Many traditional B2B marketers struggle to make the connection between content and customer acquisition. This uncertainty is natural, as we are acustomed to the idea that B2B buyers are only interested in hard numbers and have little time for "frills".
But marketing is changing, and content was the catalyst for the Inbound revolution. If you're familiar with the Inbound methodology, you know it holds equal validity in both the B2B and B2C realms. In fact, among B2B respondents surveyed by HubSpot, 65% implemented inbound practices in 2013.
If you're planning on achieving consistent growth and continuously establishing valuable sales relationships, a shift to a content-focused strategy will be critical to your organization's success.
I was doing a little bit of research on the concept of content and Inbound marketing in the Business to Business environment lately, and found a great infographic from Uberflip.
If you're a business owner or traditional marketer who's wondering if Inbound and content have a place in B2B, this is an absolute must read:
Anything stand out to you? Here are a few of my biggest surprises:
- 91% of B2B marketers use content as a marketing tactic. Impressive! Although I'm incredibly happy to see this, it's worth considering how those organizations are defining content.
For example, having a blog is great, but having a robust, engaging and informative blog is even better. Sporadically and casually creating content isn't enough - there needs to be a commitment to quality.
- I love that engaging prospects and customers comes in almost 30% higher than driving sales in terms of objectives.
It's great to see a rooted understanding of the true purpose of content, which is to educate and delight far before the sale is on the table. That being said, make sure your business is striking the appropriate balance.
The purpose of content is to contribute to the marketing strategy, and the purpose of marketing is to contribute to the bottom line. Make the most of your content by always including CTAs and lead generation components to gather information and spark your reader's process of converting through each Inbound funnel.
- The Creators VS. Curators number is telling, and signals an awesome commitment to creating unique content rather than re purposing someone else's.
However, let's not forget that curation can be an incredibly effective way to position your company as an authority and resource within a given industry. Especially when you're running low on time and don't have the resources to create your own content. In fact, my sharing this infographic is an example of curation!
Always have a #1 commitment to creating and sharing information which provides value and utility to your audience - but don't be afraid to share valuable resources you find elsewhere, especially on social media. As an added perk, those authors will likely take note of your thumbs up and be more likely to share your content down the road.
- The Forrester Research quote paints a really beautiful picture of the B2B buying process. I like it so much, I'd like to recall it one more time:
"(B2B) buyers are online, in social channels, on YouTube, going to events, and evaluating options on mobile devices. Understanding the customer journey across these touchpoints is essential to the success of any marketing program."
Far too often, we see B2B buyers as machines who focus on numbers and aren't interested in anything beyond their bottom line. Personally, I have a handful of close friends who work as sales reps for industrial products and enjoy telling me all the time that my "kind of marketing" doesn't work with their buyers because they aren't interested in social and content as decision making factors.
This thinking is flawed, because it abandons the fundamental truth that all of us, even B2B buyers, are people. People like to be educated, people like to be entertained, and people like to feel valued. The practice of providing great content is able to fill all of those requirements, and it satisfies both personal and professional needs that buyers have in terms of learning and relationship building. Don't assume that B2B buyers spend all day in excel, they enjoy digital communication and content as much as the rest of us!
Did I miss anything? Let me know what you found most intriguing in the comments below. I hope this information will help you in your journey towards building a strong content strategy!