The desired outcome dictates your strategy: This is true in any game or competition. But the tactics that win differ depending on your environment, allies, competition, the rules of the game, and the tools at your disposal. The same is true in marketing—particularly when comparing B2B and B2C. Across roles and functions—product marketing, demand generation, field marketing, digital and web, content, or communications—B2B marketers face distinct challenges. It’s not that there aren’t any similarities between B2B and B2C: the focus on creating, delivering, and tracking buyer-centric content—the lifeblood of modern marketing—and the adoption of tools that support the content lifecycle have evolved in both types of marketing alike. But with B2B marketing, where the stakes are high, the buying cycle long, and the decision-makers many, the teams with a winning strategy are those that successfully address the complex processes and outcomes of the B2B content lifecycle and buyer’s journey.
Why Content Chaos Plagues B2B Marketers
In B2C marketing, the process for managing the content lifecycle is built around driving a single consumer to buy a product or service. The marketer’s job: engage and move that consumer to an immediate, impulse purchase. The goals and tools of the B2C strategy are brand affinity, repeat sales, social advocacy, and a lower price tag. But B2B marketing is a whole different ballgame. Instead of targeting one consumer and driving a quick impulse buy, B2B marketers must address multiple stakeholders, each needing specific information and proof of value depending on their goals and responsibilities. During just one B2B sales cycle, sales and marketing meet multiple players—all of them significant to the purchase. And that trend is growing. Nearly half (43%) of B2B buyers said that the number of people involved in purchase decisions has grown, meaning that buyers need to reach more stakeholders, and this trend is rising. B2B organizations must target many different stakeholders involved in the purchase process. Even more challenging is that separate teams within your company own the tools and channels that need to touch each of these buyers. Different teams are facilitating different stages of the buying journey. Legal, Technology, Finance, Procurement, LOB, End-User.....etc. The growing number of stakeholders and the silos between teams drag on the sales cycle. Forty percent of B2B buyers said they’re waiting longer to initiate contact with vendors. In order to move buyers through each stage of a longer sales cycle, B2B marketers need to use the right content, at the right stage, with the right KPIs to measure effectiveness. A B2B content journey might look like this:
As you can see, B2B marketing involves many different types of content that are targeted to specific buyers within a single organization, over a multi-stage sales cycle, across channels owned by different teams. A clearly mapped content journey that extends across all functions within marketing is rare, however. More common is for each functionary or channel owner to work with little insight into the planning, production, and measurement of the content served. The result is an all-too-common state called Content Chaos.
In the next upcoming post, we will see how we can use content in a closed-loop strategy that delivers value to all your prospects and increases deal velocity.
Reach out to us hello at beeraajaah dot me if you would like to develop a robust closed-loop content strategy for your business growth.
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