The pandemic has radically transformed the B2B marketing landscape, which means savvy marketers have had to reconsider how to best reach and engage with prospects and customers. Recent research by Nadel Phelan found that about 60% of companies reallocated their trade show budget to digital marketing last year, with an emphasis on developing content that provides value and builds trust. Successful marketers know that educating, entertaining and informing potential customers is key to building that trust and is much more effective at developing positive long-lasting relationships over the hard sell. Let’s explore why this shift is taking place and what best practices marketing professionals can take away to engage and convert potential customers.
A focus on customer pain points
Buyers are looking for content that they can trust and that solves their problems. This is why content marketing has become so popular and so important. With the shift away from in-person business meetings, companies need alternative ways to build relationships. Owned content works well for this purpose.
Solving customer and prospect pain points is a great way to build trust. By creating content that helps people make decisions and solve problems, you will be able to interact with customers and prospects more effectively to generate demand and nurture leads.
And, as an added bonus, you build the thought leadership stature of your executives and subject matter experts. When buyers need insight on a topic that matters to them, they’ll return to your channels to find the content that they’ve come to rely on.
Converging goals and efforts
Both media and marketing teams are focused on attracting and keeping the attention of customers and prospects. At the end of the day, it all boils down to supporting sales and driving revenue. Here are three elements that will help you create meaningful content that achieves your business goals:
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – Determine which metrics are meaningful, both for the marketing and sales departments, based on the type of content and where it is being distributed. This can pertain to the number of clicks on email links or how long prospects stay on your website. Make sure to use dedicated links where possible to better track results. Establishing the same quantifiable objectives will ensure each department has an incentive to focus on the outcomes and how they jointly plan to achieve them. Constant interaction and collaboration between teams will help spur new ideas as well.
Feedback – From the sales department, the marketing team can get in-depth, real-time feedback on prospects’ business challenges, comments on products or content, questions about features and other information. This data will help marketing fine-tune its messaging and create sales enablement content that is more relevant and meaningful to customers and prospects.
Processes – Using marketing analytics tools, the marketing team can help “close the loop” on sales interactions with prospects along the entire buyer’s journey. By finding out exactly how different marketing assets – blog posts, videos, webinars, case studies and so on – were used at different points in the sales funnel, they can make more informed decisions about what is having the greatest impact. By the same token, this can help teams find disconnects in the sales process where more resources – such as content, information or tools – are needed to engage customers and boost conversions.
Applying media tactics for marketing success
Buyers today go online first to find the information they need to solve challenges and make buying decisions. You need to consistently produce content that provides real value by meeting actual needs. That’s the kind of content that generates demand and nurtures leads. High-quality, useful content, such as videos, surveys and infographics, connects customers and prospects with marketers in meaningful ways. This is the kind of content that is both educational and shareable.
Your target audiences will put their trust in your brand when you consistently create content that provides value and lightens their load. However, it can be hard to find the best way to engage with prospects and keep the conversation moving in the right direction. But everyone agrees that no one likes pestering sales emails and follow-ups that happen without a specific intent.
Organizations can elevate their online presence and capture the attention of their target audiences by improving credibility, awareness and validity. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to determine which channels and tactics are yielding the best results by using tools like Google Analytics.
No matter what international crisis we may be facing, no matter the time of year or any other factor, marketers will always need to listen to customers and prospects to understand the immediate challenges they’re facing. Those challenges will shift over time, and so must your efforts to address them.
When the smoke of adversity clears, some brands will come out on top and others will not. The ones on top will have dealt with change head-on and switched tactics with agility, as media organizations do. This kind of resilience serves marketers well, enabling them to understand which content initiatives support immediate goals and help support long-term success. Use the best practices noted above to build a strategy that yields the resilience and agility of a media organization – one that’s in lockstep with the needs and challenges of your target audience.