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The Difference Between B2B Content Marketing And B2C Content Marketing
Watch an old episode of Mad Men and, if you’re a man working in sales or marketing, you’ll have plenty of reasons to feel nostalgic. The suits are sharp, the designs are modern, the offices are private instead of open-plan. There’s not a cubicle in sight. But most importantly, the sales take place over Martini lunches and late-night drinking sessions. They’re B2B sales, pitches from advertising executives to the sales heads at major corporations. The sales are much more direct and personal than the creative methods the advertising firm would use to sell to the client’s customers.
It’s a sharp contrast. To sell airline tickets, cigarettes and fizzy drinks, Don Draper stretched his imagination to portray a story, a lifestyle, an idea. To sell his company’s skills, his sales team would meet with buyers personally, buy them drinks and let them win at golf. It appears as though selling to businesses and selling to retail buyers are two entirely different fields requiring completely different strategies.
There are differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing. Business buyers are smaller in number, which makes relationships easier to build. They may be more likely to base their decisions on reason and accounting than on identity and emotion than retail buyers. They’re often accountable for their purchases in a way that retail customers aren’t.
Those differences matter, but there are also plenty of similarities that make developing a content strategy for B2B sales as effective and as important as it is for B2C sales, not least because today’s decision-makers absorb the same digital media and use the same digital tools that their clients use online.
When Isracard, Israel’s largest credit card company, was looking for a way to keep businesses using its services, it turned to us for ideas that could engage and satisfy those corporate customers. We created a series of animated videos that promoted added value services that Isracard’s clients could enjoy.
The content of the videos was different to the content we might have put in a video aimed at retail customers. The details might have been a little more technical, but the language and the style were equally fun and friendly because the principle was the same: to enhance the customer, to show them that life with our client was better, and to enable them to understand that they’re in a relationship with a business that is working with them to improve their lives. We wanted them to understand that Isracard wasn’t just solving a specific problem. It was invested in their business success… in the same way that a retail business is invested in the overall happiness and wellbeing of a customer.
Content marketing often focuses on turning members of the public into retail customers. The needs are domestic and the lifestyle the product enhances is easily understood. But although B2B relationships appear to be based on reason and budgets more than emotion and lifestyle, trust, reliability and an engaged relationship are as vital in B2B purchases as they are in B2C marketing. That leaves plenty of room for tailoring an effective content strategy. Over the next few weeks, We’re going to explore how that content strategy can improve B2B sales.
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