Hands up who misses schmoozing? In these socially distanced times, we’re all missing out on a key element of marketing – chewing the fat at coffee meetings, building a rapport over lunch and hanging out at events. The question is, how do content marketers bridge this gap? One way is consistent, tailored content that drowns out the ever-growing sea of generic messaging.
As B2B marketers, it’s important to remember that everyone is undergoing a seismic change. Our own customers’ customers are also adapting, so we need to address the fact that all buyers are walking on untrodden ground. While it’s important to keep on top of marketing trends – things like virtual events, community marketing, online communities, interactive discussions, customer-centricity and AI1 – there are also some basic rules of engagement that we think are important.
We’ve put together five things to consider when you’re trying to win over your buyers.
Buyers want to be listened to (and heard!), especially when many businesses have shifted their priorities. It’s up to marketers to respond to these changing needs and they can only do this by finding out what those needs are. A study from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Arlington Research shows that six in ten (59%) decision makers believe board-level decisions are being made without truly understanding the needs of customers.2 Interestingly, only a quarter of those surveyed indicated that they revisited customer/buyer personas, and less than a third (31%) said they re-examined their customer journeys in the last year. Understanding your buyers’ changing journey is critical to success.
Marketers love a good chat. Conversations are so important, as we’ve all learnt over the last year. Even if they are sometimes broken up by bad internet connections, they are essential to any relationship, personal or business. In Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021, Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO of Casted, says “Today, your audience wants to have an authentic experience with your brand and the best way to do that is by leading with conversations."3 Conversations shouldn’t fall by the wayside just because we’re working remotely.
Persuasive content has a bigger role to play in the absence of in-person meetings and events. Marketers need to work even harder at ensuring their content is engaging and interesting, as well as educational and informative. Good content refers to the buyer and what they are going to be able to achieve with your solution or product. How good will it make them look? How will it help them make an impact in their role? How will it save them and their organisation money and time? Create bespoke content which provides answers to their specific questions. One way to do that is with an interactive toolkit such as our Fusion Accelerator Toolkit.
Overwhelm is a real thing as businesses struggle to deal with a uncertain future whilst battling ahead with new priorities. Where does this leave short and long term strategy? Nearly half of decision makers (49%) surveyed in a recent study felt their company did not have a strategic vision in place to deal with the fallout of 2020.4 As a marketer, you can help by producing content that helps decision makers plan in the short term and that breaks down their thinking into quarters, so it’s more digestible. Acknowledge their fear and confusion by providing resources to speak to their challenges.
Your existing customers are more willing to make a change than ever, but so are your prospective customers. This means that you have an opportunity to flag down new prospects with your content. First, you need to work out where the buyers are and what they are looking for. You can do this by offering buyers a self-assessment to determine which channels are best for them.
All of this can be achieved with the support of the right content marketing agency. In fact, according to a recent study, 83% of content marketers said that during the last 12 months, they attribute their success to the value added by their content providers. A huge 86% of B2B marketers who outsource at least one activity say they outsource (some form of) content creation, far and away the largest percentage. A staggering 69% say that their challenge is finding partners with adequate topic expertise.5
Partnerships are clearly the way to a buyer’s heart and if you do manage to find a content marketing agency in your field, who understands your buyers as well as you do, then life gets just a little bit sweeter.
Could Marketing Fusion be the right one for you? Check out our Fusion Accelerator Toolkit.