Successful content marketing depends upon your audience. This is just one of the first things we ever learned about marketing. The audience is what drives the success of your marketing campaign.
Businesses marketing to businesses (B2B marketing) will obviously have a different approach to businesses marketing directly to their consumers (B2C marketing). A strategy developed with a business client as the target probably won’t be effective in a traditional consumer population. This stems from the idea that businesses and individuals both look for different things to satisfy their needs and wants.
4 Ways How Content Creation for B2B and B2C Differs
Have you ever tried to use a screwdriver to undo a bolt? You wouldn’t would you? Because you just can’t use that particular tool for a job that it’s not suited for. The same analogy applies to B2B and B2C marketing. What works for one usually doesn’t work for the other. You’ve probably heard non-marketing people say things like, “So what? It’s all marketing anyway!” Those people could not be more wrong. There are distinct and fundamental differences in B2B and B2C marketing. Some of these are:
- Individual Psychology vs Group Psychology – Probably the most noteworthy way to present the idea of the difference between B2B marketing and B2C marketing is to consider marketing from a psychological perspective. Most B2C marketers will already be familiar with terms like the buyer’s cycle and the sales funnel and all the theories that focus on closing a sale using the psychology of an individual.
However, once that individual is placed into a pool of other individual, suddenly, for each added individual to the pool, your job as a B2C marketer gets harder. Instead of having to use your prodigious skills to convince one person and focus on their psychology, you have to deal with a group dynamic and since different people are motivated by different things, the entire plan might just come apart at the seams. Businesses already come with different points of views and attempting to treat a business as an individual doesn’t end well. Motivations of a business differ drastically from those of an individual and your marketing strategy should reflect that.
- Feelings vs. Facts – When dealing with a business, things like emotional play don’t have the same kinds of mileage that it has when dealing with individuals. A business is more than just a group of individuals. Whereas many individuals aren’t one hundred percent sure what their aim in life is, a business exists for the sole purpose of turning a profit.
Cold hard facts are what matters to businesses and to this end, a presentation based around the idea of figures and benefits that can be realized works a lot better to sell them on an idea than a heart-warming story. B2B marketing is concerned with how this particular product will enhance the overall productivity (and by extension the profit) of the company. Trying to sell a business on emotions is an exercise in futility.
- Self-Fulfilment vs. Industry Leaders – Businesses like to be the pioneers in their industries. To this end, they enjoy being sold products that will take them beyond the cutting edge of technology. Businesses like being one step ahead of the competition, because by doing so, they express a strong face to the competition while at the same time giving their employees something to feel proud about. Conversely, most individual customers usually don’t care if something is the cutting edge of technology or not.
Whilst some techies prefer to buy something as soon as it hits stores, most of the non-technologically aware among us will gladly use something that isn’t the most advanced technology available, just as long as it fulfils their needs. B2B marketing focuses on selling an idea as an advance, whereas B2C can be less concerned with how current the technology is and instead sell it based on how much it will enrich the life of the buyer.
- Close Relations – It’s only in recent times that B2C marketing has embraced the idea of forming long-term relationships with customers after a purchase. The B2B marketing paradigm is based around creating business relationships that last. The rationale behind this is that businesses tend to need close support and once a business starts off with a particular partner, it usually keeps that partner as their preferred supplier for a long time. Long-term business relationships usually end up benefiting both parties.
B2C marketing used to dispense with forming any close relationships with customers because it was just difficult to deal with them individually after a purchase. The advent of social media has made it relatively simple for brands to get and keep in touch with their customers, allowing them to leverage them in the future as return business or a means of spreading their new products. Although B2B and B2C Started off on opposite ends of this spectrum, more and more B2C marketers are coming over to the point of view that it’s a lot more viable to have a ready audience for your product and the best way to do that is to cultivate customer loyalty through long-term relations. B2C marketing has learned a lot from the successes of B2B marketing.
Optum: A Case Study in B2B Marketing Success
Optum is a company that deals with providing health care, bridging data and analytics with techniques that are best suited for a particular need. Their integrated marketing campaign dealt with a combination of a campaign website, direct mail and email, advertorials and display ads that focused on presenting their company in a manner that would make it attractive to other businesses that may have need of their services. The end result was an astounding success. By following the base tenets of marketing for a business first, they were able to generate over fifty-two million dollars in revenue after an initial investment of less than one million dollars.
Optum’s strategy was content-led, building on the success of a good introduction. By developing content that reached the audience that they were aiming for first and foremost, they were able to hone their job down to simply closing the sale on a particular niche. By using this content as a focal point, Optum was able to build their entire campaign around the content that they produced. This was a radical change from their original plan that used content more as a backup plan instead of a driver of lead generation. Optum’s business marketing strategy was based on the idea of giving the user the information they needed, why they were as good as they said they were and using that to furl the closure of the deal.
Learning From Optum: Create Content that Catches your Audience’s Attention
From the Optum example, we can see that focusing on an audience’s needs and wants is one of the main ways that B2B shows a similarity to B2C. However, as we explored in the previous section, B2C and B2B marketing tactics are different because of the very nature of the audience. In order to target an audience successfully, you have to understand the audience very well. Similar theories can be used to explore the needs and wants of audiences across the B2B and B2C divide. However, their motivations, what compels them to buy, is the difference that leads to a rift in the methodology of B2B and B2C campaigns.
Developing a B2B campaign must focus on highlighting the profitability of the product and how well developed it is or in advance of what is currently on the market. Feelings and emotions won’t work here because the board of a business is not interested in the nuances of a well-spun story. However, when your audience is the average person, a well-spun story gets you a whole lot farther. By tapping into a person’s emotional center through your story, you can convince the user that this is what they want. Developing a story is among the most important steps in creating a sustainable and successful B2C campaign that is unforgettable.
Planning A Successful Strategy in Your B2B marketing
Over 94% of B2B marketers use content marketing. Sadly, most of those don’t utilize the content as part of an overall strategy. In order to make sure that your content accomplishes what you want it to accomplish, you have to have a method behind the madness. Even in B2C marketing, flying by the seat of your pants when it comes to content marketing is simply unacceptable. What are you trying to accomplish with your content? Who are you trying to influence? How successful are your methods?
Simply creating more and more content will eventually become unfeasible. Quality over quantity is what a successful marketing campaign should be going for. In order to have content that ranks and engages, i.e. good content, you should focus on getting the most out of the content you produce rather than simply flooding the internet with it. A directed assault is far more effective than throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks.
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