Published: July 15th 2013, 5:00pm
Not all content marketing is made equal. The content you create depends on your target audience and overall business strategy. So it is no surprise there are key differences between B2B and B2C content marketing. Each type of organization communicates to an entirely different demographic with their own distinct needs and knowledge base. While B2B companies are trying to reach business influencers and powerful executives, B2C marketers are going after consumers seeking a product or service. This fundamental contrast in their audience and objective necessitates a unique approach to the content marketing game.
Wondering exactly how B2B and B2B content marketing differs? Thanks to research released by the Content Marketing Institute, we have some hard-and-fast numbers quantifying how the two compare and contrast. While B2B and B2C content marketing strategies share some similarities, they depart from one another in the following three crucial ways.
1. Tactics: A different audience dictates different forms of content. B2B content marketers tend to use white papers, webinars, andresearch reports while B2C content marketers use much more mobile content. This makes sense considering B2B companies need content to establish thought leadership while B2C companies use mobile content to reflect consumers’ immediate needs. B2B marketers also use significantly less print media; 51% of B2C marketers ranked print as effective versus only 34% of B2B marketers.
2. Social: The most striking difference between B2B and B2C content marketers is their use of social media. While both leverage social media actively (social media was the highest reported tactic overall), they deviate in terms of which platforms they use. 83% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn, making it the top social media site used by B2B companies. But for B2C, LinkedIn only ranked fourth on the list. On the other hand, Facebook dominates B2C social strategy–90% report they use Facebook to distribute content–but it ranks third for B2B companies. For each, their preferred platform is the most effective way to reach their target audience. LinkedIn is a direct channel to business leaders and industry experts while Facebook is populated by consumers.
3. Challenges: B2B and B2C marketers express different challenges when it comes to content marketing. 64% of B2B content marketers identify producing enough content as a challenge. While this is the number one obstacle faced by B2B companies, the biggest challenged cited by B2C content marketers was lack of budget. Only 39% of B2B marketers described budget as a problem making this a major point of distinction between the two. Overall, B2B companies do have a slightly larger average content marketing budget (33% versus 28% of the marketing budget) so that could be a potential contributing factor.
It is important to point out that besides these three key differences, B2B and B2C content marketing strategies are relatively similar. They both aim to foster brand awareness, and engage consumers with the ultimate goal of conversion. And both use a similar set of tools–although in different proportion–to accomplish these shared goals. In the end, all content marketing is people-to-people, says content expert Heidi Cohen. And she’s right.
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