According to a recent Gallup report, 71 percent of B2B customers aren’t engaged. Meaning, they are readily willing to take their business elsewhere should an opportunity arise.
Content marketing, a tactic that is widely used to boost engagement and aid many B2B challenges that underpin this problem — customer centricity, relationship building, strategic positioning, etc. — has hardly worked for B2B marketers, particularly those in midsize and small companies. In fact, according to a recent study by MarketingProfs, only 6 percent of B2B marketers rated their use of content marketing as very effective.
The answer lies in a number of factors that hold to be true across B2B companies.
B2B marketers lack content production capacity
Traditionally, B2B marketers have focused on analytics, sales and quantitative side of marketing to support their customer acquisition strategies, hence not needing superior writing talent. Forced to adapt to the rise of digital marketing, many scrambled to assume the role of content experts, with little or no vision for their long-term efforts. A MarketingProfs survey finds only 32 percent of B2B marketers have documented content marketing strategy, while only 28 percent have an editorial mission statement.
Idea: One solution for B2B marketers is to consider outsourcing. Look for strategic partners that demonstrate genuine interest in understanding your specific challenges rather than applying one-size-fits-all approach. Seek to understand how they’ll collaborate, curate and leverage your internal subject matter experts.
B2B marketers fail to take a customer-centric approach
A Gallup report finds that while many B2B companies believe they have a customer-centric culture, few actually do. What goes on internally, undoubtedly has an impact on what comes out, and in the case of content marketing, failure to put the customer at the center — consider their challenges, yearnings, hopes, biases, etc. — inevitably translates to content that has little to no real relevance for them. However, changing internal culture is a marathon, not a sprint.
Idea: Begin by identifying what aspects of your business currently fail to adopt a customer-centric approach and develop a long-term plan and metrics to support gradual change. In the meantime, filter all content marketing efforts with this question: what problem will this piece of content solve for my current/future customer?
B2B marketers face increasing competition as more content is published
According to the same MarketingProfs survey referenced above, 76 percent of B2B marketers say they will produce more content in 2016 than in 2015. Similarly, more than half plan to increase their content marketing budget. As more content is published, content marketers will naturally face greater competition for customer interest and attention. Only the best content will make an impact.
Idea: For small and midsize B2B companies who lack dedicated content teams, one approach is to focus on quality, not quantity. Use online and social media presence to maximize exposure and get the most out of you efforts. For example, for every substantial piece of content (infographic, video, article, white paper, report, etc.) develop a release plan that highlights a different dimension of content over a span of a few days or weeks.
Learn more about Elliance manufacturing and B2B marketing services.