In my recent post on making the case for inbound marketing, I talked about how the need for information has led to the emergence of new approaches to the promotion of credibility and experience through content marketing.
Interest in content marketing shows no signs of abating, but many companies still seem to find it difficult to review the impact. In a recent B2B content marketing benchmark survey, B2B Marketing found that although 56% of respondents saw content marketing as having an impact on sales, there were more concerning undertones:
Finding good relevant B2B examples online often proves challenging because although everyone is talking about doing it, there are hardly any examples of real-world, real budget examples that bubble to the surface. Here are ten that I've stumbled across over recent months. Something to learn from each.
Nokia Solutions and Networks offers a great case study of how to use Slideshare. The Finnish telecommunications giant has shared over 145 different files showcasing their expertise and sharing their knowledge. The company’s portfolio strays from the norm with only 36 classed as presentations, 77 as documents and a further 32 in video format. (Video is a benefit for Pro accounts, but you can get around this by embedding video in your PowerPoint before uploading to Slideshare).
Atlas Copco is one of two industrial equipment manufacturers included because of their innovative use of apps in the B2B space. The underground mining and equipment app for iPhone and iPad delivers 360 degreeC 3D product information, technical specifications, images, movies and customer case studies for poor/no signal hazardous workplaces - where having information at your fingertips is paramount. The app is already on its 5th version since launching on the iTunes store in 2012.
Flooring specialist Flowcrete is doing some really interesting stuff when it comes to content and social media at the moment. Taking the potentially dry subject matter of epoxy resin and polyurethane resin floor and wall coatings, the company has created something in Dr Flowcrete that is simple, nostalgic and potentially very engaging. The blog is currently playing host to an interesting optimised infographic and is one to watch given the company's use of Pinterest and Twitter.
GE uses Pinterest to great effect showcasing creativity right across the company with dedicated boards which cover what the business likes, is inspired by, what it is doing, where it has come from and so much more.
Sherwin Williams has recently released an upgrade of its popular ColorSnap app in the US, aimed specifically at Google Glass users. The app helps users convert whatever they're looking at into a palette of Sherwin-Williams' paint colours, and then directs them to their nearest store. The free app is an expansion of the company's popular ColorSnap mobile apps for smart phones and iPads, and indicates how creative brands can get in creating an experience that will lead tangibly to sales.
As an Evernote user, I get a periodic email, which I don't mind. This one got my interest as it incorporated so many elements in one. As an email it was landing in an opted-in inbox, not hard selling but talking about a case study of a agency like mine using Evernote right across the business. It took me to a simple landing page where I could watch the video case study and find out more. Brilliant. Simple. Effective.
The Trelleborg Sealing Solutions O-ring app on iTunes, is one of a suite of tools designed to assist customers on the ground and in remote workplace environments. Based on inputting simple specification data, users can quickly and easily determine O-ring dimensions and sizes for a range of critical applications. Designed for iPhone (above) and iPad (below), you can see how the rich information, of paramount importance to its engineer audience, offers lots of valuable data.
A piece talking about inbound content marketing wouldn't be complete without mention of Hubspot. Few of us may invest in the software, but their outreach attempts and sheer commitment to providing generous amounts of brilliant content has created a unique trust platform for a software company. Again, the example above shows how the carefully design the call to actions in their emails and landing pages to ensure people provide the data to secure the download.
In some sectors, there is a well established trade media or portal where the market congregates. In this instance, it makes sense to seed content where the audience is rather than try to cox them out to your website. The website for Packaging World magazine operates in this way with companies like Bosch placing content like feature articles, whitepapers and webinars there for customers to stumble upon and engage with. Check out the opportunities in your sector.
Finally, another great use of video to tell the story of a call centre ticket. Again, an example of how clever storytelling can rely the benefits of just about anything. Watch the video here.
These examples show that great content doesn't necessarily have be innovative. If it solves a problem or makes a process easier, it will be valuable to its intended audience. Showcasing your uniqueness, credentials and expertise isn't straightforward but these examples show it be achieved with a little creativity.
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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