Intro to B2B Content Marketing & Demand Generation
Over the last decade, we’ve witnessed a drastic and permanent transformation in buyer behavior. The abundance of information available on the Internet and ease of which social media allows us to share that information as well as our own experiences has created a revolution for consumers and business decision makers alike. The scales have been tipped in their favor. Gone are the days of relying solely on the word of advertisers and sales reps. Today’s savvy business buyers pursue multiple information-gathering avenues before making purchases that affect their business.
Thus, the major turn toward demand generation through content marketing over the last 12-24 months. Because business decision makers are no longer taking their sales rep’s advice at face value, the relationship between sales and marketing has changed. It’s no longer good enough for marketing to generate leads. In fact, the goal is to have the prospect “demanding” your product or service before the sales team even engages with them. That’s why the most competitive companies are turning to content marketing specialists who work in conjunction with automated programs like Eloqua and Marketo to manage, nurture, and score their leads.
Let’s say you have the C-Level buy in you need to get your company started with content marketing and demand generation. Now what? First, zero in on a project and determine what you’d like to accomplish and over what timeline. Next, take a look at your lead database. Is it clean? How old is it? How warm is it? Can it be segmented? How many prospects can you reach? If you need to freshen up your leads, carry out a lead generation program while you’re working on creating content.
I recently attended the B2B Content2Conversion webcast live from The Times Center in New York City. Many of the speakers had some great tips on how to construct good content, one of them being to create buyer personas in order to better understand your audience. Focus on what relates to them as businesspeople. What are their objectives? How would they describe your product or service? Are they change agents, or adverse to risk? What level of authority do they have? What are their obstacles? In addition to using Linkedin as an information source, the speakers recommended gathering 5-7 sales people and/or subject matter experts who can provide this kind of insight.
Once you have a better idea of who your buyers are and what kind of information they’re seeking, you can begin to craft your content. According to a Content Preferences Survey of 120 C–level business executives conducted by DemandGen Report, 75% of respondents want marketers to curb sales messages. They also prefer content that is shorter, has less focus on product specs, and more on value.
What mediums to choose
The survey shows that videos and infographics are among the most popular forms of content right now, as they quickly provide information that is easy to digest and easy to share. But beware; business executives expect access to this content without providing their contact information. Also be prepared to provide them with articles and blogs for “free.” However, executives are happy to swap their info in exchange for a good white paper or to attend a webinar, both of which are major crowd pleasers. Enewsletters, case studies, and in-person events are other good ways to dispense information while growing your database.
You gotta see this!
While content marketing and demand generation are topics we’ll continue to explore in future blog posts, for now I’ll leave you with another great tip I picked up at the B2B Content2Conversion conference: make sure your content, and your videos in particular, pass the “you gotta see this” test. Make it your goal to always create something you’d want to share in your own social networks. Following that rule will help to ensure that your audiences will be interested in sharing it in theirs.