B2B and B2C marketing are two sides of the same coin. While their subjects of focus may be different, both forms have ultimately similar aims, and both can benefit immensely from the undeniable power of video marketing. Depending on what products and services your brand/company offers, you undoubtedly deal with either one or the other—or both. That’s why understanding their various similarities and differences, and then optimizing your video content to better fit each one, can often be the crucial step between marketing success and expensive failure.
But before we go any further, let’s quickly break down the basics.
B2B vs. B2C Marketing
B2B (business-to-business) describes financial exchanges between two different businesses. By contrast, B2C (business-to-consumer) refers to transactions where products or services are sold directly to an outside customer. Note that many companies fall into both categories; consider Microsoft, which sells tech gadgets and software to big enterprise clients but also to individual customers.
If you work exclusively in B2B, you might feel a little envious of the way that B2C marketers seem to have nothing but propulsive freedom—always creating wacky ads for broad, diverse audiences around the world. On the other end of the equation, B2C marketers might get a little jealous of the limited scope and the high degree of specificity that B2B marketers are able to utilize for maximum impact. But by creating video content that has been tailored to the needs of each format, you will be able to take advantage of all the benefits of both.
1. Emotional Connection
From a stereotypical point of view, you might imagine that videos tailored to B2B and B2C situations ought to be polar opposites. While the former is cold, clinical, and steeped in data, the latter is heartfelt and sleek.
But as it turns out, this is a massive industry misconception. Studies show that B2B customers actually feel more emotionally connected to their vendor or service provider than the average B2C customer does. In fact, B2B customers are 8x more likely to pay a premium for comparable products or services when they find some personal value in it – for instance, when your video inspires a sense of pride.
Remember that, just like B2C customers, B2B customers are still people. They experience the same range of complex emotions as anybody else, and appealing to those emotions is one of the most effective ways to firmly establish your brand in their minds. Take a look at this ad campaign for Slack, the cloud-based collaboration platform, and how it uses many hallmarks that might be traditionally associated with B2C marketing (bright colors, humorous tone) to market to businesses.
And yes, ultimately you still need your numbers to be strong. Instead of appealing to a layman customer who might have only a limited understanding of the products they purchase, it’s more likely that B2B marketers will be trying to persuade seasoned experts with a solid grasp of key stats and data. But even for a B2C video, the importance of demonstrating value should not be underrated. This is a very, very important similarity between the two models to keep in mind: All customers, whether they are individuals or businesses, value their money and want to know that you will provide a product or service worthy of their expense.
2. Video Structure
Another aspect to consider for both B2B and B2C video content marketing is video structure. While your video length may differ between the two categories, it’s important that for both, you deliver an especially engaging opening shot. Millennials today have a 12-second attention span, while their successors, Gen Z, are down to a measly eight seconds. That’s why your most important information should be there at the top, within those first few seconds. Make sure that your video content gets right to the point in case your audience—whether B2B or B2C—doesn’t stick around to hear the rest.
There are a number of points where B2B and B2C video content marketing diverge in subtle (or not so subtle) ways. One major difference between them is quality—and no, before you ask, neither one should ever be bad. But when it comes to creating B2B content, in particular, you should never compromise on basics like visuals, sound, or talent.
That’s because when you market to B2B shoppers, you are not targeting a single individual, but an entire network of higher-ups and managers who need to sign off on purchasing decisions. This isn’t their personal money they are spending, which means that the consequences of somebody making a bad financial decision can be severe. Every single person in that network needs to justify their choice to the individual above them, and your content absolutely cannot give anyone even the hint of a reason to say “no.”
2. Hosting Platform
Another big difference? The platform that you choose to host your video content on. There are a lot of great options available to your brand, but they serve very different needs depending on what sort of client you are attempting to connect with. For consumer-facing content, Vimeo, Instagram, and YouTube are probably your most effective choices. All three platforms feature robust sharing options, already optimized for social media, that allow you to reach as wide and diverse an audience as possible. For B2B on the other hand, LinkedIn, Slideshare, and Vidyard are platforms that come preloaded with a broad base of business professionals that your brand might tap into.
3. Video Length
As we briefly mentioned above, video length may also differ for B2B vs. B2C marketing strategies. B2C videos are often shorter in length. Remember the short attention spans we touched on earlier? Well, that especially comes into play when selling straight to consumers. They have tons of brands competing for their attention all the time, not to mention other forms of non-branded content. For these situations, keep your video on the shorter side (aim for the 15-30 second mark in most cases) and make sure to pack the most important info at the top.
For B2B customers, you can get away with a slightly longer video. Why? Well, the purchase decision is often more complicated. You have more decision-makers involved, higher price points, and more potential consequences if you make the wrong choice. That being said, many great B2B videos are in the 60-120 second range.
While you can definitely still find success with a shorter video, the extra time allows you to share more detail with your viewers. You can touch on more product specs, share use cases and customer testimonials, and generally provide a more convincing argument for why your viewers should vouch for your brand.
4. Video Content
A final essential difference between the two categories that you need to keep in mind is content. Earlier, we spoke about how the creative tools that you use in each form of your video marketing (humor, emotions, etc.) are much more similar than you might think. However, their goals can range wildly. Every marketer needs to know their audience, and your job is to figure out what that audience needs from each video.
For B2B, that frequently means emphasizing educational content. To a business, your brand is an investment to be made, with risks and benefits that they need to weigh. Specific details about your product or services can help sway them one way or the other. But for B2C, communicating your unique style and set of values takes precedence. Buying from you is a personal choice for most customers, which is why they want to make sure that they are defining themselves with a brand that is “cool” or “elite” or whatever traits they hold in high esteem.
Whether you are creating video content for B2B video marketing, B2C video marketing, or a combination of both, your ultimate goal remains the same: building trust. Every potential lead represents the start of a brand new relationship, and if your consumer does not have absolute faith in your ability to take care of their needs, that relationship will spiral. While the needs of B2B and B2C video content marketing may differ, that core of trust cannot be shaken—so get out there, strike a balance, and watch your content thrive in two distinct spheres.