B2B marketers: Do you want to be sexy—or loved?

The difference between content marketing for B2C and B2B matters for your customer relationships and your bottom line.

BY Rebecca Rolfes
Executive Vice President

When it comes to content marketing, prominent consumer campaigns are so sexy, so visually compelling, so cool. B2B marketers find themselves thinking, “Hey, our company is cool, too, so that same approach should work for us. Right?"

Wrong.

B2C content marketing agencies fall into the same trap: “We did this sexy campaign for a major brand, so doing B2B should be easy for us.”

Wrong again. It’s not that B2B audiences don’t want content to be cool or visually engaging; it’s that their needs often differ quite a bit. What works in one industry category might not work in the other, and here’s why.

B2C content marketing B2B content marketing
Often focuses on campaigns in the same way they use campaigns for PR and advertising. Marketing efforts tend to be seasonal and episodic. Focuses on long-term brand messaging. Marketing has a longer, more complex message that requires content with a long shelf life.
Customers may be brand loyal but are often fickle when it comes to actual products. Think, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” Customer relationships need to be based on more than loyalty alone. Content helps create and nourish a depth of mutual understanding.
Has a short, sometimes even impulse-driven sales cycle. Has a long sales cycle that follows a definite arc, involving the right content at the right point.
Relationships are transactional and may be small or large dollar amounts, but they come down to one purchase at a time and often last no longer than it takes to ring up your purchase. Relationships are long-term, complex and involve high dollar amounts. Content often needs to be credible and robust rather than punchy or cute.
Relies heavily on a pricing message. Relies heavily on a value message.
Constant focus on new business development and lead generation. Focus on organic growth, upselling, cross-selling, doing more business with existing customers than chasing new ones.
Quick hits of content that catch attention may be most effective. Longer-form thought leadership content that engenders trust performs well.

Your business is different in fundamental ways from a B2C company’s. Your content marketing efforts—and the people who execute them—need to differ, too. The difference matters to your bottom line much more than to your sex appeal.

published: August 02, 2017

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