Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why B2B Content Marketing is Now Going Mainstream


I'm eagerly awaiting my review copy of a new book entitled "Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide to Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand" by Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi. This book builds on the foundation of "Get Content, Get Customers" that Joe Pulizzi co-wrote with Newt Barrett at the outset of the content marketing phenomenon, back in early 2008.

Today, I'm sensing that savvy marketers everywhere are ready to move their budgets away from under-performing advertising, to something that's potentially more appealing to their customers. Yes, it's about time.

eMarketer reports that with the average cost-per-lead increasing -- and too many marketers competing for the same buyer's attention -- traditional tactics are no longer enough to influence the sale. Business-to-business (B2B) companies are looking to content marketing as a way to proactively boost their return on investment.

“Informative, nonpromotional content in the form of webinars, white papers, videos, blogs and peer recommendations on social networks and forums can attract prospects,” said eMarketer's Lauren Fisher.

It can also be used to build and maintain ongoing relationships with potential buyers -- long considered a must for remaining top-of-mind throughout the complex product buying cycle, that can continue for many months before reaching a close.

Customer acquisition -- including both lead generation and lead nurture -- are top priorities for B2B marketing leaders, according to several surveys, including a June 2011 poll from MarketingSherpa.

Content, in the form of blog posts, white papers, fact sheets, case studies, webinars and newsletters can help to influence your target customer stakeholders throughout the various stages of their lengthy buying cycle.

“Online content is the fuel for the new B2B marketing lead generation engine,” said Fisher. “In creating informational, educational and actionable content, marketers can effectively lure early-stage buyers into their sales pipeline."

She believes, "By mixing this content with comparative, company-specific and interactive content -- and regularly sharing it online -- marketers can build relationships designed to nurture prospects throughout the sales funnel."

I believe that Curated Content Marketing and the early-adoption of Transmedia Storytelling will ease this transition -- and, over time, further position substantive multimedia content development skills into the mainstream of B2B marketing practices.