November 10, 2015

Comparing B2B and B2C Marketing Strategies

Whether or not you’re new to content marketing, you may be struggling to understand the basic differences between B2B and B2C content. After all, a blog post is a blog post through and through, right? Could B2B and B2C content really be all that different?

As it turns out, B2B and B2C marketers actually approach content marketing in distinctive ways.

The tone and style of the content that you would read on a clothing company’s blog, for instance, will be unlike the content you would see on a cloud-based data services provider’s site. As you can imagine, the presentation for both must resonate with readers to be effective.

Just look at the website for clothing retailer Gap, for instance, and you’ll see titles like “No sweat: Cozy Up With Sweaters for Snuggle Season” and “The Checkout: Standout American Style at Gap Hong Kong.”

As these examples show, B2C blogs typically aim for a tone that appeals to consumer emotions and needs, while B2B blogs are more likely to use logic and creativity to attract the attention of purchasing managers within an enterprise.

Dive into the Cisco blog, for example, and you’ll see titles like “Moving Beyond Connecting People to Delivering Engaging Interactive Experiences” and “Enhancing Hyper-Distributed Analytics.”

Notice the difference: B2B content tends to be a mix of hard-hitting news and articles designed to promote industry thought leadership and to display market intelligence and expertise. B2C content aims to educate but also entertain readers. At the same time, both styles strive to engage with readers and move them further down the sales funnel in hopes of driving purchases.

As different as B2B and B2C content tends to be, there is one noteworthy similarity among the material from both groups of marketers: They’re struggling to produce effective assets. According to MarketingCharts, less than 4 in 10 B2B and B2C content marketers claim they are effective in their content marketing efforts.

With this in mind, here are some universal tips that both groups can use to create more impactful content:

Create and use buyer personas: If one thing is true when creating B2B and B2C content, it’s vital to understand to whom you are marketing. For this reason, marketers must create buyer personas: profiles built using data gleaned from customers or readers. For example, a B2C company trying to sell cars may craft a persona designed to capture the attention of 30-year-old males from New York City. The more comprehensive you make your buyer personas, the more effective they will be in helping to generate actionable content.

Go easy on the statistics: When used correctly, statistics can enhance content and help nail down an argument. But if used too frequently, or haphazardly, statistics can stick out and distract readers, causing them to lose trust in the brand. So, use statistics sparingly to ensure they help, rather than hinder, the content.

Avoid cookie-cutter content: One of the major problems occurring in content marketing today involves regurgitation of material. There is a genuine desire for unique and original content versus articles that simply rehash information previously published. Be bold and different in your marketing efforts to make a greater impact and increase your chances of standing out.

Make sure each asset has a purpose: Keep in mind that every asset you produce should have a place in the sales funnel, that is, to educate and nurture leads, to convince prospects to buy, to display market awareness, and the like. Creating content for the sake of creating content is a sure-fire way to waste readers’ time and discourage their engagement with your brand.

Communicate with team members: According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 B2C benchmark report, 48 percent of B2C and 44 percent of B2B marketers meet daily or weekly with team members. These figures should be higher, as communication is critical for exchanging ideas, identifying writing patterns, and maintaining creative and healthy work environments. Once communication stops, content quality tends to decrease. 

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