B2B Content Marketing Guide, Part 2: How to Do B2B Content Marketing Research

This is part 2 of a 6-part series on B2B content marketing. Part 1 explores why content marketing is essential for B2B. This part covers audience research, followed by part 3, which explains how to create content. Then part 4 covers paid media strategy, and part 5 covers organic strategy. Lastly, part 6 reviews the crucial importance of the marketing-sales handoff.

So, you’ve determined that implementing a content marketing strategy would be a good idea for your company—that means it’s time to start producing all that awesome content, right? WRONG. (But don’t worry, we will get there.)

Before creating content, you need to get all your ducks in a row. This includes gaining a deeper understanding of your target audience and your product. It also requires some market research into audience demographics and taking a look at what the competition is doing.

B2B content marketing research requires two main parts: audience research and product research.

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B2B Content Marketing Research: Your Target Audience

Marketing to the End-User

In many cases, you’re marketing a product or service to whoever is going to be using it. For example, maybe you’re selling a cybersecurity solution to a security operations manager or a social scheduling platform to a social media strategist. The marketing strategies you’ll use to target those audiences are clear: prove why your solution is the best and back those claims with feature lists, benefits, etc.


Getting Buy-In

However, you won’t always be marketing to the end-user. Sometimes marketing will need to resonate with whoever has to give approval for buy-in. This audience doesn’t care about the same things as the product users. They care more about how this solution will help improve big-picture operations and less about specific features—think process optimization, increased productivity, etc.

B2B content marketing research questions to consider:

  • Who is our target audience?
  • Who is currently responsible for spearheading purchases? Is it primarily the end-users, or is it higher-up individuals like managers and C-suite execs? Does this depend on the specific company?
  • How can we get access and market to those audiences? What do they care about the most? 

B2B Content Marketing Research: Your Product

With an understanding of the target audience, it’s time to deep dive into the product itself. You and your team probably already know a lot about it, but as we discussed in the last section, the points of interest for your audience will depend on what they seek to gain from your product.

First, become intimately familiar with the general non-branded terms that potential customers are looking for to find your product or other similar solutions. For example, Salesforce is now a known brand name; people know and purchase the solution because they know ”Salesforce.” However, there was a time when that wasn’t the case, and people were looking for “CRM platforms,” and before that was a known term, people were looking for a “customer management platform” or “tools to manage customers.” Understanding the generalized name of your product gives insight into your customers’ needs so they can be targeted with specific content.

Next, work with the sales team. They can help explore the differentiators that get prospects to buy, which is far superior to just relying on what your gut tells you is most important. Even better, if a long-term customer is willing to talk about their experience, see what they have to say (and get their permission to use a testimonial).

One last thing, during the product research process, consider what you aren’t good at. It’s impossible to be good at everything, and claiming so will appear suspicious to prospects. On the other hand, honesty about your strengths and weaknesses upfront can build real trust—and that’s what usually ends up closing the sale.

B2B content marketing research questions to consider:

  • Is our product/solution known? If not, what are the generalized terms for our product category?
  • What problems does our solution solve?
  • What are our main differentiators?
  • What are our weaknesses?

Ok – now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to start creating content:

Read Part 3

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Jen Fields

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