Do you remember when business success depended on a company’s ability to sell products, influence prospects, inspire investors, build categories, grow market share, and drive revenue? Well all those things are still essential in today’s increasingly competitive globalized economy, except now there’s another key differentiator that separates the status quo from market leaders.
From Fortune 500s to young start-ups, marketing teams are increasingly on the hook to deliver meaningful and differentiated messaging platforms that resonate with key audiences and support the sales process. This means B2B brands need a strong, compelling narrative in place to cut through the noise.
At our Charlotte branding agency, we’ve seen first-hand how strategically planned, well-written content can strengthen and develop brand affinity and ultimately drive leads and sales. And given what’s at stake, it has become more important than ever to get your B2B content initiatives right. Here are seven tips from our B2B content experts:
1. Go Beyond Features And Benefits
Because B2B content reflects a larger brand strategy, it has to crystalize what you do, why you’re better, and what you can do that no one else can. It’s not easy to articulate these values to your target audiences in both rational and emotional ways that inspire them to take action. Companies and brands who get content right understand the importance of articulating something greater and more meaningful than features and benefits.
2. Help Marketing And Sales Do Their Jobs
Successfull B2B content must drive two key workflows within a company. The marketing team needs B2B messaging to build out a go-to-market strategy and activate different touch points. Sales needs messaging to know how to talk to customers, position the product or solution, and close deals. If the messaging isn’t strong enough, marketing teams struggle to fill the funnel and convert leads, while sales teams have a hard time responding to RFPs and hitting their numbers.
3. Sell The Experience, Not The Product
How do you shift the conversation from product-centric to customer-centric? By leveraging the valuable, unique experience you offer your target audiences. In the B2C world, it’s easy to focus on consumers. The mistake a lot of B2B companies make today, however, is thinking that the businesses they are trying to reach only make rational purchase decisions. While B2B does require a high level of rational thought, it’s important to remember that there are also a lot of emotions in play for B2B buyers.
4. Give Them Substance, not Fluff
The tightest and most meaningful messaging we’ve developed for clients has involved some level of research – ideally both quantitative and qualitative. There’s a lot of value in talking to people one-to-one. It gives our team the ability, as a third party, to gain direct access to customers, prospects, and even lost deals to understand the audience’s needs first-hand. This level of empathy enables B2B messaging that can truly connect with people. That’s why getting to the heart of motivations, pain points, and needs is critical and can determine whether your content marketing thrives or fails.
5. Get Top Down Support
Like many strategic elements, messaging has to start at the top. This means the leadership team must be involved. Moving messaging beyond features and benefits is a process, and key leaders have to buy into a more customer-centric approach or your content marketing efforts will never be fully embraced by content creators or content distributors like sales and marketing teams.
6. Don’t Forget About Internal Audiences
Strong B2B brands are built from the inside out, and if you can spend time understanding the needs and opinions of your employees, your content marketing will be that much stronger. At our Charlotte branding agency, we are often asked to create employer brand strategies and employee communications campaigns to help support and drive shifts in corporate strategy, and we see a huge benefit in addressing the needs of the people who embody your brand.
7. Create Cross-Channel Messaging
For years, traditional product marketing and brand-level messaging fit in the same schematic box: target audiences, pain points, proof points, key messages, etc. But priorities shift. Now, our B2B content marketing clients want a brand story that works just as well in 144 characters as it does in a long-format narrative. It’s all about planning and articulating content that can flex to all platforms, moments, and media – while still staying on brand.
Build A Content Marketing Strategy That Works
In the world of B2B commerce, the right content strategy can be a vital solution in humanizing your brand and business. It can make it easier for your sales and marketing team to connect with your future clients in important ways that will drive your business forward. And while the transition from the solely rational to a blend of both emotional and rational can be a challenge, when you take the lead and embrace the process of identifying what really matters to your audiences beyond just the functional elements of your product, sales will take off, marketing will start to pay-off, and your business will be positioned to stand out and thrive.