Content Marketing for B2B Growth
History of Business Growth Tools
A few years back, a company needed a website to gain business. Then Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) was needed. A Facebook profile was the next thing a company needed and after Facebook it was all about blogs. Now, in 2016, everybody is blogging and of course video has become a hot tool in the marketing kitbag. Things are always changing, and the focus is definitely on B2B content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Here is an existing definition for content marketing.
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distracting valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly – defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
This is the industry’s definition of content marketing from the Content Marketing Institute.
However, we have reached a time where brands have “turned traditional business into media publishing companies”. So to be effective, marketers have to evolve too. Content Marketing is providing relevant value instead of focusing on defining content marketing. Audiences care about value. Without value, other defining features (production, distribution) are of no use.
Content marketing is effective when the audience perceives values in every aspect of a product or service-including marketing.
Josh Steimle from Forbes states;
“Value is what changes the definition from one that could describe almost any form of advertising or marketing. You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it.”
Video content marketing offers high perceived value and also allows the target audience to build rapport and feel as if they’ve met you, and begin to trust you, before they have actually bought anything. Seeing is believing, and assuming video is well produced it will provide positive returns.
Trust, loyalty, intrigue and lots of other feelings that people enjoy and need are built by trust. There has never been a greater need to build and sustain these qualities. The department where businesses sell their services has been greatly diminished. 60-90% of buyers will guide themselves through a business’s sales funnel before buyer or business even has chance to talk to each other, reports Marketo.
Building trust with an audience is just like any other relationship; commonalities, similar beliefs and opinions and a sense of connections in a disconnected social climate is sought. This is where effective content marketing shines.
Learning to transition from what content worked in the past to what works nowadays means looking further back in the past. The more ‘why we do what we do’ can be answered the more effective ‘what’ will be. The first recent form of content marketing dates back to 1895, John Deere published the first custom publication. It taught farmers how to make more money using John Deere’s products. In 1900, Michelin published the Michelin Guide, providing maintenance tips and travel features to drivers. The heart of content marketing is providing the consumer with value.
In 1904, a free cookbook was introduced by Jell-O; G.I. Joe was created by a partnership with Hasbro and Marvel comics in 1982; and the first corporate blog was launched in 2004 by Microsoft. In 2014; the ‘mobile tipping point’ occurred. Smartphones have changed interactions between people and also the way they interact with products and services. Due to the amount information, research and opinions available; 2016 is the best year to be a consumer.
Empowering individuals to make informed choices has resulted in marginalized content on a small smartphone screen. In 2016, business are competing with what Mark Schaeffer calls ‘content shock’ or “the emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.” Across nearly every industry this phenomenon is happening. Ironically, content marketing is the only thing that could rise up over the unbeatable cloud of content.
The job is to rise above the noise and drive into the winners’ circle using ethical strategies, deep data mining, smart analysis, creative edge, and above all else, a truly authentic, supremely human voice and style that allow readers to connect with a brand on a subconscious level. The truth is marketing to sell a product is not the primary objective. As luck would have it “content marketing is actually pretty good at selling products.”