B2C and B2B Content Marketing Trends Compared

CMIMarketingProfs-B2B-B2C-Content-Marketing-Trends-Compared-Oct2013MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) have followed up their study of B2B content marketing trends with research into the emerging trends in the B2C content marketing space [pdf]. While B2B marketers are beginning to adopt B2C best practices when it comes to e-commerce, B2B marketers have traditionally invested more of their budgets into content marketing than their B2C counterparts, making it interesting to see how both sides measure up in this rapidly-growing area. There are many more similarities than one might expect.

For the time being, B2B marketers remain slightly more likely than B2C marketers to be using content marketing (93% and 90%, respectively), per the studies, with the former also more likely to rate their efforts as being effective (42% and 34%, respectively). Adoption and effectiveness appear to be on the increase for both groups.

Also on the increase: budgets and content creation. This year, 72% of B2C marketers said they’re creating more content than they did one year ago, about on par with the 73% of B2B marketers increasing their level of output. Meanwhile, 60% of B2C content marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months, as do 58% of B2B content marketers. B2B marketers still allocate a higher share of their budgets to content marketing than their B2C counterparts, though (30% and 24%, respectively).

Interestingly, not only do B2B and B2C marketers use a similar number of tactics (13 and 12, respectively), but they also share the same top tactics. For B2C content marketers, the most widely used tactics are social media other than blogs (88%), articles on their websites (78%), e-newsletters (76%) and blogs (72%), with the same order of adoption apparent among B2B marketers.

Also of interest: among users of various tactics, B2C content marketers rate in-person events as their most effective, with 74% believing them to be effective, up from 62% last year. Somewhat surprisingly, B2C marketers using in-person events are more likely to have confidence in them than B2B marketers, a leading 70% of whom rated them as effective.

There’s less consensus between both groups when looking beyond in-person events. Among users of each tactic, B2C content marketers rate e-newsletters (73%) as their next-most effective – while B2B respondents rated newsletters further down their list. Instead, B2B marketers rated case studies their second-most effective tactic, while B2C marketers put case studies at the bottom of their list.

Notably, while best-in-class B2B marketers rated blogs as their most effective tactic, ahead of in-person events, the most effective B2C marketers chose e-newsletters over events.

While it is somewhat surprising to see the convergence between B2B and B2C content marketers in a lot of the above responses, it’s just as unsurprising to see their attitudes to social media platforms. Facebook is – predictably – the most commonly used social platform to distribute content among B2C content marketers (by 89%), and is also rated the most effective by its users (62%). For B2B marketers, LinkedIn is both most-used and most-highly rated.

Still, B2C content marketers appear to be turning to LinkedIn in much greater numbers: 71% this year reported using the network, a marked increase from 51% last year.

Other Findings:

  • Brand awareness is the top content marketing goal for both B2C (79%) and B2B (82%) marketers. Customer acquisition (71%) and retention/loyalty (65%) are the next-most common goals for B2C respondents, while lead generation is next among B2B respondents.
  • Web traffic is the top content marketing metric for both B2C (66%) and B2B (63%) marketers. Social media sharing is relatively more important to B2C respondents, who are far less interested in measuring sales quality and quantity.
  • Lack of time is the top challenge faced by both B2C (57%) and B2B (69%) content marketers. B2C respondents are relatively more concerned with producing the kind of content that engages, while B2B marketers are more concerned with producing enough content.
  • 39% of B2C marketers have a documented content strategy, compared to 44% of B2B marketers.

About the Data: The fourth annual Content Marketing Survey was mailed electronically to a sample of marketers using lists from Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, Brightcove, Blackbaud, King Content, The Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising (ADMA), the Direct Marketing Association UK (DMA), Industry Week, and New Equipment Digest. A total of 4,397 recipients from around the globe—representing a full range of industries, functional areas, and company sizes—responded throughout July and August 2013.

B2C Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America reports on the findings from 307 (out of the total 4,397) respondents who identified themselves as B2C marketers in North America. The study was sponsored by Imagination.