Building The Right Content is Fundamental to Marketing Success
In a B2B setting, the lifecycle of closing a deal—from initial enquiry to making a commitment to buy averages about three months. However, according to Forrester research, it’s interesting to note that 70–90% of a B2B buyer’s journey is complete before the prospect engages a vendor. This is where content takes the all-important role.
Consumers engage on an average of 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase and are 5X times more dependent on content than they were five years ago. It is the right content that will channel the success of your marketing plan.
What then is the right content that will engage your customer in a B2B purchase decision process?
Content that builds emotional connect
B2C marketing has long followed the model of building brand identity through emotionally evocative content. When it comes to B2B marketing, it’s often assumed that a more rational and business-like approach works better in influencing clients because B2B content is created with emphasis on value, cost, and quality. The emotional connections are never brought in. But, whether in B2B or B2C, at the end of the day, it’s all about H2H or the human-to-human connect.
In a 2017 cross-industry branding study from CEB, now Gartner, which involved more than 3,000 B2B customers, the key theme that emerged was the importance of focusing on B2B buyers as individual human beings with emotions. Content needs to be crafted to engage the 71% of buyers who buy the product or service because they see a personal value in a B2B purchase.
General Electric(GE),IBM, Cisco, and Caterpillar are brands that use the emotional connect to create engaging content that appeals to the emotions. These companies market high-end medical equipment, big data technologies, Internet of Things(IoT) sensors, and heavy-duty construction equipment with engaging and visually rich stories that are underlined with an emotional connect.
In a little under a decade, by 2027, India’s millennial generation will boost the nation’s labour force to emerge as the world’s largest. The millennials, classified as the population between the ages of 18 and 35, will change traditional B2B marketing to suit the new landscape. Content will have to take on a snackable bite-sized format to address this digitally empowered mobile generation.
" When it comes to B2B marketing, it’s often assumed that a more rational and business-like approach works better in influencing clients because B2B content is created with emphasis on value, cost, and quality"
Content that makes up the traditional marketing funnel including white papers, blogs, eBooks, webinars, and emailers, will have to be relooked, based on the intensity of the content. The intensity has to be higher and the artefact shorter. A four-page case study will no longer work. What will attract their attention instead will be short-form vertical video, considering 80% of millennials choose to watch online video during the consideration phase of the buyer’s journey.
An IBM study of 700 millennial influencers of B2B purchasing decisions, found that this generation prioritises vendors who offer a great client experience. Content should match these experiences. Hexagon, an industrial IT solutions provider used augmented reality(AR) to present their annual report and gave their investors a mind-blowing interactive experience.
Content that is Visual
The future of B2B marketing is visual. One of our clients, a large multinational corporation, is stopping its print-only quarterly internal magazine and moving to an online weekly newsletter. The newsletter, which will take on an increasingly visual format, including links to videos, will digitally engage 250,000 employees.
Today, 71% of marketers make use of visuals in their social media marketing campaigns. Visual content grabs attention and makes a lasting impression. It even boosts text, which accompanies it. Buzzsumo research found that articles published with an image once every 75-100 words got double the number of social shares than those with fewer images.
B2B content marketing needs to rethink how content can be portrayed visually. Most C-Suite newsletters today, contain nothing more than curated content repurposed as a newsletter. What if the newsletter is reworked in the avatar of a master infographic? It would definitely catch the attention of the target audience and make the desired impression on them.
Content that is of high quality and frequency
No longer does a B2B content strategy depend purely on the amount of content that is disseminated. Your content marketing strategy depends on high quality content dispersed with increased frequency. This justifies why 85% of B2B marketers attribute high quality content as a leading factor contributing to the organisations increased success over the past year.
How then do you define quality content—especially in the B2B space? Quality content is nothing but engaging content. And what can better engage your audience than content that comes from real-life experiences of employees, customers, suppliers, and distributors? Great stories enhance your brand, nurture leads and work in tandem with your customer experience strategy.
With an increasing number of B2B organisations implementing content marketing strategies, competition for an audience has become intense. Going by the 2018 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends survey, most marketers—80% of all respondents and 92% of the most successful content marketers—agree that their organization is absorbed in building an audience. In such a scenario, focussing on building the right content is the only way to achieve optimal marketing success.