How are buyers interacting with content marketing?

Content is an essential component in nearly every B2B marketing strategy. Reporting on research from CMO Council and Netline, MarketingProfs said vendor content is a factor in 88 percent of purchase decisions. More than half of buyers also feel that content marketing improves their knowledge of currently available business technologies. This marketing tactic also educates decision-makers on issues and challenges within their industries. 

Different buyer personas interact with content in varying ways. The majority of leads find vendor content through search engines and portals. Some go directly to company websites, and one-quarter ask colleagues for recommendations. When it comes to selecting a vendor, leads are most interested in research reports, case studies, technical spec sheets, white papers and articles on trade websites. 

The research process differs across many organizations. In some B2B firms, mid-level executives are responsible for nearly the entire process, from finding vendor content, making the decision and educating senior management about why the choice was made. Other companies task junior or mid-level employees with the research process, and then senior managers make the final selection. Additionally, senior employees in some businesses are responsible for finding content and sharing it with mid-level workers to assess the information and arrive at a decision. This highlights the importance of catering to separate buyer personas. It isn't a safe assumption that the same people at each organization will be interacting with your content.

How to create a mature content marketing strategy
While content has the promise to improve lead generation efforts, increase brand awareness and help build relationships, it can be a challenge to correctly implement this strategy. B2B marketers struggle to produce enough content and to provide truly relevant information to their target audience. It can be difficult to transition away from self-promotional forms of advertising. To create real engagement, you need to focus on brand storytelling to connect with your audience, Forbes stated. Even though B2B products may not seem to lend themselves to this approach, storytelling can lead to deeper engagement. 

Segmenting content for different buyer personas can also contribute to a more mature content strategy. Establishing thought leadership in your industry can give you a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting prospects with your content. Creating lasting relationships with prospects can generate long-term success in your marketing initiatives.

Sheila Kloefkorn (1029 Posts)

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.