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Leveraging Content Marketing To Engage Customers

Personalizing Your Relationships With Your Customers - Part 2

Lata Hariharan, CEO - Resource Leaders

SoCal BMA - Content Marketing

In Part 1 of this three-part series we focused on the importance of incorporating Predictive Analytics in B2B Marketing. Below we address the utilization and effectiveness of Content Marketing for connecting with your customers.

According to CMI's B2B Content Marketing 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, 89% of the B2B marketers use content marketing, and 29% of the total marketing budget is spent on content alone. The findings clearly depict that Content Marketing has made strong inroads into the B2B marketing space.

B2B digital marketing has proven to be a cost-effective means to acquire leads and nurture engaging, long-lasting relationships with customers. Successful B2B marketers have improved the quality of their content and overall strategy for effective results.

So, what has driven this change?

It is not surprising to know that B2B buyers are now using web and social media platforms to search for their product or service needs. This shift in purchase dynamics of B2B buyers depicts the convergence of many aspects of B2C and B2B Marketing.

We know that B2C and B2B Marketing differ vastly in terms of their use of content and data. However, if not already being done, B2B marketers can learn a great deal from their B2C counterparts about a customer’s brand experience, value of appropriate and relevant content as well as about offering the right set of products and services at the right time to customers. It is imperative to provide consistent, truly transformative, digitally enabled content throughout the customer’s purchase lifecycle.

What tactics are necessary to make content marketing effective?

First of all, it is extremely important to document the strategy. Second, the strategy needs to be frequently communicated to the team. Content Marketing Institute’s research shows that 61% of the top B2B performers have a successful documented content marketing strategy. However, only 37% of the surveyed participants have a documented strategy in place, showing that there is a lot of room to improve.

B2B marketers are getting more obsessed with customer orientation and leaving no stone unturned to get intimate with their customers. Content Marketing fits appropriately in this approach by allowing marketers to develop contextual, personalized and interactive content to develop such intimacy. According to Rebecca Lieb, analyst, author, and former VP of Content Marketing at Teradata, contextual content marketing takes into account not only the who, but also the when, where, why, and how.

So, the question arises, do we sacrifice personalization for context in B2B Marketing? The answer is no.

Personalization indeed takes place in B2B Content Marketing; however, it is driven by context. In B2B Marketing, context driven content drives personalization because B2B marketers can attain maximum benefit by tailoring the content to different buyers or audience in an organization as per the context and relevance of the situation. In essence, the spirit of B2C content such as creative emails, good graphics and designs, can be effectively merged with contextual, relevant, and targeted content in B2B Marketing to generate best results.

Engaging your customers as partners for viral distribution of content is key. Design your content in such a manner that customers become ambassadors, sharing your company's content to their own networks -- industry blogs, forums, and social media networks. The value and exposure from such viral distribution is immense!

Further, it is extremely important for B2B marketers to understand the customer’s customer while designing the content for each account in order to establish an effective long-term association with each customer.

With a well-thought-out and planned Content Marketing strategy, tremendous, untapped growth opportunities exist for B2B marketers for tapping into the new digital marketing domain. The market is still far from saturation. Relevance is key.

I welcome your comments, and invite you to share this information.

In Part 3, the final part of this series, we examine the latest technologies B2B marketers can leverage to connect with customers.

SoCal BMA - Lata Hariharan - Resource Leaders

Lata Hariharan
Resource Leaders

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