B2B Content Marketing: Getting It Right is More Crucial Than Ever
There are approximately 198 million active ad-block users around the world; clickbait is suffocating real journalism; and ain’t nobody watching your video unless it’s under 60 seconds and features cats. Or food. Or cats wearing food.
We’re being inundated with new content from all directions, all the time, every minute. And the worst part? A lot of it is noise. (That’s professional for “crap.”)
It’s an understatement to say that audience attention is at a premium. And yet, content marketing — if it’s done well — still delivers 54 percent more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound marketing.
Why is content marketing so critical to the modern marketing mix despite us being just a bunch of seeming goldfish in a sea of cra— uh, noise?
Ready or not, here come your customers
We already know that potential customers aren’t passively waiting for sales people to sell to them.
According to a 2015 study by the Consumer Executive Board (CEB), buyers go through about 57 percent of the purchasing process before ever talking to Sales.
That means they’re already actively scouring the web for any and all information available online; soliciting peer recommendations and review sites; and making decisions about your company and its competitors all by themselves — long before you even realize it.
If prospective buyers look under the hood while your marketing’s out to lunch and they don’t see much difference between your engine and your competitors’, their choice may very well come down to lowest price or even a simple coin toss.
This is why good content marketing — using blogs, podcasts, video, e-books and social media sites as vehicles for delivering interesting and educational information — is so darn valuable. It enhances what may otherwise be an unremarkable sales experience. It’s what can set you apart from the rest.
Not just feeding the top of the funnel
Whether you’re a successful European startup trying to break into a crowded U.S. market; a developer of complex software that most engineers know they need, but migration is scary; or a services provider selling to independent doctors — you understand that you’ve got to master the art of the long lead, where it’s not unusual for a sales cycle to take many months to complete.
That’s why approximately nine out of 10 B2B marketers are using content marketing — regardless of company size or industry — with the most effective ones spending 39 percent of their budget on content marketing alone.
And they aren’t just feeding the top of the funnel anymore. They’re deploying a consistent stream of rich content pieces with various touches over time, to push from inquiries to sales-qualified leads and actual revenue.
Still easier than herding cats
The companies who find the greatest success understand that, today, advertising has got to be so interesting that people don’t consider it advertising. Content marketing’s greatest value is in its ability to build a willing audience over time.
Turning your website over to consistent, quality content marketing means your company gets to become the media — that is, one of the places potential customers go to do their research. With every quality engagement, your company will increase its brand recall and authority. And customers who are ready to make that purchase will be more likely to do it with you.
The Internet may be noisy, but there’s enough room for both good content marketing and the cats.
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