“The problem is getting the right content to the right people, even while knowing that key decision-makers are not an easy audience to reach. Producing smart, highly targeted and truly innovative content can be really challenging.”
This is one of the quotes from the B2B content marketing report published by MarketingProfs and Junta42 last September.
The problem is trying to do all those things at once, while outrunning the competition and potentially outnumbing the same target audience. And indeed I have issues with the terms "target" and "audience". Why is it a problem?
Because, as admitted by marketers and communicators, organizations are still learning to shift their mindset from broadcasting about products — putting a different spin on stories is still part of that — and products that don't feel exciting enough.
Still from the report, most marketers (36% of those surveyed) also feel that content creation is just the beginning. How they socialize that content to engage customers and prospects takes an even greater slice of their resources. And a big percentage (21%) feel they are not producing enough content.
Compared to whom?
This is certainly no ding on the report, however since the control is marketers who feel they do a good job you should take a moment to unpack what the findings translate into for you and your organization. Here's what the report found:
- Self-described effective content marketers outpace the remaining survey respondents in “adoption” within every single category of content marketing. On average, effective marketers use eight tactics whereas less effective marketers use six.
- Adoption rates are at least 15 percentage points higher in specific content categories: social media, eNewsletters, case studies, blogs, webinars/webcasts and videos.
- Not only are effective marketers out-adopting, they are also out-investing. Effective marketers allocate a much larger percentage of their budget to content marketing. Effective marketers allocate 30% of their marketing budget to content marketing versus less effective marketers who allocate 18%.
- Effective marketers benefit from a more extensive distribution network, using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube at significantly higher rates than their peers. 82% of effective marketers are using at least one platform compared to 66% of ineffective marketers.
- 37% of effective marketers consider the “stage in the buying cycle” of the target market when developing content, compared to only 23% of less effective marketers.
- Effective marketers benefit from substantially more buy-in from senior members of the organization. Only 7% of effective marketers complain about lack of buy-in from higher-ups, versus 23% of those who believe they are less effective lamenting the same condition.
How do you know these tactics would work for your organization? Do you have the same cultural environment? Are you trying to attract the same customer base? Is there another way to unpack the results of this survey of B2B companies and build your own roadmap?
Fulfilling unmet needs
Many businesses that cater to other businesses are in complex service and product markets. Adding to that complexity is the sophistication of the people they are trying to attract. Most of the decision markers have already developed their technologies and tools habits to get what they need done.
I have not met a decision-maker who could not wait to hear all about your new product and service. Wading through yet more white papers and online publications to find the one kernel of what she needs to get through her day is usually in the hands of her team.
Finding an unmet need, potentially a very personal one, is key to inviting a direct connection.
Finding what works for you
From the bullets above, let's take a look at how you would think about your own content production to suit your organization and plan a new approach.
- integration is more effective than using a single-tactic or silver bullet approach
- higher-yield tactics through search and consistent fulfillment
- better results go hand in hand with higher levels of investment, which you get when you have the support of the executive team
- greater distribution is meaningful only if it gives you a better signal and is relevant
I get that surveys and reports help you validate what you already know with a third party assessment you can present to management.
You know more, though. Do we have insufficient information? I submit that we have the exact opposite problem — information overload. I submit you don't have time or resources to do what everyone else is doing. In fact, you may need to invest more just to stay in place.
Are you going to swim in a sea of sameness, or will you consider a different approach? Do you see any underserved areas? What thinking, assessment, and tools can you bring to bear to help with better filtering and visualization, for example? How do you enrich the learning experience? What else?