The sales rep wants more factsheets, the SEO specialist is asking for updated website copy, the communications team is chasing you for that blog you promised – the stream of demands for new marketing content never seems to slow down. But with so many projects to juggle, content marketers are failing to prioritize and focus on the right type of content. According to Forrester, 85% of B2B marketers struggle to connect content marketing with business value and are still focusing on product marketing materials rather than relationship-building content marketing.
As a result, marketers find that their campaigns fail to engage their intended target audience. How can business to business marketing professionals move the needle from product-driven content to a more holistic customer-focused content marketing strategy? After all, content marketing plans are not developed in a vacuum – good content marketers will work with their product managers, regional heads of sales and other stakeholders to ensure their plans are aligned with business objectives. The challenge is that these business objectives are typically inward-focused targets such as product launches and related customer acquisition and revenue numbers, market penetration goals and so on.
The role of the content marketer is to support the achievement of these goals, but also to act as customer advocate, and reconcile the needs of the business with the needs of the customer. Product managers may well think that information about new features and functionality will surprise and delight prospective clients, but past marketing campaigns and industry surveys provide a wealth of evidence that b2b lead generation is best served by value-adding content such as thought leadership white papers as well as customer testimonials and analyst reports, which provide independent validation of marketing claims.
However, if you are now planning to replace all product-focused content with case studies and white papers, consider that Forrester’s study also reveals that the majority of B2B content focuses only on top of the funnel information. The result? Your B2B content marketing gets high response rates and generates tons of leads, but a low percentage of these leads convert into closed-won sales opportunities, as your content marketing fails to engage potential buyers during the rest of their journey.
So next time you need to find new topics for your B2B content marketing program, why not consider discussing the need for a more balanced content mix with your stakeholders and producing a chart that provides a weighted overview of the business’s content marketing priorities, such as this one:
A visual overview (easy to produce in Excel or PowerPoint) serve to remind everyone of previously agreed priorities and will help you to juggle the expectations of the growing number of marketing stakeholders who recognize that good marketing content drives successful engagement with the market – and thus lead generation and brand awareness.
The weighting of your content marketing topics will be driven by, among other things:
1. The state of the sales pipeline
2. Your knowledge of the buyer journey and different buyer personas
3. Emerging industry trends
4. Regional considerations
5. How your target buyer consumes content
Discussing these different factors with your product team may produce an ‘a-ha’ moment for those who still believe that marketing content and planning is mainly driven by product releases. After all, customer-driven content marketing may be a new concept for them. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words – so make your own life easier and draw a picture that helps your stakeholders understand how you are juggling your B2B content marketing priorities.