Content still reigns supreme when it comes to translating leads into customers - regardless of whether you are B2C or B2B.
When it comes to content creation and actual demand generation, many B2B brands still struggle to produce predictable and positive results for the bottom line. And, while these consumers are still consumers by definition, their behavior and engagement with brands are bit more nuanced than that of other consumer goods industries.
So, how do we navigate the world content marketing in a B2B industry?
With longer-tail cycles than other brands, B2B marketers are able to make the research and discovery phases of the buyer journey a focal point for creating and curating content with a high value-add. Therefore, your team should plan for fewer but more in-depth campaigns throughout the year, centralizing around a customer solution for each one.
And, if you feel your content production is already lean and mean, consider areas you can pare down even more, optimizing for conversions to your sales team.
Gleanster Research recently surveyed over 3,000 companies with 250+ employees, to understand exactly how they manage content. The sobering results? B2B organizations spend an estimated $120,000 a year in inefficient content and that, overall, “poorly managed and cumbersome content” amounts to $958M each year in the US.
Conversely, the survey gathered that brands that achieved the highest revenue growth had higher volumes of “quality content” that had been thoughtfully optimized by efficiency experts, producing 300% less content and having a 240% times slower marketing cycle than competitors.
The highest grossing companies had standardized workflow, centralized collaboration, optimized content through analytics and leveraged technology to improve marketing operations.
All buyers are seeking experiences where they can sort through large amounts of data quickly in order to make more accurate decisions - an insight frequently lost in the long pages of technical whitepapers. In fact, 91% of B2B buyers prefer visual and interactive content rather than traditional formats.
An interesting example of this is Lenovo, who began using interactive quizzes, videos and IT survival guides based on qualitative insights and real user experiences. The added component of interaction and quizzes actually allowed them to segment their users more than one-sided content, helping qualified leads narrow down and find solutions (and then specific products) they need within the vast range of options offered. And, since rolling out this interactive content campaign, Lenovo has seen 50% less unsubscribes, nearly doubling their customer engagement across all touchpoints.
“Dynamic, interactive content allows us to measure engagement, which makes the content production process much easier. We gain key customer insights from tools like assessments and quizzes," said Michael Ballard, Digital Marketing Center Manager of Lenovo, in an interview for the Demand Gen Report.
People making large contract decisions rely on mid and high-level employees who interact with hundreds of similar offers - stand out by being the one that not only answers their questions but makes the process easy and enjoyable for them.
While the demand generation process for B2B is a little different than B2C (and may take a little longer), decision makers are still people and people spend over 53% of their day on their phones. Put simply, our phones are our lives - a point driven home by a recent CMO Club Summit discussion on the topic. First, think about content that will be easy to digest and engage with on mobile. Whitepapers and downloads are not ideal to read on a phone screen, but if you must use them, think about cross-platform conversions, and how you can draw the user from their phone for email capture to their desktop (or even better, a phone call) in order to continue the conversation.
Then, don't forget to integrate your sales team into the mobile experience. People love to talk to real humans. Automate the process and deliver engaging content that suits the platform, providing a way for your representatives to connect with prospects in real-time to drive ROI. Leveraging chat or today’s bot messaging options may give your business representatives more opportunity to build a strong relationship beyond the initial discovery stage.
There is always one common denominator at the heart of all business opportunities: people. It is a marketer’s role and challenge to combine the deeply analytical side of the B2B buyer with their innate need to be informed, entertained and have their business problems solved.
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