in the top ranks of effectiveness.
So, strategic storytelling is the key, it hits the emotional triggers on which the average person functions and makes decisions. Coca-Cola has been telling us the story of a plump, white-beard, red-clothes wearing, pink-cheeked Santa.
The story is so perfectly crafted and told so many times that there is no person on earth to whom this made-up image of Santa doesn’t spring immediately to mind. Tons of companies acknowledge this and offer ads in the form of mini-stories.
Tell a story – win the heart – make a sale.
B2B, on the other hand, is interested more in informative ads and hard data content. The power of a story is great though so don’t underestimate the effectiveness of a subtle strategic storytelling even in the B2B environment attach on it the numbers and you’re golden.
let’s not even compare. When you target a company it counts as a unit. When you work in B2C you have to target each and everyone, each unique person, each unique character, each persona, or at least try to target most of them. B2B marketing strategy is linear, specific and clear.
In a B2C environment you have to account for a much wider audience with tons of different characters in it. In order for it to become manageable, each marketer has to create categories and separate the audience accordingly.
There are new buyers, experiences, people who have no knowledge of your product or method, people who are aware, people who know maybe even more than you and so on. Having to account for everyone is a tough work. Creating content for all these different categories has a much higher financial and time cost that the “simple”, linear B2B strategy.
In B2C environment, marketing campaigns are planned to focus on impulsive decisions, they are planned to focus on the moment. In B2B on the other hand, the decision process is not simple and not made by one person.
Companies have to follow the chain of command, spend time in meetings, weigh the risks and demands before they come to a decision.
Usually, a contract sale to a company entails a longer relationship that lasts for months or even years.
Of course, there are many more differences which I’d like to address in another post but let’s sum it up for now. So: emotion vs data, multiple personas vs complex single units, split second – decision targeting vs longer and mutual bonds.
There are major differences between B2B and B2C marketing but plenty of common ground too. Marketers should keep in mind these differences and try to apply the proper methods and use the right tools each time.
Being able to make the distinction every time, enables the marketer to create better, more effective, higher-converting content for the corresponding marketing campaign.
In my humble opinion, though, I think that the most effective strategy is the golden ratio as mentioned before. The ability to weigh your opposing party and being able to understand what triggers their decision-making sense is what is really needed.
“If your stories are all about your products and services, that’s not storytelling. It’s a brochure. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger.” – Jay Baer (Marketing Consultant)
“Whether B2B or B2C, I believe passionately that good marketing essentials are the same. We all are emotional beings looking for relevance, context and connection.” – Beth Comstock (Sr. VP General Electric).