There seems to be a disconnect between how similar or dissimilar B2B and B2C content marketing really are. Some think there are just minor nuances, some think there are so many differences that the two should not even be compared, and a few even think that there are absolutely no differences. (Check out Page 10 here.) I would venture to say that the 3 percent who say there are no differences are wrong, but who is right when it comes to the other two schools of thought? Are the two markets so completely different that I am committing a crime writing about them in the same blog? Or are they more similar than we think?
The most obvious difference is what is going through a consumer's mind when they are consuming B2B or B2C content. Are they buying for themselves or are they buying for their company? It is a huge difference, and it matters. But we need to break that down further. Why does that matter? Don’t they want the best for both themselves and their company? True, they probably do. So isn’t the goal of the content the same? Good question.
When someone is considering a purchase for themselves or their family, it usually comes down to some sort of emotional decision. Volkswagen really took advantage of this notion: A boy loves his toys, and he loves his toys—including bikes and cars—to be fast. But what about when it isn’t just him anymore? What about when he is now responsible for another tiny life? His son’s? He wants his car to be safe. It is an emotional decision.
So what is the deciding factor for business professionals looking to make a purchase?
Usually, it is along these lines: “I want to look good to my boss.” Employees want to make a purchase that will help the company make money or save money. Not quite as emotional. It is more about success.
Success. What a great word to keep in mind when you are writing B2B content for marketing. Like B2C content, you first must discover who your audiences/consumers are. While the B2C sales cycle is usually short and simple and pursued aggressively by the seller, B2B is different. Yes, you want to convert leads to customers. But it is relationship-driven. It is targeted. And it can be long. Those who are buying on behalf of their companies need to learn about your service or product and take information with proof of success (there’s that word again) back to their bosses. They need to know the purchase is worth the investment (read: they want to know there will probably be a positive ROI).
So how do you talk to a B2B audience? They are sophisticated, so it is important not to offend them with dumb-downed talk. However, everyone, and I mean everyone, in the office should be able to understand your content. For example, if your audience is dentists, the language you use should be sophisticated, but not so high-brow that the hygienists or the dentist’s wife who does the product ordering can’t understand it. Whatever you do, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Your potential customers need to know that you understand what you are talking about. This is one way that trust for your brand is built. Additionally, make it abundantly clear that their problems can be solved.
If you want to generate leads, you must first generate quality content geared toward the B2B audience. The content should educate your audience and not only propose, but show how your product or service can help their business succeed.
photo credit: kevinthoule
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