When creating content for your audience, one of the core differences you’ll need to consider is whether you’re writing for a business audience or a consumer one.
B2B, or business-to-business, refers to businesses that sell their products and services to other business. For example, SaaS company Slack — a software tool that’s a collaboration hub for work. We use it here at Scotch & Ramen, and we simply couldn’t live without it.
B2C, or business-to-consumer, refers to businesses that sell their products and services to everyday consumers. For example, think H&M or even your favorite restaurant.
Some businesses will fall under both categories, as they have different products and services designed for different audiences. For example, Dropbox — a software tool that can bring all your files together in one central place. They do a really great job at creating content for their different audiences and give users the option to self-identify right on their homepage as either a “team” or “individual” user.
The management team at Dropbox clearly understands the differences between their two audiences. They have done the work to ensure each gets the type of content, messaging, and lessons they need to make a purchase decision and ultimately become successful with their product.
Creating the right type of content for your audience
Whether your business is B2B, B2C, or a hybrid, it’s essential that you start with understanding your audience before you try to start creating content for them. The point of creating content is to provide relevant, valuable, and educational information to your potential and existing customers, and you can’t do that unless you know what those people want and need from you.
In addition to investing adequate time and resources into customer profiling and buyer personas, here are some of the key differences you want to always consider when creating content for businesses and regular consumers.
FADS & TRENDS
B2B customers don’t typically respond to fads and trends, but you’ll find that B2C customers will. For example, consider the latest fashion trend or toy craze — the things people go bananas over and simply have to have are almost always consumer-driven. Any purchases that are emotional, and sometimes irrational, are not going to happen with your B2B customers.
LENGTH OF PURCHASING DECISIONS
Following suit of ignoring trends and fads, your B2C customers don’t like to jump on things quickly — this means they have a longer buying cycle and will often require a lot of content and courting before they’re willing to make a purchase. Consumers are typically free to make emotional purchasing decisions on a whim but business customers simply don’t have that luxury. More often than not, buying decisions are made by groups or boards and require consensus from numerous members.
LAGGARDS VERSUS EARLY ADOPTERS
Regular everyday consumers have the freedom to jump on new ideas and products, but businesses rely on proven ROI and historical data before those types of moves are made. If you’re selling to B2B, remember that these people need to see proof before purchase. Often, businesses are slow to get on the bandwagon simply because they have no other choice. Social media marketing is a great example of this — many chose to wait and see how other businesses faired before sinking any resources into an unknown. They may have regretted the decision to wait, but it won’t change their buying process.
When you put all of these items together, it paints a pretty clear picture of how B2B and B2C consumers differ:
B2B consumers are not free to follow fads and trends, and the nature of their buying process means it’s going to take longer to make a decision. Before a product or service is even considered, there will need to be proof of ROI and historical data that demonstrates how this investment will perform.
B2C consumers are free to chase trends and will make emotional, even irrational, buying decisions. Their purchases are often more impulsive and they have the freedom to take risks and become early adopters of products and services that interest and excite them.
So when you’re creating content for two very different audiences, remember these key differentiators to ensure you’re providing your audience with the experience and information they require to make a decision.
Stay tuned for more on this subject — up next, we’re talking about what specific types of content work best for your B2B and B2C customers!