Alex is a business owner and proud new father. Every week Alex reviews hundreds of toy manufacturers to land the best deal for his toy store. Offers, numbers, cost-effectiveness, and similar terms attract him the most when the task is to procure ‘optimum profit,’ but the same man seeks out qualities like tenderness, non-toxic, and bright colors when he buys a “teether” for his baby. Suddenly, a wholesaler’s regular customer starts thinking like a consumer who’s more concerned with the softness of the teether, rather than looking out for the option that’s the best value.

When needs of the consumer and customer are different, don’t you think the approach that content marketers follow while reaching out for buyers should be different as well?

What follows are some questions that arise in a buyer’s mind while making a purchase and how they demand to be answered through your content.

“Getting Pens in Bulk for Your stationery Shop Vs. Buying a Pen for the Exam You Have Tomorrow”

Customer: As a person whose foremost target is to buy pens in bulk for reselling purposes, there is a great probability you would look for the name that has already proven its authority and leadership in the field. Then the initial research phase could be skipped, and you can move forward towards the ultimate goal: sales.

Consumer: A brand’s authority in the field or their depth of knowledge won’t matter much until it’s time to solve your problems through the product offered. The three things that will guide the decision would be:

  • Is it a pen?
  • Is it the color I want?
  • Does it write smoothly?

More than half of the deal would be done for a consumer if the pen qualifies through these three parameters.

Caveat: Marketers need to keep an eye on the tone of the content. Where a customer purchasing pens for his shop will select the content that exhibits the authority of a brand in the market, an end user’s primary concern will be to find an option that solves his problems at his terms.

“Buying Swimming Gear for Reselling Vs. Buying Swimming Goggles for an Upcoming Competition”

Customer: The decisions of a customer are based on the grounds of reason, and they seek out a brand that exhibits the value and complexities of the product in a way that engages and tempts the buyer to make a deal. A customer’s main focus will always remain on the “tangible features” that the range of swimming gear is offering.

Consumer: As a consumer, the need is the driving factor, but nothing beats the impact of a story crafted strategically that triggers emotions and inspires the buyer to instantly make the purchase. For instance, a swimming goggle advertisement exhibiting the success story of Michael Phelps will play a significant role in positively influencing the buyer’s perception of the product.

Caveat: The focus here shifts from the tone to the message that the content is delivering. While a retailer who’s buying swimming accessories in large amounts would look for the value and features of the product, an individual customer will relate better to a story that inspires him to make the purchase.

“Booking a Restaurant as an Event Planner Vs. Booking a Table for Two for Dinner”

Customer: As an event planner, your quest would be to look for a place that accommodates the people attending the gathering, the number of events taken up by the restaurant in past, and other essential data that demonstrates the Return on Investment; the kind of content that clearly draws a line on each of these factors would be a true catch for the buyer.

Consumer: “Good food, great ambiance and exceptional service.” Similar terms would leave a lasting impact on an individual who is booking a table for two in a restaurant, especially if the place is recommended by someone or highly applauded by the visitors in their reviews. Figures like “how many people visit the restaurant every day” or “the brand of oil they use in the dishes” would be of least importance to the consumer until his expectations are being fulfilled.

Caveat: The situation talks about the metrics that play the most vital role while selling to a business buyer and a consumer: “facts vs. results.” Where a blend of “data” in the content will immediately get a customer’s attention, an end user will be motivated by feedback, recommendations and images to finalize his decision.

Why Does a Consumer Decide to Purchase?

The need for a product plays a vital role, however, other factors like brand appeal, emotions and status also influence the buying decision of a consumer to a significant extent. This is perhaps the chief reason why major players like Apple and Volvo have happily embraced marketing tactics that are at their core simple and emotional. Take, for example, Volvo’s 2013 short film introducing the Volvo XC60, “Leave the World Behind.

Why Does a Customer Decide to Purchase?

As far as the content marketing tactics for a client/customer is concerned, more emphasis is laid on hard data, and it takes an upper hand in most cases because purchasing decisions of a customer are usually based on the grounds of reason. Your content marketing strategy should simply be data-driven if you seek to appeal to a customer. Mail Chimp, an online email marketing solutions company, knows that it sells solutions to other businesses where the main objective remains to attain optimum ROI. Therefore, it doesn’t rely on emotion but rather results.

Linear vs. Segmented Approach

When you deal with a buyer who’s not an end user, your content strategy is focused on a singular goal, and all your ideas/actions revolve around it. For instance, if you are selling your products to a rice supplier, all your actions would pivot around rice production.
While dealing with end consumers, the scope of customer personas is vast. Therefore, the content strategy for the same could never be focused and singular, even though you are serving consumers from the same niche.

Final Take

It is extremely difficult to figure out the precise differences in the content strategy developed for a customer and a consumer because they share a fair amount of overlap. But, one thing is clear: it all boils down to knowing your customer/consumer thoroughly in order to develop helpful buyer personas throughout the process. Too often the lack of knowledge about a buyer’s role in the purchase creates a blind spot for marketers. Assuring that your company completely understands its buyer composition will allow you to allocate and position your in-house resources more powerfully.