Inspire your Audience with an Innovative B2B Marketing Strategy
Make your B2B marketing strategy stand out against competitors, by offering innovative and rare content. Discover how to become a thought-leader.
Published: 07 Aug 2015
5 minutes read
We can almost guarantee that every piece of B2B marketing content you read online will highlight how:
1. Content marketing is essential to your business in the digital age.
2. Everyone is already using content marketing.
If the message hasn’t been hammered home already, you really need a B2B content marketing strategy. Not just because your competitors have one, but also to attract prospects online and engage with them throughout the buyer’s journey.
However, too much of something isn’t always a good thing and this is especially true for content marketing. In a revealing study by the Content Marketing Institute, the number of B2B marketers using content marketing dropped from 93% to 86% between 2013 and 2014. This drop signifies that the market is maturing and becoming more strategic. It is not enough to just push out average, unoriginal content through a multitude of channels and expect to see a ROI and engaged prospects.
As the CMI states: “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and ultimately drive profitable customer action.”
To keep B2B content marketing strategies engaging, B2B marketers need to re-evaluate their current strategy and create inspirational and innovative content. To do this, marketers should position themselves as thought leaders. This is an approach to marketing which solidifies you and your company as experts and leaders in your specific industry.
The most successful B2B marketing strategies have innovation and originality at their core. If your content is near-identical to thousands of competitors, what helps to make it stand apart in a sea of blogs, white papers, guides and social media?
In an increasingly competitive sector, Cisco has implemented thought leadership to help set it apart. Cisco has arguably been the driving force behind the ‘internet of everything’ – a concept that "brings together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before".
The internet of everything has been a focal point for a few years within the tech industry. However, it hasn’t been without its critics, with some arguing that it isn’t practical in real-life and places privacy at risk.
Cisco’s B2B marketing strategy actively silences these reservations, by presenting the internet of everything as the next step in technology - improving the lives of people worldwide. The tech company’s micro-site dedicated to this innovative concept helps educate pessimistic prospects by supplying them with real-life case studies. For example, how the new technology has helped reduce traffic within Stockholm, Sweden by 20% through the implementation of connected sensors and vehicle trackers. The FAQ section and statistical evidence further helps to encourage advocacy for the internet of everything.
Cisco successfully converts prospects into internet of everything advocates and potential customers by using a problem-solution structure within its content. A consistent theme is the impending digital revolution. Cisco explains how businesses which fail to evolve their technology will be left behind or become obsolete, paving the way for more technologically advanced companies. To survive in the new ‘tech-age’ Cisco presents the technology comprising the internet of everything as a solution – offering businesses better team collaboration, security and faster work-related processes. Blog posts are typically written from the viewpoint of well-regarded industry leaders, adding substance and authority to content.
Introduce something new
The introduction of a radically new product, software or service is guaranteed to get prospects’ attention. Marketing platform HubSpot achieved this back in 2005, when its marketing platform was released alongside the newly coined concept of ‘inbound marketing’. Before HubSpot, B2B companies relied solely on traditional or outbound marketing tactics, such as cold calling, direct mail and trade shows. HubSpot’s inbound marketing encouraged prospects to evolve their marketing strategy, by offering educational, valuable and relevant content.
In 2015, the concept of inbound marketing has been widely accepted as a more beneficial and cost-effective marketing methodology. The HubSpot blog educates long-time inbound marketers and new adopters on the best tactics for improving vital business metrics such as ROI and lead generation.
What is refreshing about HubSpot’s blog is the lack of promotion-heavy content. The majority of the blogs are educational, tackling the common prospect pain-points affecting B2B companies, such as coming up with ideas for blog titles, with a step by step process to solving these problems.
Content curation is currently used by 57% of marketers, to ease the resource shortages and time constraints associated with original content creation. While it is essential for companies to create, publish and promote their own original content, curation presents your business as a valuable resource centre, filled with useful information from industry leaders and the latest sector news. Furthermore, content curation builds audience relationships when conversations surrounding your curated content begin to take shape.
Your prospects in most instances have limited time on their hands. Content curation solves this problem by offering valuable industry content in one easily accessible place. Content curation, however, isn’t just a case of re-tweeting here or there, or syndicating blog content on your website.
The most successful content curation relies on strategically sorting and sifting through content and then presenting the best and most relevant resources to your prospects via social media, newsletters and blog posts.
Commonly, content curation is associated with social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Companies that only promote their own content can appear repetitive and overly promotional. Hootsuite, therefore, suggests that companies use one third of curated content. Rather than simply sharing a link to a third-party article, a supporting message should be included, offering your unique insight and viewpoint on the article.
Open questions are especially fruitful, encouraging prospects to start conversations with your company.
Content curation doesn’t just have to mean re-publishing other people's content. Quotes from well-regarded industry figures and statistics from valuable sources can help add weight and authority to your content, while showing prospects that you have taken the time to conduct research.