Moondog Marketing is proud to have Rachel Parker guest blogging this week. Rachel is the Founder and CEO of Resonance Content Marketing.
Sometimes people ask me, “Sure, content marketing is great for B2C brands, but does it work for B2B?”
At this point I pat them on the head and say, “Oh, honey, if you only knew …”
What these folks have yet to discover might be the best-kept secret in the marketing world: Content marketing is the jelly to B2B’s peanut butter. The roll to B2B’s rock. The Jay-Z to B2B’s Beyoncé.
What is it that makes content marketing and B2B a match made in heaven? To answer that, let’s take a closer look at the world of the B2B marketer.
B2B involves complex products and services
In the B2C world, no one has to explain what a cup of coffee is. Or a pen. Or a smartphone, for that matter. But once we cross the line into B2B Land, we start talking about things like data analytics platforms, business process reengineering, and manufacturing ecosystems — not exactly the stuff of dinner-table conversations.
Because of the inherent complexity of B2B deliverables, client education has to be a top priority. We can’t just hang out a sign that says “Hey, you! Looking for a smart business application platform? Try ours — you’ll love it!” We need to start with the customer’s problem, show him why a specific product or service is the solution, then show him why our brand is the one to trust. It’s an educational journey, one for which content marketing is ideally suited.
B2B has a lo-o-o-ong sales cycle
When’s the last time you took a couple of months deciding who gets to serve up your morning latte? Sure, consumer decisions about houses, cars, and other high-ticket items can drag on for a while, but most of them don’t. We pick the laundry detergent that mom used, the coffee from the shop next door to the office, the app that all our friends are talking about.
When it comes to B2B decisions … well, get comfortable. Because of the high price tags involved and the ordeal of integrating new vendor systems, businesses need to ensure that they make the best decision, and that can take a while. Once again, content comes to the B2B marketer’s rescue, offering ample opportunities to get in front of potential clients with valuable information and insights to guide them through the lengthy decision-making process.
B2B is all about trust and long-term relationships
One of my biggest vices is my addiction to Diet Coke. I enjoy it a lot. I drink it a lot (even though, yes, I know it’s bad for me). But a relationship with the brand? Ehhh, not so much. On the service side, I know my local Ford dealer always does a good job when Roxy the Mustang needs a tune-up … but do we have a relationship? Again, not really.
Most consumers feel the same way. Even the most loyal repeat customers will stop short of describing their relationship with a brand as … well, as a relationship.
On the other hand, talk to an HR director and she’ll gladly describe the company’s relationship with its staffing firm. A restaurant manager will wax eloquent about his relationship with his suppliers. New printing companies will have a hard time getting in front of marketing managers who have long-term relationships with their print shops. And so it goes.
Content Marketing + B2B = Relationship Goals
Now, hmm, let’s see, what do we know that helps us build trust and maintain solid relationships? Oh, yeah — content. For B2B brands, content marketing offers the opportunity to position yourself as a trusted advisor to new prospects, while also making existing relationships “sticky” through exclusive clients-only webinars, resources, and live events.
So if you’re a B2B marketer who’s still on the fence about “this content marketing thing,” I encourage you to give it another look. Not only will it deliver the same advantages that our B2C brethren enjoy, but it’s tailor-made to help you build an educational, multi-touchpoint, trust-building strategy that leads to lasting relationships. If that’s not a match made in heaven, I don’t know what is.
A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please). As Founder and CEO of Resonance Content Marketing, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and author of the book The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN!