Over the past 10-20 years, I’ve seen endless influencers discuss B2B vs B2C marketing. And no doubt, there are some evident differences between B2B and B2C, in terms of risk aversion, number of decision-makers, account value, etc. These can’t be ignored, especially when someone is developing a B2B content strategy.
But something peculiar has been happening over the past couple years, and it’s coming to a head in 2020. B2B and B2C differences are becoming less defined.
In the same way athleisure made people more comfortable wearing their gym clothes to the grocery store–and looking stylish doing it–social media and the Internet as a whole have blurred the lines between personal and business life.
And it’s changed B2B content strategy forever.
The Power of Social Media
B2B businesses thrive on referrals and those one-one relationships between a business leader and an account manager. But increasingly, the B2B customer journey doesn’t start with a call to a prospect, traditional networking or anything of the sort.
The journey begins on social media. Before they even need what you have to offer, they may see your brand on Twitter or Facebook.
They begin to associate your brand with their own and what they do. As they see you repeatedly, they explore your content and learn more about your company.
Some estimate that as much as 57% of the B2B customer’s journey happens before they contact your company. They know long before you meet them how you can solve their problems.
Creating a Personalized Experience
B2B businesses know a thing or two about personalizing their client’s experience. With account values large, you often dedicate a single person to manage that experience.
B2C has historically been less personalized. Marketers simply appealed to the masses. That is until modern analytics and machine learning turned everything on its head– for the better.
While many of these technologies have developed on the B2C side, things are now coming full circle.
Since so much of the B2B journey now happens online, B2B buyers expect similar levels of personalization online, not just from a dedicated account manager.
For example, segmentation in your content creation and distribution allows you to send more relevant information to customers and prospects. They use this information to make decisions related to their business and your services/products.
Additionally, a B2B buyer prefers to have online resources that help them troubleshoot rather than having to pick up the phone to get help. In this way, they’re more like the B2C consumer.
B2C customers aren’t the only ones who want the information to be presented attractively and entertainingly.
Some great ways B2B is using interactivity include:
- Interactive tools that allow businesses to change data sets
- Videos, animation and podcasts
- Quizzes that guide buyers to specific products, services or features
- Infographics that customize data based on user-specified criteria
Nasdaq recently got interactive and personalized when they shared case study success stories in the form of an interactive book.
The reader guides their own experience through the stories with a series of interactive tabs that expand or hide information to match the reader’s preferences.
Because of the format, the customer can explore in more detail the information relevant to them while skimming over the rest.
This technique reduces marketing message fatigue. And it ensures that client sees what they need to see to take the next step.
B2B buyers may not be prone to impulse buys like B2C consumers. But they’re still human and driven by emotions. Many B2B businesses today are coming to realize this.
IBM exemplifies this with its interactive video Outage that puts you in the shoes of a lone employee working late at a power plant. Faced with a natural disaster, the employee must navigate the plant to restore power.
The short film asks the viewer to choose her path.
Each path showcases the power of IBM tools for business and demonstrates how those tools help her do her job more effectively to save lives.
The video demonstrates that IBM understands the kinds of challenges their customers face. It does so by tapping into emotion.
Getting Social Proof
As business leaders, we like to think that we’re above peer pressure. But in the digital world, it can be a good thing.
If others are doing “it”, there may be a good reason. This influences the decisions of your B2B and B2C buyer alike.
Businesses generate social proof by:
- Engaging with their customers visibly (usually on social media)
- Sharing real customer stories
- Encouraging reviews and referrals
- Being a voice on social media
You do all of this by developing a content strategy that speaks their language. You create content that both informs and builds trust. B2B and B2C buyers respond to this kind of content.
B2B and B2C content strategies are converging. Leading B2B businesses are taking note and adapting. Are you?
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, the team at Writer Access can help you create the kind of content that connects with your customers. Request a demo and get started.
Leigh M. is a full-time writer who specializes in Marketing, B2B, and Healthcare writing for businesses promoting their brands through engaging and informative books, articles and copy. She has MBA level education, a strong Medical Management background as well as extensive Marketing, SEO and Analytics experience. She leverages advanced content optimization tools like Yoast, Grammarly Pro, Moz, Advanced Marketing Institute, Hemingway Editor and more to deliver polished content ready to meet content objectives.Leigh has the heart of a teacher and her clients appreciate that she can break down high-level topics like biology, nutrition, risk management, analytics, branding, technology, as she shares information in a friendly and informative way. She receives stellar reviews from clients for her consistent customer care, high-quality product and dynamic creativity.