B2B Content Marketing vs. B2C Content Marketing — Content for Human Beings

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Content marketing, the creation of useful, valuable content to attract viewers to your website (naturally) with little-to-no promotion, is different in every industry — however, speaking broadly, we can define clear differences between B2B content marketing and B2C content marketing.Three emojis, a graph, and some content on a clipboard — B2B content marketing requires the realization that, just like these emojis, B2B customers have emotions too :P

Now while you may be tempted to believe that B2C content marketing is where the fun writing, design, and creation work is happening and B2B content marketing is generally stiff, stilted, dry, and boring, I urge you to think differently — I think half the reason B2B marketing comes across as boring is precisely because of that attitude.

You want to know what the main similarity is between the two?

In both cases, B2C and B2B, you’re marketing to human beings.

Businesses Aren’t Machines — They’re Run by People

I think the main way that people go astray when creating content for other businesses is by writing as though they’re writing for a pile of bricks instead of for actual people.

In both cases, B2C and B2B, you’re marketing to human beings.

It’s like they drop into English 101 mode, trying to create the driest, most boring, most lifeless piece of content imaginable, as though the style and type of content that impressed Mrs. Borders is going to, in any way, grab the attention of the average business person.

(For the record, I suspect it didn’t even impress Mrs. Borders…)A silhouette, a building, a question mark under a magnifying glass.

Businesses are run by human beings just like you and me — shocking, I know. The secret to awesome B2B content marketing is rooted in this knowledge, the idea that your content can be just as lively, interesting, and exciting as B2C content as long as it contains two things:

  • The information and detail necessary to make business decisions
  • The level of professionalism and respect that is considered normal within your industry

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Stellar B2B Content Marketing Starts With Audience

I’m going to backtrack a bit on what I just said, but hear me out:

Your content depends entirely on your audience.

With that being said, it’s entirely possible that the businesses you’re targeting with this content are run by an entire staff of Mrs. Borders clones who want nothing more than the most boring information presented in the driest possible format.

I shudder to imagine such a situation, but I allow that it may exist.

Your content depends entirely on your audience.

However, in most modern businesses, you’re dealing with regular, non-English-teacher type folks.

Here’s the main difference between B2B human beings and B2C human beings (and note that they’re both human beings…):

  • B2C customers are happy to be pandered to, to be entertained, and are usually fine with having some details glossed over if you can do it in a fancy, engaging way
  • B2B customers are primarily interested in the content you have for them, so it needs to be stellar (no glossing allowed), but they are more than happy to have it dressed up fancy if the base is solid

That is to say, B2C and B2B customers both appreciate unique, entertaining, fancy, stylish pieces of content as long as the content is addressing their unique needs and goals.A megaphone and printed pages of a website — B2B content marketing is all about getting your message out to an audience by whatever means necessary

That’s really about it. If you want to create excellent B2B content, you need to do just about the same thing you do with B2C content — create something that’s useful to your audience, that they find valuable, and make it look nice.

The only real difference is that the content itself usually needs to be much more detailed and much more accurate than the B2C content, often with a shade or two less pizazz.

I’ll give you an example.

B2B Content Marketing vs B2C Content Marketing — What It Looks Like

I’ll start with B2C.

Your B2C Audience Wants Content That’s Quick and Entertaining

For my first example, let’s say that I’m selling a car. Nothing fancy — just your average SUV that fits a family of four.

What does my audience care about? Certainly they care about price, gas mileage, engine size, and the bells and whistles inside. They might want to know how long it takes to get from zero to sixty, but this is an SUV, so they’re probably more worried about four-wheel drive and performance in trying conditions.

Safety is obviously going to be a key issue, but more to the point, they’re going to want to know how this vehicle stacks up to the competition.

If I’m a content marketer trying to reach these folks, I’m going to go with video as my medium (they need to see this car). I’m thinking we make an entertaining video with a charming host (who is incredibly relatable) testing this SUV and 1 or 2 competitors — the host can even bring their kids along to test the features in the back seats (which are mostly just for the kiddos).

This content is simple, simple to produce, straightforward, and exactly what my audience wants

My host is flashy, knowledgeable, fun, funny, relatable, and is about the right age and temperament to match my audience. The video is no more than 5 minutes and covers the basic information my very human B2C customer needs to make the right decision.

This content is simple, simple to produce, straightforward, and exactly what my audience wants — something quick that helps them make a decision while being entertained.

After all, our customers have a very short attention span these days — even a 5-minute video is pushing it, so they certainly don’t want something that’s an hour long and breaks down every single detail of these vehicles…

But let’s look at the B2B customer.

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Your B2B Audience Needs More Details of Different Types, but They Still Like to Be Entertained

My B2B customer is looking at the exact same product, our SUV, except for one minor detail — they’re thinking of buying 100 of them.industrial website design shaking hands and thumbs up

This customer differs remarkably little when compared to my B2C customer — in fact, they could even be the same person. The difference is this — in the scenario above, my customer is buying a single SUV for themselves and has to think only about how this will affect their family and the uses to which they intend to put the vehicle…

But when they’re at work and considering the purchase of a fleet of SUVs for their employer, they need to think much more carefully about the purchase — and the information they’re going to consider is going to be slightly different.

They not only need more information, but they also need very detailed information as even a tiny difference in something like gas mileage or lifetime maintenance costs could have a huge effect on their employer’s expenses.

Still, for the purposes of this example, let’s say it’s the same person, which means they certainly don’t mind being entertained — they just want to make sure that the information they’re getting is really solid.

For this customer’s unique goals and needs, I make another comparison video — heck, I even use the same host — but I make it slightly more professional, and I significantly enhance the informational value of the content.

Instead of 5 minutes, I’m going with 15 (the customer’s attention span is still short). Each vehicle gets 5 minutes of detailed breakdowns. I nix the kids in the backseat and have the host dial down the humor a bit, but the core personality that led me to choose this host in the first place remains.

The video is still fun, it’s still entertaining, but the focus is heavy on the content, showing our customer that we understand the content deeply and can convey that in a useful manner.

The customer walks away with deep knowledge about 3 vehicles — even if they don’t purchase from us today, they certainly won’t forget who helped them learn the information they needed to make a purchasing decision their boss was happy with.

The Secret to Quality B2B Content Marketing — Focus on Content, but Don’t Forget Personality

At the end of the day, you’re marketing to human beings — if you can remember that, you’ll always create quality content. In our examples above, the same customer who was researching SUVs for their family went to work the next day and looked at SUVs for their employer. Their personality — who they are and what they believes — that didn’t change.

At the end of the day, you’re marketing to human beings

The only thing that changed was their motivation and their goals. They needed to do a deeper, more thorough evaluation for their employer, and the end-use of the product was different.

They were still happy to be entertained, still happy to listen to a knowledgeable host, but the exact same information needed to be framed differently because of the motivations that drove them to the content in the first place and their goals for the use of the product.

Get to Know Your Customers (So You Can Create Better Content)

Struggling to produce quality B2B Content? Marketing woes got you down?

Do you know who your buyers are? Most of those who struggle have no clue who they’re really selling to.

Get our Buyer Persona Template and map out all the different customers you want to sell to — click the button to learn more.

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Adam Fout

Adam might be a little crazy, but we love him anyway.   Weaving beautiful paragraph-baskets into blog posts ain’t easy, but we couldn’t think of a better job for a recovering tech writer.   Follow him on Twitter @adamfout2, LinkedIn, Facebook, or our blog if you like valuable information accompanied by snarky simplifications of complex subjects. If you're feeling adventurous, check out Adam's fiction and poetry on his author website at adamfout.com

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