Just about every B2B marketer has content. But not every B2B marketer is necessarily doing content marketing. “Blanketing people with junk isn’t content marketing,” says Chris Drury, president/chief creative officer, Drury Design Dynamics. “People are beginning to understand that they need a strategy.”
“It comes down to creating relevant content that gets in front of the right people at the right time,” says Doug Pace, vice president and COO of Bayshore Solutions.“You have to understand your consumer and what interests them—we want to capture those consumers higher in the buying funnel. Most of them don’t even know that they are looking for your product, so you need to send them down the path you want them on.”
“On the B2B side, there are so many people who do hours of research before they make a call, so you want to be high in the consideration set,” says Jenni Walsh, director of digital marketing, Bayshore Solutions.“You need to have branding and content that will speak to their needs, with a strong call to action.”
In many organizations, there are two tracks of thinking about how to approach the customer, notes Marcia Chithelen vice president, marketing strategy, BizMark. Corporate marketing is thinking big picture, with a global view of generating content to move into new spaces. At the product manager level, the content generation approach is more narrow and focused.
“Having content is important, but really understanding where your customers are is a big thing,” says Ed Gillespie, executive director, BizMark.“You need to use it to tie your product to their larger corporate initiatives and position yourself to be part of the solution.”
WHAT YOU NEED
Marketers must come up with a content calendar, to highlight what needs to get promoted at what point in the year, says Walsh. Companies need to have a clear focus on what content needs to be produced, who is responsible for producing it, how often it should be updated and what graphics are needed to make it pop. “Most people understand the need for having copy and written content, but the powerful messaging that you can get across in a video or photo is important and should be included in any content strategy,” she says.
All of these elements can be incorporated into an integrated strategy involving PR, LinkedIn, case studies, webinars, whitepapers and more, says Pace. “If you can take off the gloves and say you’ll give away the secret sauce, you’ll be seen as an expert and that will drive awareness.”
The challenge is to optimize the experience for your customer, and how to become a more agile content marketer, notes Abaza. Marketers are increasingly looking to marketing automation solutions to figure out ways to generate leads from premium con- tent like whitepapers and webinars without having to ask IT to create a new landing page every time they want to test something.
Of course, knowing who you are targeting is essential. Bayshore spends time with clients creating buyer personas centered around individual customers, what they are after and what drive them emotionally, says Pace.