Peter O’Neill here. Today, I was just polishing off my presentation deck for my upcoming workshop, “Achieve Revenue Acceleration Through Better Content Distribution,” at DMA 2013 this weekend and was debating whether I needed a slide that set the right expectations about B2B marketing versus B2C. This is a common discussion point with clients in my experience. Many of the documented marketing stories and best practices seem unsuitable for B2B marketers, they claim. B2C marketers respond that even business buyers are people and so the lessons they have learned apply equally to B2B. We even discuss this often within Forrester. Now, as is always the case with these interminable arguments, both parties are partly right — and they are partly wrong.

Scott Santucci and I are currently working on a Forrester report that explores this dilemma in much more detail — and suffice to say, I have selected the table below, from that report, to lead my discussion with my audience on Saturday in Chicago. As this is “research in progress,” I have annotated the graph accordingly. In fact, you now have the opportunity to give us some some feedback about this — do we use the right words? Is there something we have missed? In any case, please watch this space for the final version.

The most important difference between marketing/selling to an individual and to an entity is the natural science line: sociology versus psychology. B2B marketing is about understanding how a buyer center works as a whole. Good buyer journey research involves finding out which member has which influence at which phase — and what makes that member decide to continue on that journey. These are what we call decision triggers, and identifying them is the secret sauce for successful content marketing. What makes the buyer decide to plan a project, obtain the budget for a project, assemble a vendor shortlist, select a vendor, and stay with a vendor? If you know the answers to those questions, you will create compelling marketing content across the complete buyer journey.

Agree? Need more details? Drop me a line. As always, I’d love to hear from you on this and other topics. Same if you want to see the slides I use in Chicago.

Always keeping you informed! Peter