A practical guide to b2b content marketing

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Discover a variety of B2B marketing strategies you can use to reach and resonate with your business audience


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Effective marketing is difficult to get right. Between creative demands, budget limits, and channel decisions, marketers have a lot to juggle when developing their marketing strategy.

The biggest determinant of effective marketing, however, is your audience.

If you’re not properly targeting your buyer persona, your promotions and advertisements will likely fall on deaf ears. You might as well not be marketing at all.

Where target audiences vary the most, though, is between individual consumers and businesses. Some companies serve individual shoppers, while others cater to companies and organizations.

Marketing to businesses is very different than marketing to individual consumers. That’s why an entirely different marketing method — B2B marketing — exists, and that’s why we built this guide. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of B2B marketing, the most effective B2B marketing strategies, and how you can tap into and convert your business audience.

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What is B2B marketing?


B2B (business-to-business) marketing refers to any marketing strategy or content that is geared towards a business or organization. Any company that sells products or services to other businesses or organizations (vs. consumers) typically uses B2B marketing strategies.


ruby-forum.org is an example of a company that engages in B2B marketing. ruby-forum.org’s customers are other businesses, not individual consumers. Therefore, all of our marketing efforts can be classified as B2B.

B2B vs B2C Marketing

B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing are very different. B2B and B2C marketing differ in their respective strategies and applications, as well as in their audiences and how they communicate to them.

B2B marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individuals who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, their organization (rather than for themselves), thus making the organization the customer. Here are a few examples of B2B companies:

B2C marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges of individual consumers who are making purchases on behalf of, or for, themselves, thus making the individual the customer. Here are a few examples of B2C companies:

Take a look at this chart comparing B2B and B2C customers.

for b2b marketingfor b2c marketing
GoalCustomers are focused on ROI, efficiency, and expertise.Customers are seeking deals and entertainment (which means marketing needs to be more fun).
Purchase MotivationCustomers are driven by logic and financial incentive.Customers are driven by emotion.
DriversCustomers want to be educated (which is where B2B content marketing comes in).Customers appreciate education but don’t always need it to make a purchase decision.
Purchase ProcessCustomers like (if not prefer) to work with account managers and salespeople.

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Customers like to make purchases directly.
People Involved in PurchaseCustomers often have to confer with decision makers and other members of their chain of command before making a purchase decision.Customers rarely need to confer with others before making a purchase decision.
Purchase PurposeCustomers make purchases for long-term solutions, resulting in a longer sales cycle, longer contracts, and longer relationships with companies.Customers aren’t necessarily looking for long-term solutions or long-term relationships.

As much as they differ, though, B2B and B2C also intersect in many ways. While Poppin sells office supplies to remote or self-employed individuals, they also design corporate office spaces and branded supplies. On the flip side, Printful not only offers order fulfillment and warehousing to businesses; they also fill e-commerce printing orders for individuals.

As distinct as the B2B and B2C marketing audiences can be, B2B marketers can always learn from B2C campaigns, too.

B2B Marketing Strategies

As I said above, marketing depends on its audience. While B2B and B2C marketing vary, not every piece of B2B marketing material is alike, either.

In this section, we’ll talk about various B2B marketing strategies you can implement to reach your specific business audience. Before we dive in, though, make sure you understand the B2B buyer’s journey. Take note of how each of these stages may affect your marketing strategies and how you implement them.

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B2B Email Marketing

Email marketing is a tried and true method of reaching both individual consumers and business customers. Did you know that 93% of B2B marketers use email? Are you one of them? You should be. Emails lead to engagement which turns subscribers into leads … and then customers.

Download our guide to optimizing email marketing for conversions and learn how to grow your email list, ensure deliverability, and increase engagement.

Unlike B2C customers who respond best to emotions and entertainment, B2B customers look for logic and positive ROI. Essentially, they’re asking themselves, How can your business help my business grow? Because of this, your email marketing must consistently resonate with your business customers and focus on things that matter to them — like time, money, and resources.

Email marketing is also a powerful vehicle for sharing your brand’s content. 83% of B2B companies use email newsletters as part of their content marketing program, and 40% of B2B marketers say these newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success.

With the constant barrage of emails flooding our inboxes today, it’s more important than ever to create and send out effective marketing emails.

B2B Email Marketing Best PracticesWrite enticing subject lines. Think about your email subject lines as a Netflix trailer — if you can’t hook your audience with a two-minute clip (or, in this case, a few dozen characters), don’t expect them to open and watch (or read) the whole thing. We recommend spending almost as much time on your email subject lines as you do on the emails themselves.