Vol. 13, Summer 2016 North America B-Side Study

Content Marketing:
Sharks or Sheep?

Last year, our B-Side Study identified two key SBO mindsets — the Artisan and the Crusader — that greatly influence decision-making for this passionate target. And we got to know them pretty well, too. But one thing we didn’t ask them, “How do you take your content?” So, with the Summer 2016 B-Side Study, we decided to find out. We discovered that not only do these two run their businesses differently, they search, consume, and engage content differently as well. See the results below, and find out how your Small Business targets are feeding on content.

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Not a Silver Bullet.
But it is a Golden Opportunity.

Top 5 Valued and Influential Channels

Image: Search 34.7% Search
Image: Trade Shows and Events 27.3% Trade Shows
& Events
Image: Content Marketing 26.5% Content
Image: Business Magazines 26% Business
Image: Television 22% Television

Content for the sake of Content?

Image: B2B Marketers 88% B2B marketers
are using
content marketing
Image: Plan to increase their efforts 77% plan to increase
their efforts
Image: plan to better understand their audience 41% plan to better
their audience

2016 Content Marketing Trends — North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

Content Isn’t King.
Relevant Content is!

According to SBOs, ensuring the material is relevant is the #1 improvement brands can make.

Image: Diagram

We'll trade you

You tell us a little about yourself, and we'll share this exclusive B2SB Marketing® content with you. And we promise. We won't be sharing your info with any rich foreign princesses. We'll keep it between us. Deal?


Feeding the SBO Mind(set)

B-Side research has identified two overarching mindsets thatimpact and influence SBO decision-making.
Image: Artisan

The Artisan

Image: Crusader

The Crusader

Image: Brains

Slow to change, but even slower to concede, the Artisan’s focus is on their product / service at all times. The Artisan believes they are their best advantage.

Always looking for ways to grow and improve, the Crusader never stands still. Sees opportunity in everything — including failure.

They Need
A great idea that will change MY world
A big idea that will change THE world
Problem Solver
For every problem, there is a solution
For every solution, there is an opportunity
The Enemy
Risk aversion, with a tendency not to see the forest for the trees
Embracing failure too much, with a tendency to not see the tree for the forest
Core Values
Expertise / knowledge, stability, service
Effort, vision, opportunity / innovation
Key Challenges
Staying current / deepening knowledge, protecting my niche
Focus, choosing a course

How They’re Alike

They are both optimistic about their businesses
Both are expecting slight growth in the next 12 months
Both don’t believe brands are marketing to them effectively

How They’re Different

Top Challenges
Managing growth Work / Life balance
Chasing technology Keeping customers happy
Future Spending
Operational areas:
Daily operations, office supplies, telephone, and internet
Growth areas: 
Employee investments, technology, and marketing
Frustrations when dealing with marketers
Slow to respond, not understanding my business
Quality of product or service, Customer service
The Sheep
The Shark?
Image: Sheep
Image: Shark
Artisans and Crusaders are very different when it comes to how they find, engage, and consume content.
Image: Grass

The Artisan

  • Survey and casually graze on content
  • 23% more likely to spend time each day staying current
Image: Fish

The Crusader

  • Seek out and target specific content topics
  • 37% say they only search for content when they need it
Small bites
Big Chunks
Image: Small Bites

The Artisan

Prefer to nibble on a variety of content without heavy detail
Image: Big Chunks

The Crusader

Prefer content types that provide more in-depth detail

A Matter of Trust

Crusaders are 2x more likely to trust branded content.

Image: Artisan

The Artisan

  • 84% don’t trust branded content
  • Only 7% said paid posts are valuable to them
Image: Crusader

The Crusader

  • 32% trust branded content
  • Only 35% said paid posts are not valuable to them

Similar Subjects.
Different Reasons

The two mindsets share a few common content interests, but their reasoning is very different.

Image: Artisan

The Artisan

Want More Stability

  • 27% Keeping Customers Happy
  • 27% Reaching More Customers
  • 27% Work/Life Balance
  • 23% Managing Cash Flow
Image: Crusader

The Crusader

Really Want More Customers

  • 45% Reaching More Customers
  • 41% Keeping Customers Happy
  • 23% Capitalizing On Opportunities
  • 23% Managing Cash Flow

Content Strategies

Image: Artisan

The Artisan

Just because they’re less engaged, doesn’t mean content isn’t effective. Keep it in your mix.
  • These grazers wander, so focus on being in more places
  • No need to be too aggressive, let them bump into your content
  • Help them secure their business and lifestyle for the future
  • Avoid branded and paid content, share others’ content instead
  • 53% say they want to hear from brands on current events
Image: Crusader

The Crusader

They’re out there actively looking for it. Be sure they get it from you instead of someone else.
  • They’re hunting for specific topics, so focus on having more pieces
  • Go to them with your content, you could spark an action
  • Customers, customers, and more customers, help them scale and grow
  • Take advantage of branded & paid content opportunities
  • Be sure your content is relevant, the right piece at the right time

Further Thinking

Now you know what we do. So now we want to know:

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