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The importance today of using digital marketing in organisational or business-to-business (B2B) marketing is highlighted by the latest Buyersphere report from Base One. Supplier websites, web searches and in most countries emails are now primary information sources for business buyers.
Online events and social media are also significant, more so if you drill down and look at their overall influence on purchase.
I've shown through my previous posts of examples of how companies use B2B marketing, that many companies have responded well to the opportunity from digital media. Many B2B organisations are already successfully using digital marketing in specialist sectors like financial and professional services, IT and software, manufacturing, engineering and science to name a few. But because they don't have a planned approach, they fail to make the most of communicating the services they offer, the value they add, or the expertise they have to effectively meet customer needs.
The route to effective B2B digital marketing unquestionably lies in engaging customers and prospects and providing them with useful, relevant content that improves their own business’ revenue and performance and positions yours as an expert to rely upon.
Routinely creating and disseminating excellent content lies at the heart of a digital strategy that can then draw upon the benefits that search, social media, digital PR and landing page strategies can provide to maximise impact.
Here are five reasons why all B2B organisations need a content marketing strategy to support B2B digital marketing.
There are undeniable SEO benefits of persistently talking about the same topics. But it’s at the human interaction level, rather than technical level, where the benefits of content marketing are most interesting. Talking frequently and in detail about particular topics creates credibility which leads to you being trusted. Trust is the first step on the path to transaction.
People do business with people they trust and like. Shared and personal experiences can underpin relationships and can be effectively used to build engagement. Advertising in the 1960′s looked to profile particular people and sell them solutions to their problems and this has largely remained the same in marketing today.
All communication needs to be two-way. It’s not enough to tell all the time, you need to listen, react and respond. Social has spread right through all facets of modern business and modern marketing. In CRM, companies like Salesforce.com have bought into social media with outfits like Radian6, whilst the latest version of Google throws back recommendations from your contacts in amongst your search results.
Social media has balanced the playing field and created an outlet for disaffected customers. Whilst great viral commentary can make a business, one bad experience can destroy it as let-down customers realise they are not alone. Best to be open and transparent from the start.
Most business to business products and services are conceived to solve a problem for a particular type of customer. Addressing the problems and offering ways to solve them, minimise their impact and disruption and actually remove them from the equation is a powerful way to drive trust and transaction. In B2B, there isn’t a transaction as such, but white papers, downloadable content and subscriptions emails are great ways to obtain data which can be followed up later.
I hope you can see through my blog posts that I’m passionate about advancing digital uptake in B2B marketing. As part of this we’re pleased to launch a brand new 200 page guide to Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing. Click here to find out more.
By Rene Power
René Power, has been the Smart Insights Expert commentator on B2B marketing for over four years. He consults, talks and trains on the deployment of the full marketing mix within trade B2B sectors including packaging, food, science, construction, engineering and professional services. He specializes in integrating digital with traditional and demystifying digital marketing, social media and content marketing for trade B2B companies. A Chartered Marketer, René authors the The Marketing Assassin blog, shares updates on Twitter @renepower and you can connect via Linkedin. Rene also authored the recently updated Smart Insights Expert members guide: 7 Steps to Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing guide.
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