Content marketing and strategy in a B2B context

Content marketing re-sized 2

Content marketing and strategy in a B2B context

If you’re a B2B marketer looking for content marketing and strategy, you’ve been born at the right time.

For what was once an information and knowledge wasteland, seemingly stretching into infinity, is now a metaphorical verdant pasture of B2B content marketing and strategy expertise being shared in the open air!

And not before time is B2B catching up with its B2C cousin in terms of having best practice to share and generating genuine results for business.

Most recently (yesterday in fact), the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) staged its inaugural Twitter chat #cmworld (running Tuesdays from 12 PM – 1 PM ET through July and August). Hosted by Joe Pulizzi (@joepulizzi) of the CMI and Michael Brenner (@brennermichael), VP of marketing and content strategy at SAP, the best place to start was clearly with the basics: what is the difference between content marketing and content strategy?

CONTENT MARKETING AND STRATEGY DEFINED

While Pulizzi was clear that “you can’t have one without the other”, Brenner defined the territories as: content strategy = the why, who and how; content marketing = the what and when. “It needs a solid strategy and plan to manage content resources and development,” he added.

And, he emphasised the vital element of understanding what content means to a business and why strategy cannot be overlooked: “Content is an asset…strategy directs those assets to generate a return.”

With #cmworld being a Twitter chat, the knowledge and insight wasn’t limited to its hosts. When considering the first step firms should take in creating a content strategy there was a rich seam of thought from a variety of sources:

@JasonAplin: “It’s a conversation not a sales pitch…you don’t matter, they do.”

@ardath421: “Develop buyer personas…otherwise how will you know who you’re creating content for or what they need?”

@michelelinn: “You need a clearly defined mission.”

@CTrappe: “Share meaningful, authentic and interesting stories…”

@Koozai_Cat: “Define how it ties to your brand principles and mission statement.”

B2B BUYERS ARE CONSUMERS TOO

These, and other views on B2B content strategy and marketing , are played out in another useful source for B2B Marketers, the responsys new school marketing blog. Its recent Q&A with Harriet Mitchell of RS Components – distributor of electrical, electronic and industrial components – crystallised much of what the #cmworld chat brought under the microscope:

  • Segmenting customers into buyer types and providing relevant information for each, i.e. sending a technology innovation blog to an engineer and a flexible pricing campaign to a buyer.
  • Not mass marketing, but relationship building.
  • Recognising that the B2B purchase is rarely an “impulse”, but that B2B buyers still wear a consumer hat and expect a “relevancy common in the retail world”.

 

Reiterating that point, James Smee of digital marketing agency, Purestone, said at the recent B2B Marketing Summit 2013, “Modern B2B buyers take consumer expectations into the B2B engagement.”

Does that mean giving them a full refund if they return their purchase within 14 days, in the same bag? That remains to be seen.

But the last word on content marketing should belong to Joe Pulizzi, who says: “If your mother wouldn’t be proud of your piece of content marketing, don’t distribute it.”

And we all know how much we crave our mother’s approval…

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