How B2C and B2B Content Marketing Priorities and Tactics Compare

December 8, 2017

Some 86% of B2C and B2C/B2B for-profit companies in North America engage in content marketing, according to the latest study [pdf] from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs. While B2C content marketers dedicate a smaller portion of their budgets to content marketing (22%) than their B2B counterparts (26%), they consider themselves committed and relatively successful in their approaches.

Commitment and Maturity Levels

Six in 10 respondents to the B2C study described their organizations as being “extremely” or “very” committed to content marketing. In fact, B2C marketers are slightly more likely than their B2B counterparts (56%) to describe their organization that way, according to our comparison of the B2C and B2B study editions’ results.

Not only do they demonstrate strong commitment to content marketing, but B2C content marketers also feel confident in their maturity and success.

Consider that:

  • Some 36% describe their maturity levels as “sophisticated” or “mature” – edging B2B content marketers (34%);
  • More than one-quarter (28%) rate their approach as “extremely” or “very” successful – compared to 24% of B2B content marketers; and
  • Roughly two-thirds (66%) feel that they’re more successful than they were last year, versus 63% of B2B content marketers.

One small distinction emerges when examining their success, though. Whereas B2C content marketers with more success than last year attribute that most often to strategy developments and adjustments, B2B content marketers who have become more successful point most commonly to improvements in their content creation as the reason.

Other results indicate that B2C content marketers are as likely as their B2B counterparts to have a documented content marketing strategy (38% and 37%, respectively) and more likely to measure content marketing ROI (43% and 35%, respectively).

Different Audiences, Similar Tactics?

These results show that for the most part, B2B and B2C marketers are seeing similar results from their content marketing efforts.

Interestingly enough, while they may be targeting different audiences, B2C and B2B marketers also in large part rely on similar tools and tactics, according to the CMI and MarketingProfs surveys.

For example, each set of marketers is most likely to use analytics tools and email marketing technology to manage its content marketing efforts. When it comes to distributing content, social and email are the leading formats for both groups, with email considered the most effective by each.

There are some differences, though. While virtually all B2C and B2B content marketers use social media posts (excluding video) for content marketing purposes, their most widely-used formats diverge after that.

For B2C marketers there’s a clear preference for visual content: their three most-used content formats after social posts are videos, illustrations/photos, and infographics, each by a majority of respondents.

By contrast, B2B marketers lean more on text-heavy formats, with case studies and ebooks/white papers joining videos among their top 4 formats. In fact, B2B content marketers are twice as likely as B2C content marketers to use ebooks and white papers (71% and 35%, respectively).

On average, B2C marketers (5) are using one fewer tactic than their B2B counterparts (6).

Finally – and rather unsurprisingly – each group has its own favored social platform. While LinkedIn reigns for B2B marketers, Facebook is the top choice for B2C marketers in terms of use and perceived effectiveness.

Other Highlights

  • Some 62% of B2C content marketers outsource at least one content marketing activity, most commonly content creation.
  • About half (51%) of B2C content marketers agree that over the last year it has become more difficult to capture their audience’s attention.
  • More than one-third (36%) rate the project management flow during their content creation process as “excellent” (6%) or “very good” (30%), though for the largest share (38%) it’s simply “good.”
  • The vast majority agree that they can demonstrate how content marketing has increased audience engagement (79%) and their number of leads (65%).
  • More than one-third (37%) will increase their spending on B2C content marketing in the next 12 months.

The B2C version of the report is available here [pdf], and the earlier B2B version here [pdf].

About the Data: The B2C data is based on a survey of 195 for-profit B2C and B2C/B2B marketers in North America, 86% of whom engage in content marketing.


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