Building a better B2B content marketing strategy
MARKETING to business buyers online might seem like one of the most difficult things in the world. There’s a tonne of competition and a whole lot of information out there, and it could be quite confusing for the target audience.
Which is why B2B marketers must aim to engage buyers in a way that overcomes the information overload and drives a successful purchase.
Gartner, who offers specific advice on the subject, believes that B2B marketers must move away from a model built on “more” (more content = more engagement = more progress) in order to have the desired impact on its customers.
Successful marketers, in order to succeed in today’s world, must focus on providing less information, specifically designed to make buying easier. In other words, creating better tools and resources (buyer enablement) rather than more is the key to success in the B2B space.
“B2B buyers today will reward suppliers who make the purchase process easier. Our research shows that customers who receive helpful information that eases the purchase process are three times as likely to buy the bigger, more expensive option, with less regret,” said Gartner Distinguished VP Brent Adamson.
In order to help make the purchase decision easier, marketers must offer prescriptive advice and practical support through their B2B marketing strategy.
Prescriptive advice basically is clear, credible, and concise information about what steps a company must take in order to solve a problem or achieve a desired outcome. It maps out the buying journey, identifies possible challenges at each step, and provides recommendations to overcome them effectively.
Practical support, on the other hand, simply provides tools to help customers follow through on the prescriptive advice.
Take the manufacturer of a commercial 3D printer, for example.
Marketing to customers will involve prescriptive advice that explains the advantages of owning a 3D printer, the costs of running it, and the benefits of adapting processes to involve the use of a 3D printer.
Practical support, in this case, can come in the form of detailed analysis of how the 3D printer can help someone making stationery as against someone developing precision equipment like valves and pressure gauges.
“By focusing on these two types of buyer enablement, marketing can engineer a complete content ecosystem designed to help drive high-value, low-regret deals — and, ultimately, better support sales,” explained Adamson.
However, for most marketers currently producing content aimed at B2B buyers, this shift in focus from more content to guided support means a stronger emphasis must be laid on understanding their needs and challenges.
There is an urgent need for marketers to move their content marketing portfolio away from thought leadership, industry trends and infotainment, which comprise the bulk of today’s content marketing fare, and toward buyer enablement — advises Gartner.