Tag Archives: content

3 steps to evolve your marketing from content to contextual

Over the last 2 years, the term content marketing has not only been coined but received wide acceptance within marketing circles. Content marketing became the new mantra to engage with customers on a wide array on both digital and traditional levels. Current studies show (link to a Marketing Prof’s article on B2C content marketing trends), that content marketing still receives great attention and for the most part, rightly so. As most studies confirm, over 85% of both B2C and B2B marketers keep or even increase their content marketing efforts in 2013 based on previous years budget spending.

The content marketing matrix, shines some light on the level of content marketing management possibilities but also highlights, that a very generic customer profiling is assumed.

content marketing matrix

Why is content marketing however becoming complacent with an overflow of content from all sides to a single consumer?

> Consumers follow less traditional funnel concepts but rely on multiple sources and a more diffuse buying decision making behaviour (see ZMOT by Google for some inspiration)

> Technology enables consumers to not just for ROPO (research offline / purchase online) but currently for RMPO (research mobile / purchase online) and RMPM (research mobile / purchase mobile)

> Influence of content to consumers decreases with the increasing emphasise placed on social sharing and social recommendation (e.g. great content marketing but 2 out 5 star rating)

How can a marketer deal with these changes in consumer purchasing behaviour and the increase of technology as enabler for new purchase decision making? 

1) Utilise digital data: with digital media in place, enabling big data to become smart data is easier than ever. It is however important to differentiate between wanting to know everything and being able to distill what is really important. Don’t get overwhelmed by the flow of data but control it!

2) Enable customer journey thinking: smart data allows you to follow single customers (don’t think stalking) but to determine their need at any given time. A housewife in Massachusetts using an Android based Smartphone might follow a different decision making journey than a college freshmen in San Francisco using a laptop in a coffee chain. Customers don’t want to be spammed with content but receive the right content at the right time. Banner blindness is not a sign of too much content but non-contextual content – just because I searched for a fridge doesn’t mean I want to see fridge banners for the coming two weeks.Don’t spam with content – be smart and enable customer’s to use it!

3) Less is more: Customer’s banner blindness, which served as an example for the increasing marketing message aversion, is just one example of content being misplaced, money and resources wasted. Follow the customer journey and anticipate in real time the needs and receptiveness of customers to your content. Use digital data to model the journey and most importantly track progress – add value to the customer journey but not noise. Use your budget wisely and at important decision making stages when the customer most heavily relies on external content to progress in his or her buying cycle.

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B2B content marketing trends in 2013 & upcoming challenges

According to a recent study by Content Marketing Institute, a little more than half of all surveyed B2B marketers are planning to increase their content marketing spending in 2013. This result almost mirrors the B2C oriented study and shows a clear trend of the increasing importance of content marketing across organisations.

B2B content marketing expected spending

B2B content marketing expected spending

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another promising development is the ongoing trend of B2B marketers, likewise to their B2C colleagues, to acknowledge the importance of content creation by gradually increasing in-house content creation efforts over outsources efforts. A trend which in my eyes is an inevitable step to create ownership, necessary processes and content creation experience. Contradicting this notion is however a slight increase in content marketing challenges, particularly in the category “producing enough content”.

Content Marketing Challenges

Content Marketing Challenges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B2B organisations are rich of quality content, the crux for every marketer is however to unlock this content from Key Account Managers, R&D folks, manufacturing partners, field engineers and top management. It is not impossible, but for many organisations, the years relying on external partners for content creation meant these necessary internal relations haven’t been built up to now capitalise upon.

Take on the challenge for 2013 to make B2C content sexy and engaging:

> Acknowledge the richness of content in B2B! Content doesn’t just have to be consumer stories in the earned media category – it is unlikely that your heavy machinery customer will post a picture of him and his new crane to your Facebook channel, however asking him in person for an experience interview changes things dramatically! Most often you will find open customers who are as emotionally connected to their products or work like your B2C counterpart’s mobile user.

> Be a tactician! As with customers, the same applies to your own R&D and sales guys. It is very unlikely that they will knock on your door and ask you to write an article about their work or achievements; but there are surely some out there who are more outspoken or who like to glow in their own glory. Perfect – use them as forerunners. Creating a competitive environment by adding a section “success stories” to your publication will spark drive and challenge others to showcase their success in similar ways. It doesn’t happen over night but with patience this will lead to great success and a pipe full of publishing ready content.

> Measure everything! Use digital tools to measure the results of your content creation efforts. Show the time customers have spent reading or accessing various channels and show it in a dramatic fashion. 50% of your content creation efforts will be spent internally, as shown above, on your colleagues or even superiors to market the content marketing idea to them. See them as your audience which is easier won by strong use cases than shallow marketing jargon, especially in B2B.

> Be a risk taker! Content marketing has to be engaging otherwise it doesn’t show effects and or results as planned. Don’t just rely on content marketing tactics that you are familiar with such as blogs, websites, case studies or whitepapers. Think outside of the box and look for the sexy new thing such as mobile and gamification. Don’t let Kodak style content marketing efforts fool you – not everything B2C marketers do leads to a great ROI apart from its sexy look to outsiders. Try to think of other tactics as use cases, why no gamify content creation internally or run a best product in use picture with customer’s field engineers? Applying tactics to the B2B world is easier as it seem but the sale internally can be hard and daunting. Be prepared for that and create a lot of small use cases for new tactics – these will help to convince superiors and colleagues of new tactics and ease the approval process.

> Use your own organisation as testing ground! Over the years, my most critical yet most rewarding audience was internal. Every employee in your organisation is waiting to be engaged, more in B2B than ever imagined. They won’t take anything for granted nor jump on every campaign or effort coming from marketing but if you manage to convince this audience, everything else will be a piece of cake. Furthermore, this will provide you with a richness of feedback (mostly critical) which helps to learn and avoid mistakes in the outside world.

> Have fun! I have seen and meet many B2B colleagues who were nothing but worked up in what I would call sales support (that is updating brochures, organising exhibitions etc). Working in technically oriented organisations doesn’t come with the same audience and or work environment as in B2C but that doesn’t mean you and your team cannot have fun. Create a driving environment for ideas, host internal creative brainstorming sessions, have regular team retreats to come up with new tactics, go to conferences and speeches to learn from colleagues, competitors and even off the grid B2C marketers.

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