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The world of content marketing has long been divided into two distinct buckets: B2C and B2B. But as our understanding of customers’ minds evolves, it’s becoming evident that separate lines can—and should—blur.
It’s humans who read, engage with, and respond to content, regardless of whether they’re B2C customers or B2B clients, so let’s treat them as one.
It’s high time we bridge the gap between B2C and B2B content marketing, using the strengths of B2C strategies to bolster B2B outcomes.
Storytelling: isn’t just for B2C brands
The concept of storytelling is often associated with B2C, where narratives are woven into marketing strategies to strike a chord with consumers. But storytelling is a potent tool in the B2B arsenal as well, capable of humanizing complex business concepts and brands.
At our branded podcast agency, most of our clientele fall into the B2B bucket, and podcasts as a form of storytelling are an effective strategy for them.
Take Expedia Group’s podcast, Powering Travel. Hosted by Expedia Group’s senior director of partner programs and senior director of market management, Powering Travel takes a journalistic storytelling approach to featuring leaders in the hospitality industry. The show gives the hosts a platform to showcase their personalities and the personality behind Expedia Group. It also covers topical concepts that are being discussed in the travel industry, making it a relevant and engaging marketing strategy that listeners can tune in to.
B2B buyers respond to emotional connection
B2B content is often perceived as purely data-driven and logical. And I’m not here to say that being data-driven is a bad thing; it’s still key in B2B marketing. However, creating an emotional connection can foster lasting relationships, meaning that it also deserves emphasis in your strategy.
Although it launched back in 2014, I love Slack’s “So Yeah, We Tried Slack…” video campaign with the video agency Sandwich. The two teams took a typical testimonial video or explainer video and completely flipped it on its head. Using humor and relatability, the video successfully draws on the emotions of its viewers. Even if it kept going for another 30-60 seconds, I’d still be engaged, which is a rarity in B2B videos.
Personalization in B2B marketing is powerful
Today’s B2B buyers are similar to their B2C counterparts, demanding tailor-made experiences that address their unique needs and concerns. The days of a one-size-fits-all marketing approach are fast fading, and for good reason.
Instead of an example here, I’m going to suggest tools that you can use to achieve personalization in your B2B marketing:
ZoomInfo’s Intent Data Solutions. ZoomInfo allows B2B companies to create personalized campaigns based on intent data, which is information about a company’s online activities that suggests it might be ready to make a purchase. By understanding what a potential customer is interested in, companies can tailor and time their messaging to match those interests.
Optimizely’s Personalized Web Experiences. Optimizely uses personalization to customize website experiences for visitors. It uses visitor data (industry, location, etc.) to display personalized Web content that resonates with the user, which increases engagement and conversion rates.
Vidyard’s Personalized Video Messaging. Vidyard, a video platform for businesses, offers personalized video messaging. Its personalization capabilities are a notable feature via which salespeople can record and send personalized videos to potential leads or customers, improving response rates.
B2B content needs B2C content’s variety
Although case studies, whitepapers, and reports have an important place in B2B marketing, incorporating various content types not only enhances engagement but also inspires more creativity from your team.
Infographics, videos, podcasts, and interactive content, among other mediums, should be explored for any robust B2B content strategy.
When I think of B2B content marketing, HubSpot is always a company that comes to mind. It offers a rich array of content, from podcasts and webinars to personalized reports, appealing to diverse customer preferences and ensuring its audience never experiences content fatigue. Moreover, its employees think outside the box about how to make the content better for the user.
Harness visual appeal in B2B marketing
Visual appeal is a staple in the B2C marketer’s toolbox. However, it has often been overlooked in B2B marketing, wherein the focus tends to be more on data and information. Luckily, that is quickly changing.
Take a cue from Cisco, the technology conglomerate known for its visually striking and dynamic marketing. Its, The Bridge to Possible campaign beautifully merges storytelling and compelling visuals to convey its vision of technology’s future. Instead of merely describing its products, Cisco creates a visually rich narrative via video that presents its products as enablers in an exciting future.
Incorporating compelling visuals not only enhances brand recognition but also improves content absorption. We are inherently visual creatures. , as a viewer, I’m pulled into Cisco’s videos and almost entranced by the content. It’s a powerful medium.
Transforming complex B2B topics into engaging visual content can make a lasting impression, effectively bridging the gap between B2C and B2B content marketing.
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We’re in an era when B2B marketers are evolving and blurring the lines between B2C and B2B content marketing.
Using strategies known by B2C marketers, such as embracing emotional connections, offering personalized experiences, varying content types, and leaning into visuals, B2B marketers can foster a deeper, more meaningful connection with their audience and, ultimately, drive more business growth.
Data is important, but it’s not everything. Whether your audience is B2C or B2B, they’re human, and humans crave connection, authenticity, and engagement. Mitch Joel, founder of Six Pixels Group, states, “The brands that win are the brands that tell a great story. When it comes to transmedia storytelling, the brands that win are the brands that tell many great stories and are able to connect them all together.”
So as B2B marketers, let’s rethink and reshape B2B strategies and push the boundaries on creativity and content.
More Resources on B2B Strategy for B2B Marketing
Three Things B2B Marketers Can Learn From B2C Marketing Strategies
How the Lines Between B2B and B2C Are Blurring [Infographic]
How Your B2B Company Can Thrive in a B2C Search Space