B2B vs. B2C Marketing: It’s the Same Thing People!

by Marcus Sheridan

This whole concept of B2B vs. B2C is driving me nuts. Heck, even after having owned my own business for 10 years, I never even heard the dumb acronyms until I started reading marketing blogs about 2 years ago..and quickly realized either I’d been in the dark for a long time or there was a group of folks out there who were apparently suffering from a serious case of The Curse of Knowledge. Over time, I’ve clearly learned it was the latter…

b2b vs b2c marketing

(Side note: Go ask your local plumber or electrician or auto mechanic if his/her business is a B2B or B2C (Business to Business/Business to Consumer btw for those still unaware). The odd looks you’ll get with such a question might seriously amuse you. ;-) )

The Rules of great Content Don’t Change

You see, I talk about sales and marketing. I write about it. I speak about it. And it always seems there is someone out there listening who has the audacity to think because they’re a ‘B2B’ or ‘B2C’ the rules and principles don’t apply to them.

Sure…whatever.

P2P is the Future

In fact, I’m here to say we need to throw out this whole B2B/B2C phraseology from our modern day vernacular. Let’s change it instead to P2P. That’s right, people to people, because all of us, no matter how ‘special’ we think our industry or niche is, are a P2P company.

And when it comes to proper content marketing, the rules do not deviate when it comes to people. The customer has questions. The content marketer (if they know what the heck they’re doing), has answers. It’s a simple process, so let’s stop making it out to be some deep science, because it’s not.

Let me give you a personal example from my swimming pool company. In the fiberglass pool industry, there are fiberglass shell manufacturers, and then there are builders (the guys that install the pool in your back yard). The manufacturers would be considered B2B. The builders would be considered B2C. But here is the thing– There’s not a wit of difference in the way a pool manufacturer or pool builder should be producing content.

The same questions a pool builder might have about  a fiberglass shell are the same questions an end-user would have about said shell. Whether it’s the manufacturing process, the features, etc– it’s all info of potential worth to a business/consumer.

Over the last 3 years, my company’s blog has had a major, major impact on fiberglass pool brands throughout the country because of our content. It has also had a serious impact on the fiberglass pool industry in general from an end-user educational standpoint. (In other words, it rocked both B2B and B2C boats) But if I had to go back, as a pool manufacturer instead of a builder, I’d go about it the exact same way, simply by asking myself the singular question that everyone company, no matter their silly self-imposed acronym, should consider:

What are the questions customers ask about my product?

The minute a company shifts their every focus to just that, and takes the time to answer every single question…then said company’s brand will explode and become one of the key voices to their industry– B2B, B2C, OPP, XYZ,  whatever.

Great content has eliminated the divide between B2B and B2C.

Good information is good information.

People are people.

So quit worrying about the letters in your business’ ‘classification’ and start writing about stuff people actually care about. Become a ‘teacher of men’. Give liberally. By so doing,  I can assure you that P2P will be the only self-imposed acronym you’ll ever call yourself again.

***The following video is a little snippet from an interview I gave at Content Marketing World last week. It’s only about 2 minutes, but it hits on the principle of P2P (or what customers really want). The rest of my entire CMW session will be available as soon as the great folks of CMI are able to release the footage.

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Your Turn:
OK, although this article was short, I expect most will have an opinion on this simple question: Do  you feel there is a difference in marketing a B2B vs a B2C company? If so, what is it? If not, then why the heck do we keep using the dang acronyms? As always, I’d love to hear your opinions, and if you disagree, well then speak up!! :-)

PS***: I’m speaking to a company in Michigan today about inbound marketing and then flying out to speak at the Hubspot User Group (in a session with Kyle James) on Friday. I’ve got a big announcement I’m hoping to make out there as well and so for all my fellow inbound marketers, please let me know if you’re going to be there, as I’d love to catch up and chat!!!

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