At the Maven, we generally write about B2B markets and the engineering audience. But many industrial companies sell to B2C markets as well. One thing both markets have in common is the importance of using content marketing to connect with potential customers.
Consumers rely on content to make purchasing decisions as much as engineers and technical professionals do. Both audience types read blog posts, success stories, and social media content. They also both watch videos to help make purchasing decisions.
Still, there are differences in how you should approach content marketing for B2B vs. B2C audiences. Some of those differences are subtle, while others are significant.
B2B customers and B2C customers do not have the same primary motivations when considering a purchase. While both customer audiences are motivated to solve a problem through their purchase, B2B buyers are concerned with achieving value for their purchase and demonstrating ROI. They are drawn to data, facts, and statistics. Customer success stories in the B2B arena should include quantifiable results and ROI.
B2B buyers can also be motivated by the fear of making the wrong decision. They need to be able to trust their vendor. Therefore, familiar brands and respected thought leaders are high on their list of potential vendors.
B2C consumers are certainly brand conscious, although their motivations are more emotional-based than data driven. They want to feel good and feel satisfied by their purchase decision.
It’s not that B2B buyers are data geeks and B2C buyers are fraught with emotions. Data and emotions play a part in purchase decisions for both groups. But for B2B, data and facts are the primary motivator, then emotions. For B2C, emotions likely come first, followed by data.
Content Uses and Channels
The top uses of content in both B2B and B2C marketing are for building brand awareness, building credibility, educating the audience, and generating leads, according to a research study conducted by the analytics firm Parse.ly.
The study also found the most digestible and searchable content was blogs, with 91 percent of survey respondents using that type of content. The next most popular content types for both markets were social media and email newsletters. White papers and webinars, which are content mainstays in B2B markets, are negligible in consumer markets, where display ads and paid sponsorships are more widely used.
Social media content marketing looks different for B2B and B2C markets. LinkedIn is by far the most used and effective social media channel for B2B marketing. Posting articles, asking questions, sponsoring stories, and contributing to discussions are all popular tactics. On the consumer side, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are effective channels for reaching target audiences.
The B2B purchase journey can be several months long and involve multiple decision makers and influencers. Companies must craft content for different stages of the B2B buying cycle. For example: educational articles, white papers, and blog posts for the needs awareness and research phases; data sheets, how-to’s, case studies, and ROI calculators for later phases. Marketers must send their content out to prospects in timed waves.
On the consumer side, the purchase decision is typically made more quickly. The decision can be made with careful consideration and comparison, but at other times it is made impulsively. B2C content reflects this with more calls to action, special offers, and time-limited discounts.
If your company sells to both B2B and B2C markets, content marketing must be a top priority. Note the similarities and differences between your two audiences and craft your content marketing plan accordingly.