B2B marketing teams need to answer a very important question: What are they selling? Some companies would say they promote a product and create advertising materials that describe merchandise down to the last detail. Other businesses, however, prefer to promote the company itself and create content marketing that stresses the trustworthy relationship a potential partner will receive.
Is there a way to have both? By looking at recent trends and industry insight, B2B companies may be able to create content marketing that promotes a product from a human perspective.
Integrated marketing promotes different focuses
To create a diversified content marketing strategy, B2B marketers have to produce materials around more than one business necessity. Finances Online, an industry technology review blog, said B2B marketing can focus on four different needs: quality, costs, partnership and service (1). Quality and financial material speaks to the product being promoted, and partnership and service content provides insight into the business and its employees.
These needs don't have to exist in isolation – an integrated marketing strategy publishes content that works together. A company that looks for B2B products probably wants to find merchandise that offers competitive pricing and top-notch service. Each piece of content can focus on one need, but address others. A white paper that talks about a tool's longevity promotes the product's quality but could also mention how the company will stand by its merchandise and offer continued service.
Integrated marketing campaigns usually publish across multiple channels. Each platform may feature an audience looking for a particular need; a company can either play to them or use the medium to show another side of the product. Meanwhile, entertaining product descriptions on social media may show how materials can help individuals and highlight the company's approachability.
What does the customer like about the product?
Customers aren't interested in what the seller likes about a product; they want to know how the item can help their business and alleviate their common pain points. B2B marketing materials should describe products not as inanimate objects, but as solutions to both common and unique concerns.
B2B marketers can humanize products by discussing them in terms of how people use them. Customer case studies are great strategies for showing how the product performs in daily operations. Instead of talking about features in the hypothetical, businesses get a chance to see how similar professionals profited from purchase.
The Harvard Business Review suggested some clients may be hesitant to advocate on behalf of a supplier (2). There are certain strategies companies can use to encourage clients to contribute to product marketing. For example, some software solutions become more productive when industry saturation increases. By creating more users, customers profit.
If a company wants even better insight into the product needs of potential customers, it can partner with a B2B marketing agency to analyze its clients and online audiences. An outside set of eyes may help a business find what types of products are in demand and how current customers feel about their purchase.
Education, education, education
B2B products are traditionally complex. Business solutions usually offer a number of features and methods of implementation. Content marketing material should provide viewers with all the data needed to make an informed decision. This means companies have to publish a wealth of material that influences every type of learner.
The complexity of B2B products often requires marketing teams to create rather technical materials. White papers, Web page designs and product diagrams have to carefully detail how a product works and how it stands out from competitors. Technical, however, doesn't have to mean dry. No matter how informed a consumer is, blocks of text are almost always intimidating. A marketing team should provide narrative-driven, emotional and entertaining advertising content for every product it features.
Diverse content appeals to a wide variety of audiences. B2B International advised companies create advertising materials for different decision makers in the B2B inbound marketing journey (3). An employee could come across engaging material on social media or mobile advertising and pass the publisher's name over to more knowledgeable buyers. The executives in charge of acquisitions can then search for more intricate educational materials.
Promote hands-on opportunities
Content marketing should provide online resources that make the reader feel like they know how to use the product, but a great source of B2B lead nurturing is to invite potential consumers to actually sample the product's performance. The ability to provide audiences hands-on interactions with products is dependent on its function, but every company should look for such opportunities.
Businesses can invite people on to their premises to sample performance or marketing can promote opportunities for vendors to visit potential buyers. Trade shows are another great opportunity for B2B lead generation. If a company can physically bring its product to events, many potential customers get a chance to see it in action.
Allowing a company decision-maker to try a product is a great first step in an ongoing partnership. It demonstrates how the seller can answer questions and stand behind the item's quality.