In a recent conversation with a colleague, we agreed that most B2B companies don’t look to B2C companies for examples of out-of-the-box content marketing programs that can be translated to the B2B communications lifecycle and customer experience. I think two primary reasons why this is the case are that:
- Most B2B companies don’t think they products are “sexy” enough to merit the use of content marketing strategies that they still see as non-traditional and even unconventional.
- B2B companies are under high pressure to send leads down the sales funnel and they don’t associate content marketing with strategies that directly impact the bottom line.
Perhaps we are too focused on the differences rather than on the similarities between B2B and B2C companies, as it pertains to business communications.
- A top challenge for both B2C and B2B companies is the need to reach prospective customers and convert leads into sales.
- Both B2C and B2B companies are concerned with engaging customers/buyers and influencers to create loyalty and turn them into advocates. It costs more to secure new customers than to nurture existing relationships.
- Both B2C and B2C companies want to create brands that are memorable and to establish them as leaders in their product or industry category.
- Both B2B and B2C should be capturing better analytics and leveraging insights to refine communications strategy.
These are things content marketing can do for companies – regardless of whether they sell to individuals or to other companies. And here is where I’d like to note that B2B also sells to individuals who turn to peers and others for recommendations around enterprise solutions. This is why I propose using the term B2X to refer to the type of company that implements content marketing strategy tailored to effectively reach a highly targeted audience – university professors, chocolate lovers, care providers, CIOs, community managers, orange juice drinkers…
I recently read this great post on why the “human” story behind a company’s product can make for better products and content marketing experiences. I couldn’t agree more. The true power of content marketing lies not on how it can sell consumer or enterprise products, but on how it can tell the story behind them and, in so doing, help target audiences relate to the problem the products help address and – of course – to the solution, which are the products themselves.