There certainly are differences in marketing strategies and tactics. Yet the fact remains, companies search for information about their purchases just like consumers. When a purchasing manager or a CEO is in need of a product or solution, say an accounting software system or a high-speed printer, they go to Google and look for it. Just like a consumer might when looking for a camera or a vacation destination.
Most research shows that the search results that appear in the organic (non-paid) results have the most credibility and impact, especially when a result appears on page one of the Google search.
Content marketing, providing valuable and credible online content to aid in the purchase decision, is a critical piece of the overall marketing efforts for both consumer and business marketing programs.
The idea is to keep in mind who will want this content and if this content will help them in a way that could lead to a conversion with your product.
So with these ideas in mind, let’s consider 5 ways B-to-C and B-to-B Marketing are not so different after all.
1) Both B-to-C and B-to-B Keep the Customer/Prospect Front and Center: Being in the “content racket,” I had to start here. Effective consumer and business marketing content doesn’t start with a lot of “blah blah” text and marketing buzzwords. It’s more effective to develop compelling consumer testimonials, stories, business case studies and other personal narratives that focus on the consumer or business problem and bring your value to life.
A recent PRSA article about content marketing says much the same thing: whether marketing to consumers or businesses, the most compelling content isn’t about you but is all about your prospects/customers.
Yes case studies might be dry and stuffy, especially in technical marketing. But they work. The Content Marketing Institute and the Direct Marketing Association confirmed that marketers find case studies to be the most effective form of content marketing. They note: “An effective case study makes the reader want to learn more about your product and reap the benefits that your other clients had. It’s a soft-sell proposition designed to convince leads that you’re the right solution for their problem.”
2) Both Employ Strategic Use of Keywords, SEO: If you care about reaching customers, whether they are consumers or businesses, it’s critical to build a powerful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process. Pepper online content like websites, press releases, directory listings and other content with keywords that are common in your industry.
Do a little research to uncover the keywords used by your target audience. Be smart and bake SEO into content as it is being developed. SEO-informed content includes web copy, blog posts, multimedia, social media and more.
3) In Both B-to-C and B-to-B, Multimedia & Social Content Make an Impact: Compelling infographics, eBooks, videos and other multimedia are often used by both consumer brands and businesses looking to explain complex data to a desired customer or audience.
Multimedia content can be a more entertaining and engaging way to share information.
For both consumer and business marketing, there has been an increase in the use of social media sites, blogs and other outlets that use visual content. The key is to be strategic and selective about what social media platform you might use, then deliver rich and unique content.
4) In Both B-to-C and B-to-B, Email Plays a Powerful Role: For all the online marketing options out there, email marketing remains a powerful tactic to reach both consumers and businesses.
The Email Institute makes the case that both consumers and business customers and prospects move in and out of different communication channels throughout their day. Email marketing significantly increases the chance of getting your message in front of them, as long as those messages are responsive and display correctly on all devices.
5) Both Measure for Success: No matter if your campaign or marketing program targets consumers or businesses, it’s imperative to measure for success. That means using tools such as Google Analytics to monitor web traffic; asses how many new leads were generated in an email promotion; or how many new visitors were pulled to your website via an online ad, or how many new sales were generated from an event.
Previous blog posts have drawn a distinction between “outputs and outcomes.”
The point is to constantly measure, assess, and refine marketing programs. To do that, you need to use meaningful metrics that actually measure outcomes, not marketing outputs.
Other important metrics include incremental sales; ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) of your website, ads, pay-per-click, PR and other programs; cost-per-lead and other relevant key performance indicators.