3 Marketing Strategies That Deliver – Part Three: Content Marketing
In Parts One and Two of our blog: 3 Marketing Strategies That Deliver, we covered the steps and tools that are essential to executing strategies for both ABM and Data-Driven Marketing. In Part Three, we conclude our journey with the steps and tools needed to create and maintain a great content marketing strategy.
Strategy: Content Marketing
Consistently producing high-quality content marketing requires access to actionable data. After all, when you are armed with insights you are better positioned to provide customers and prospects with content pieces that are engaging and personally relevant to their interests. The Content Marketing Institute maintains that the most dominant content trend of 2019 is a return to content’s higher purpose as thought leadership. Over the last few years, companies have produced volumes of content in order to reach the widest possible audience, but with the rise (and results) of ABM and data-driven marketing, importance is now placed on the value of content, rather than the volume of content. “Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues,” said Joe Pulizzi, a leading marketing speaker and subject expert on content marketing.
1. A Well-Defined Content Strategy
The first step you should take to ensure your content is set up to resonate with customers and prospects is to develop a solid content strategy. Not having a content strategy in place is like wearing a blindfold at a firing range. Sure, you may get lucky and hit your target a few times, but the majority of the time, your content will fall short of its target, goals and potential. To ensure you create customer-centric content that establishes your brand as a helpful thought leader, start by drafting a document that answers these questions:
- Who are my ideal customers?
- What are the stages of their customer journey?
- What information can I provide to them at each stage that will help them reach their goals?
- What are their preferred channels of communication?
- What is the ideal communication frequency for my customer?
- What pieces in my current arsenal of content have proven to be the most effective?
- What pieces do I have now that can be repurposed elsewhere?
- What pieces am I missing?
- What is my content budget?
- How will I measure content success?
Once you have answered these questions, you should have a solid outline of where you stand, what work needs to be done, and a general timeline for missing pieces to be developed and completed.
2. Cross-Channel Content
Leveraging data in order to deliver valuable content across all channels is a strategy that rewards those who do it with increased sales and customer loyalty, reduced content costs, and longer content lifecycles. B2B has long depended on email to do most of the heavy lifting, but incorporating additional channels into the mix has proven to be a great way to revive dead accounts, accommodate customer preferences and increase engagement. However, as important as it is to connect on whatever channel the customer wishes, it’s equally important to ensure they have a consistent experience of your brand across those channels via integrated campaigns. In addition, it’s critical to track which campaigns and channels are generating the most successful outcomes.
Tools of the Trade
- Content management software – Pulls content from all connected data sources (MAP, CRM, etc.) and organizes it for use in personalized campaigns. When integrated with MAP, it can automate personalization at scale, which significantly reduces the complexity of ABM.
- Sales enablement software – Enables sales to select, personalize and send pre-approved cross-channel marketing campaigns via the CRM.
- Data/marketing dashboard — Tracks campaign engagement and success across channels and enables marketing ops team members to share insights via real-time reports
3. Adding Video Content
Google research found that 70 percent of B2B buyers and researchers are watching videos throughout their customer journey. Currently, the most popular B2B videos are those that demonstrate product features and enable viewers to learn about, compare, and research potential B2B purchases. A type of content that helps keep the conversation going, videos typically incite viewers to act on what they have seen by: talking to colleagues; requesting more information; visiting a company’s website; and/or sharing the video with fellow decision-makers. Google researcher, Kelsey Snyder, says, “Delivering content-rich mobile and video experiences is now critical to successfully reaching your B2B customers and moving them through the path to purchase.”
Tools of the Trade
- Video Production Company – Unless you have marketing staff on-hand, who are skilled in creating video content, you will need to hire a company that specializes in producing B2B videos. Pricing will vary according to the type of production. For example, animated product videos typically have a starting price around $2k and videos shot on-site using actors, clients or employees typically have a starting cost around $5 to $7K.
Adding video to your content strategy is an investment; but over the last few years it has proven to be worthy of B2B marketing budget dollars. In fact, Aberdeen Group found that companies that use video marketing grow their revenue 49 percent faster than those that don’t. Additional stats that highlight the power of video are:
77% – B2B marketers who say video is an effective content marketing tactic
80% – Average increase in conversions experienced by companies that use video on landing pages
200–300% – Average increase in click-through rates for companies that include a video in emails