Business to business marketing depends more and more on creating ‘content’ – material that provides information that is not necessarily sales or marketing related. Examples include business articles, technical white papers, YouTube videos and presentations. The purpose of generating this content is to indirectly influence your target audiences – if they think what you have to say is interesting and insightful then they’ll come back to talk to you when they’re buying your kind of product or service.
MarketingSherpa (www.marketingsherpa.com) provides some great tips on the kind of content you can use to promote your business in their B2B Lead Gen handbook. They provide some important points to consider:
- the content you create should always be about your audience, their interests and their industry, not about you, your company or product
- you should create different types of content targeted at different audience segments
- you should create content for each stage of the sales cycle (or buying cycle, if you think of it from the prospective customers’ point of view).
On this last point they recommend your content should suit the information needs of potential customers as they move through three broad stages:
- Awareness: at this stage you are trying to make them aware of the problem you solve, persuade them it’s a problem they should be concerned about, and make them aware that you’re the best vendor to solve it
- Consideration – here you’re trying to provide information that helps them educate themselves in a bit more detail e.g. what do they need to know to pick the top 3 vendors; what information do they need to finalise a purchase decision for your product type
- Risk Avoidance/Decision – how can you convince them that you are a safe brand; that you are the best fit for their needs; what do their peers or market commentators say?
I think this is a great starting point when planning the kind of content you will need to generate to support your marketing plans. It also prompts you to think about the information needs of the different buyers you are trying to influence. Does a technical buyer move through Awareness, Consideration and Risk Avoidance/Decision the same way someone working in procurement does? Do you have to provide content for both of them? In the next post I’ll summarize the types of content you can generate to meet the information needs of buyers.