Why you shouldn't underestimate B2B content marketing
Gone are the days that door-to-door selling simply isn't going to cut it with B2B marketing.
If you look back at the B2B sales strategies that worked well a decade ago, they may not function quite well today and certainly not in the future.
Let’s take a moment to anaylse why.
The human race has come a long way since the stone age. Along with this journey, there’s been a multitude of new discoveries, inventions and developments that have led to the world as we know it. Specially the progress we have made in the arena of information technology has changed they way how we live today.
One thing has remained and will be remaining a constant irrespective of the time; the constant change in human lifestyles. With the evolving technology, our lifestyles are constantly changing and getting more and more sophisticated each day. Everything, from the way we eat, dress, shop or even communicate with others, has changed over the years and continue to change along with new technological advancements that we keep inventing.
As marketers, it’s important to understand the customers and their needs first and foremost. When customer behaviours are always changing, marketers must continue to reinvent their strategies, in order to reach customers, convey their messages and be understood.
When studying and analysing B2B and B2C markets, the buyer personas are entirely different. While B2C buyers make their purchasing decisions mainly based on emotional appeals and in most times by one individual, those who buy for an organisation or a business (B2B buyers) base their decisions more on rational reasons and influenced by a group of individuals. It is often argued that creating and distributing attractive content is more suited for B2C businesses and mistakenly neglected the benefits that content marketing can bring to a B2B organisation.
Content Marketing is defined as “A carefully planned marketing approach focused on generating and disseminating valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and sustain specific target audiences - eventually to driving them to profitable activities”.
All buyers seek out data and information before they decide to purchase a product or subscribe to a service. B2B decision makers are no different, and their decisions are purely made based on information and rational reasoning.They always conduct research to find information and weigh pros and cons before making a purchasing decision. Almost every man and woman use the internet to find information nowadays, and corporations certainly have the capabilities and resources to do so.
When living in an era where access to information is merely a few seconds away at your fingertips thanks to the internet and smart devices, it raises a question whether we can continue to ignore the opportunities that content marketing presents, even for a B2B business.
However, it’s important to understand that excellent content generation alone won’t deliver tangible results. To be successful, Content Marketing should be combined with other Digital Marketing tools, namely: Social Media Management, Email Marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). These are the tools that help publish and distribute content among target audiences. If you have published splendid content online, those who research on the same topics online are bound to come across your work.
Content Marketing is an art of producing powerful content to captivate customers and future prospects without an intention of selling. It is a non-interruptive way of marketing. Instead of pushing a particular product or a service to B2B buyers, delivering valuable information about them, makes them aware about the product or service. The core idea behind offering the consistent and useful information is to influence the decision makers positively to eventually driving them to purchase B2B products/services. It is far more suitable for B2B marketers as it helps build authority and online reputation among specific audiences scattered in various geographical areas.
It is cheaper and far more effective than traditional marketing methods like advertising on mass media such as TV or radio. According to research, around 80% of the business buyers get influenced through informative articles versus advertisements and 60% say that company’s content improve their decision making. However, it takes time, effort and expert skills to develop a successful Content Marketing Strategy incorporating other Digital Marketing tools. A great care and attention is when formulating a Content Marketing strategy for a B2B organisation.
Content Marketing also helps marketers to establish themselves as thought leaders/subject experts. More than B2C it’s essential for a B2B business to be perceived as an industry expert to build credibility among its target audiences. It helps B2B organisations to move away from traditional brick and mortar marketing to informational marketing. Quality website content, articles, webinars and videos providing industry knowledge and value will impress anyone who comes across them specially the target customers. Having such content published on online channels such as company blogs/websites, Social Media business profiles and even on industry related third party sites adds more credentials to a business. B2B buyers simply don’t ignore these because they are relevant and valuable to them.
Content Marketing bridges the gap between a company and its customers. Starting from blogs to SEO to PR to sharing valuable information through social networking sites, Content Marketing helps to engage and interact with B2B buyers directly. Great content grabs attention, generate interest and awakens the curiosity. They spark impulses for action among readers/viewers/listeners. B2B marketers must put extra efforts to understand the requirements of B2B buyers and decision-making units; find out what interests resonate with them and what their biggest fears or concerns are and be more sensitive and creative when developing content.
In a nutshell, enticing and value providing pieces of content present online help people to find a business, compel them to ask questions, make inquiries and simply get in touch with the company creating leads and opportunities that will support the direct selling approaches of B2B marketers.
Created: November 09th 2016