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Solving the Conundrum of Content Marketing and B2B Sales

Date posted: January 19, 2017

According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, 81% of business-to-business (B2B) manufacturers in North America are using content marketing in some shape or form. What’s interesting is that while the usage of content marketing continues to rise, its effectiveness appears not to be. That same study shows only 18% of those manufacturers reporting that their content marketing was effective in meeting overall marketing objectives, a figure that has fallen from 26% and 30% in the two years prior!

Despite this, B2B organizations continue to increase their investment in content marketing, with only 3% indicating plans to reduce budgets in the discipline.

A post by Achinta Mitra on Industrial Marketing Today may provide some rationale behind the consistent support of content marketing.  Mitra points to six ways that manufacturing content marketing sets the table for B2B industrial sales:

  1. Visibility
    53% of engineers and industrial buyers spend six or more hours per week on the Internet to find components, equipment, services and suppliers (77%); obtain product specifications (73%); find product availability information (70%); perform research (67%); and compare products across suppliers (66%). Digital marketing with content aligns perfectly with how your target audience finds information.

  2. Capability
    Just publishing more content is not going to help you rise above the noise. The key is to identify and understand the challenges your customers are facing. Create content written by your in-house Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to address these issues. This will get your knowledge and expertise to the forefront and set you apart from the competition.

  3. Credibility
    Engineers are impressed by credentials, standards, and professional certifications. Provide them the confidence to specify your industrial products because they meet their design parameters and/or to retain your engineering services.

  4. Reliability
    This goes beyond product warranties. Industrial professionals want reliable sources of technical content, not more marketing fluff. End-users and field people want easy and quick access to your knowledgebase. These people may not have much influence on the initial buy but can make or break your repeat orders.
  5. Expandability
    Increase the impact of your trade show investments by providing additional helpful content. Trade shows continue to be effective in industrial marketing, as multiple research studies have shown. You know those visitors to your booth are going to check out your website when they get back to their office. Make sure the content builds on the initial impression about your company.

  6. Visibility
    Product specifications and online design tools are valuable content assets because they save time for design engineers— helping them make quick decisions on the viability and suitability of your products and services.

As Mitra notes, companies build stronger relationships based on trust when content marketing helps meet these six objectives; and trust is key for facilitating and motivating conversation from prospects to the sales organization.

Justice Holmes once said, “Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.” That’s what B2B marketers appear to be doing with content marketing. What do you think?