Part 1 – The First Steps to Successful B2B Content Marketing
In this age of information, audiences have learned how to tune out old fashioned, direct marketing and sales tactics.Content marketing has become a way to work around these mental firewalls and engage audiences again. According to The Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
While an integrated approach is still considered most effective, content marketing as a B2B marketing strategy is flourishing, and continues to grow stronger every year.
To successfully utilize content marketing, an organization must first determine its goals and target audiences. Without these two criteria established, a content marketing strategy will be directionless, ineffective and essentially have no chance for success.
Goals of Success
To establish goals, an organization should consider how it will measure content marketing success.
- Brand awareness (79%)
- Customer acquisition (74%)
- Lead generation (71%)
- Customer retention/loyalty (64%)
- Thought leadership (64%)
Organizations must also know what audience they are targeting and customize their content to that audience in order to see content marketing success.
Top five ways that organizations customize their content:
- Profile of individual decision maker (59%)
- Company characteristics (52%)
- Stage in the buying cycle (42%)
- Personalized content preference (23%)
- None (8%)
When creating content, determine the target audience and consider how to tailor the content to be most effective.
Case Study: Crowe Horwath’s Content Marketing Success
Crowe Horwath, LLP, one of the largest public accounting and consulting firms in the United States, knows exactly how critical these two steps are in creating a successful B2B content marketing strategy. It discovered that, while the firm was generating leads well enough, Crowe Horwath was also losing those leads if services weren’t required immediately.
In response to their concerns, Crowe Horwath created a B2B content marketing campaign with the main goal of nurturing marketing-qualified leads, building upon its ability to generate leads and keeping those leads engaged until they were willing and able to purchase. Crowe Horwath customized its marketing content to C-level executives (profile of key decision makers) in financial institutions with $1 billion or more in assets (company characteristics) across the buying cycle (stage in the buying cycle).
The Crowe Horwath campaign was incredibly successful, engaging 778 contacts from which the firm experienced a 70% open rate and 2 engagements worth $250,000 in revenue. On top of that, Crowe Horwath won the 2013 Killer Content Marketing Lead Nurturing Award.
B2B content marketing isn’t simple, but it’s incredibly effective. The first steps are determining how you will measure content marketing success, and who your target audience is. Once these steps have been completed, organizations can begin building strategies and tactics around them.
Be sure to read Content With Your Content? Part 2 – Continuing the Steps Toward Successful B2B Content Marketing, as well.
Posted by : Marcus W. Creel – Public Relations Intern with The Cirlot Agency