b2b companies face a dilemma: How to market their portfolio of products whilst forming a marketing strategy that unites the business. Most organizations have products with overlapping value propositions, which means that a prospect’s needs could be met by a range of the products and services.
But because sales teams and product managers have targets and objectives relating to specific products, marketing campaigns are driven by the need to support new product launches and lead generation for (often) underperforming products. That’s despite the fact that prospects have no interest in new product releases and incremental improvements in functionality they are not currently using.
It’s true that b2b companies have long used content to promote their products: From case studies and infographics to videos, webinars and white papers, b2b marketers have turned into publishers. Yet a lot of this content is still based on product marketing premises: the purpose of marketing campaigns is to promote products and the core of content marketing contains product messaging. This product-focused mindset is not helpful for chief marketing officers who need to create segment or solutions-focused go-to-market strategies.
So how can marketing teams move from product marketing to content-led marketing -and gain organizational buy-in for this move? We suggest:
- Reviewing marketing metrics. Invariably, they show that pushy product promotions have one primary effect: They turn prospects off and drive your unsubscribe rates up.
- Meeting with product management and sales teams. Explain to them that sales collateral and product user guides will continue to provide information about the latest features and functionality enhancements, but that the company needs to align its products with market needs, and that it is these market needs that will drive your content marketing strategy.
- Training your sales staff on SPIN selling. Leads generated through content marketing require a different sales follow up approach than leads generated through ‘free trials’ or factsheet downloads. Salespeople following up on these leads will need to take a more consultative approach to scope out the prospect’s situation. You can find more information about the SPIN selling approach here.
Finally, why not show this Infographic: From Product Marketing to Content Marketing to your sales team to give them a quick overview of the differences between product marketing and content marketing: