The Evolution of B2B Digital Marketing
In 2014 we’ve witnessed the maturation of B2B digital marketing, particularly in how content marketing now revolves around the customer’s buying journey.
The belief is that if brands deliver consistent, valuable information to interested buyers, business and loyalty will be rewarded. When this mindset is paired with a digital marketing strategy that is focused on engagement through early stage content, brand engagement or conversions will be the ultimate result.
Every marketing campaign, regardless of channel, goal or tactic, must start with one simple question - “Who is the target audience?”
There are key decision makers who each have their own unique pain points, desires, and motivations for evaluating a product or service. Carefully considered personas help to identify the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers that impact your sales process. This approach then helps to develop content focused on your audience’s specific needs while taking into consideration their current position in the buying cycle.
When it comes to B2B digital marketing, it’s important to take note of a company’s ability to increase its profit by shortening the sales cycle. If buyers are more likely to do business with solution providers that demonstrate an understanding of their unique business issues, it stands to reason they must first understand who they’re targeting in the first place.
88% of technology buyers say thought leadership is important in determining a shortlist of vendors
Branded content directed at the appropriate audience becomes more powerful the further you get into the sales cycle but content generated by trusted influencers is far and away the most trusted. This introduces a new challenge of not only identifying the right topics, but also of encouraging industry thought leaders to cite your content within their own pieces. For this to be successful, the information must be relevant and valuable before they will consider attaching their name to it.
An exploratory process to learn about a client’s target audience and the content that motivates their buying journey is a necessity.
To help facilitate this exploratory process, the development of personas is key. Ask yourself these five questions throughout:
- What are the needs of my customer?
- What are the various steps taken throughout their buying journey?
- What types of content will help solve their business challenges?
- How is this content best disseminated?
- How should the success of this content be measured?
Organizations that are doing it right are utilizing buyer personas backed by solid research, essentially improving an enterprise-wide understanding of customers and creating a positive, lasting impact on their bottom line.