Content marketers often have to get to know the differences between their audience. When segmenting these audiences the terms Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) usually come in.
The way you market to these two groups is entirely different and it is important that you identify the differences so that your strategy and content are as effective as you would like them to be.
The following key differences between B2B and B2C will help you structure your message to make the desired impact on your target.
Long Term Vs Short Term Relationship
If you consider a business taking a decision on the type of printing papers to buy for the copier machine, this company will be looking at a supplier who can provide the copier paper over a long period of time. The decision they will make is based on a number of considerations like the quality of the paper, how regularly the supplier can provide this, are they reliable and so on. The B2B content for this would defiantly have to fuel the creation of an informed decision that will last long.
On the other hand, a consumer who would like to buy a soft drink would be looking at meeting a current need which is more driven by want. The choice between one drink over the other is likely not driven by an intention to keep on going to the same shop to get that soft drink. The content for this will not have to be detailed, a simple and precise message that lets the consumer know that a particular drink will meet their current need may be sufficient. In short, you simply need to appeal to emotion.
Expert Knowledge Vs Feel Good Information
Like we mentioned before, B2B decisions are taken after a number of considerations, this means that the content has to be more DETAILED!
B2B marketing content is usually aimed at proving you have expert knowledge of the service or product you wish to provide to the business, it should clearly explain how that service or product will work better than what the competition is offering. In essence, you are trying to build TRUST and VALUE.
B2C differs in that you are trying to produce content that will make the consumer feel good about the product or service they will be purchasing. Aspects like favorable pricing and prestige may dominate the B2C content. The content is mainly creating EMOTIONAL SATISFACTION above all else.
Considering that with B2B you need to provide more information, the mediums through which you can provide the content tend to be restrictive. This is not to say that there are no mediums for the content, but in comparison to B2C, you have fewer options. LinkedIn is one of the more preferred and effective channels that can be used to get business content to businesses out there.
When it comes to B2C, on the other hand, the mediums are varied, social media is one of the easiest with simple video clips, short messages, and pictures being sufficient enough to influence individual decisions or to create top of the mind awareness about a product or service.
This means that B2B content marketers need to be more strategic when choosing their channels to get the message across. The potential is there but the effort needs to be a lot greater than when choosing B2C channels to get content out there. This though does not mean that the B2B marketers should ignore the other mediums that B2C strategy uses, they may still generate a few leads as well.
Based on research carried out on the recipients of marketing content, the majority of B2B customers are more comfortable consuming content from blogs and whitepapers. They are also keen to see research-based content that gives clear evidence of the different claims marketers may make.
B2C differ in that the majority would be more comfortable with user-generated content. However, there are still those who may still be happy to read blogs and white papers and B2B are not restricted to just the more comfortable formats.
The format may be flexible but it is advisable to put more focus on the one that has the most number of comfortable recipients for a more effective campaign.
It is not all clear-cut however when it comes to both segments, at some point, there are a few blurred lines. Some experts point out that some goods and services may cut across both B2B and B2C which may make it hard to categorize their content.
If you take the example of software, you are not only going to market it to businesses exclusively, even an individual may purchase this. At some point, you may need to consider the short and long-term purchases as opposed to business to business.
At some point, the content marketer needs to profile their target to determine the kind of content they will generate for the particular end user. Understanding the target’s interests and needs may be key in determining whether to generate content in a particular format, the medium used and the message itself. The blurred lines can eventually be redefined for particular campaigns that cross both segments.
The key thing to keep in mind as a content marketer is that B2B will require that you provide expert knowledge about a particular product or service. You are appealing more to the intellect than anything else. The business needs to be able to trust you and look at your product as the solution they should opt for.
B2C, on the other hand, is about appealing to emotional connections. You are finding ways to make the consumer feel like you relate with them and they feel good about that relationship when they buy the product or enjoy the service.
But what remains key is that they will both require research and understanding of the target in order to produce content that best suits the persona of the target. This holds true even for targets that cut across the B2C and B2B divide.