A group from Golden Spiral attended this year’s Marketing United conference. For those who didn’t attend (and even if you did), we’ve condensed the most relevant takeaways for B2B marketers. Here’s what we learned, along with some resources to help you explore these topics in more detail:
The Case for B2B Content
What they said:
“We are seeing drastic declines in our ability to reach and convert audiences because people associate marketing with interruption — but, at its best, it shouldn't be an interruption. It should be a conversation between a company and its customers. The buyer journey is nothing more than a series of questions that must be answered, and the brands that answer those questions along the way will win.” - Micheal Brenner, Author of The Content Formula
The average B2B purchase now involves over 8 decision-makers. Additionally, 90% of decision-makers say they never respond to cold outreach and 74% of buyers say they end up choosing the company that was first to add value and insight to their research.
Add all that together and what you’ll find is the need for informative and engaging content that helps your brand stand out and provides clear value.
To create and deliver content that attracts and retains customers, you need a tactical approach to developing content resources that can address a prospect’s needs as they travel through the sales funnel. If you’re interested in the specifics of what that content is, the way it works, and how you can use it most effectively in your strategy, check out this guide to B2B content marketing tactics and explore the Content Marketing Matrix.
The Value of Strategic Thinking
What they said:
"Strategy used to be sacred. We still have formal reviews of strategy but the current marketplace means we are constantly modifying it, implementing micro-strategies, and readjusting as we go. We never stop shaping it. Honor the core strategy but also have the courage and the nimbleness to move in the moment." - Jeffrey Buntin, CEO of The Buntin Group
Strategy is the driving force behind effective marketing tactics. It’s where we start every project and where we recommend you start too. However, in our quickly evolving technological landscape, B2B marketers must create a strategy that has the ability to adapt to new channels, platforms, and expectations. This means striking the balance between creating a strategy that clearly establishes your goals and direction and one that can still flex to encompass a broad range of tactics. As the speaker put it, “Make your strategy elastic — but not so much that it snaps.”
A good strategy should start with figuring out what market problem your offering solves. Once you understand the "problem statement,” you can build a multi-channel strategy around it — from identifying your unique value propositions to forming core messaging to determining how your reach your buyer persona. If you want to know more about how to shape an effective B2B marketing strategy, sign up for our free two-week email series on the subject.
How to Promote Customer Satisfaction
What they said:
“Technology is moving faster than it ever has before but humans — on a fundamental level — haven’t changed. Things worth talking about just travel faster now.” - Scott Stratten, President of UnMarketing
People will always be moved by things that stir their emotions. We are wired to respond to and share stories. It’s up to brands to give customers the ingredients for something worth sharing, and that means creating a remarkable brand presence, telling great stories, and prioritizing exceptional customer experience.
Although a lot of this talk was centered around B2C, it doesn’t mean B2B marketers should tune out the advice. As we know, business researchers are learning to expect the same convenience and customer experience when they are buying for an organization that they get when they are buying for themselves.
B2B, like B2C, must establish credibility and trust through the experience that they create for the buyer as they move through the sales funnel, from identification and research to assessment and sale. Find more details on the value of customer experience — and how you can create a culture of exceptional CX.
The Importance of Your Brand Story
What they said:
"The biggest missed opportunity in marketing is playing it too safe. So how can we produce more engaging content? Bigger content. Bolder marketing. A braver perspective.” - Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at Marketing Profs
When it comes to B2B content marketing, Handley said, there some key questions to ask yourself in order to produce pieces that engage your target audience and compel them to act. What story can you tell with a depth and breadth that doesn’t otherwise exist? How can you rally your audience? Are you delivering great content experiences on your audience’s terms? Does your content tell a significant story?
According to the speaker, it’s important to put your business in context of what people care about by telling significant stories through your messaging and content marketing. B2B buyers are researching and evaluating a lot of different options to find out which ones meets their business needs the best. In order to compete, your brand needs to do more than outline features and specs. You need to put your solution in a well-tailored context that shows your buyer how it will fit their needs and desires.
That process starts with a crystal clear understanding of your target. Next, you need to look figure out how to address their needs through your messaging and nurture that relationship through targeted content. This article will show you how to optimize your content and positioning for the B2B buyer journey.
The Truth About Millennials
What they said:
“The millennials are coming! We’re literally making stuff up about this generation and what they like because they’re younger than us — which can lead to being biased against them. If you want bias, how about good bias? This demographic donates more to charity and volunteers more than any other generation. They also grew up with technology, which makes them an asset to your business.” - Scott Stratten, President of UnMarketing
As prospective buyers, Millennials have different expectations than the decision-makers that your organizations has traditionally sold to — but homogenizing them into a single persona and trying to build your message around that idea just won’t cut it.
This group of people, ranging from age 18 to 35, are incredibly diverse in their interests and preferences. But the one thing that does unify them is their reliance on and comfort with technology. They grew up with it. They don’t know a world without it. As a result, they expect your brand to cater to those expectations throughout the buying process.
The value in grouping buyers into the category of “millennials” isn’t necessarily in who they are but in how they buy. They are finding you through new channels and holding you to new standards. If you’re curious about how to adapt your marketing to this new buyer, we take a deep dive into that subject in our latest white paper. Interested? You can download it here.