Thursday, June 13, 2013

Diving Deeper in B2B Content Strategies

I was recently diving deeper into some content marketing best practices and came across some interesting findings I wanted to share as we all develop our content marketing strategies for the 2H of the year.

At this point it’s widely accepted that the IT buyers research habits have forever changed – buyers research times are compressed, and they are waiting longer than ever to engage sales. This has been proven out by in many studies from Forrester, Sirius Decisions, and of course TechTarget.

However for some additional insight into content marketing strategies and some enhanced considerations to keep in mind I listed some studies, findings and tips below:

In this DemandGen Buyer Behavior Survey – they also comment on the fundamental shift of buyers waiting longer to engage sales. This shift in buyer behavior requires a shift in the content strategy used to reach users. One conclusion in the survey found that the “volume of content/thought leadership” provided by a company is ranked as a top 3 factor for buyers in  making a vendor short list.
What this means - Using turnkey  custom 3rd party content opportunities in your marketing efforts can  help provide more content and add to the thought leadership positioning.

-Forrester also has published recently a theory called “Mobile Mindshift” which says that with this shift in research patterns users expect to be able to find all the supporting content they need to do their research, on demand. If they don’t find exactly what they want ,when they want it, they will judge organizations negatively.
What this means - Using quick and easy content solutions like editorial sponsorship's can give you the ability to make sure potential users have ALL the content they will need during the research process. This is proven out in the response rates of some of my current campaigns. In one campaign I am running for a Major Technology Vendor (hint one of the top 3) a program with editorial alignment drove over 50% of the campaigns engagements. This alignment extend the reach into our audience and encouraged users to take further actions with more than 10% viewing multiple assets. As Leads360 shows these multiple engagements have a big impact and can convert 167% better! 

·         -During a recent Marketo Content Marketing World one of the key take aways was “Be Useful or Die - Create utility by creating something that people really want/need to use. It begs the question, can brands shift from being narcissistic to utilitarian?”
What this means – With this shift in buyer behavior we need to stop trying to control conversations with prospects, and instead guide those conversations with relevant content. It is critical to use content that is tightly plugged into the audience needs and pain points. Editorial sponsorship's are a great way to set the foundation to guide conversations toward the your solution set.

The above points build and support the need for a solid content marketing strategy, and heavy content volumes. What all this boils down to is that the clear change in buyer behavior requires us to adapt:
·         Measurements
o   New strategies require new measurements and KPIs – with users progressing up to 70% and 80% of the way through the buy cycle using sales calling feedback should be replaced with nurturing streams and lead scoring to rank number of MQL opportunities created
·         Communication Strategy
o   Volume of relevant content is key – turnkey editorial content is an easy way to add to this and has been proven to extend the reach, and enhance engagement. In a recent Healthcare campaign I managed our Editorial drove:
§  187 Total Engagements
§  123 Net New Contacts
§  27 Highly engaged users with 2+ downloads of campaign content
o   Success  isn't going to be about Lead Generation, it’s about Lead Management. Lead Generation + Lead Nurturing/Scoring = Lead Management
o   People don’t want to talk to sales – you must replace the phone call with content
o   Editorial content is proven to extend the reach into the audience and engagement (getting multi-touch leads).

I hope you find this as informative and helpful as I did! If you have any more questions here, leave a comment I would be more than happy to expand on this in anyway.

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