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While content marketing remains one of the most effective methods of B2B messaging, many companies find their digital marketing campaigns are going unanswered. A staggering 86% of B2B marketers report using content marketing, while only 38% of them believe their marketing is effective.1 Most business people are inundated with dozens if not hundreds of messages every day.
Business people quickly learn to avoid anything that appears to be too sales-oriented. This decrease in content marketing effectiveness may be tied to a new report that states one in three B2B marketers2 view their content marketing as focused on their company rather than their customer.
What Statistics Tell Us About the State of Content Marketing
Content marketing is designed to provide compelling and important information to audiences and customers, as it provides value and establishes a company as an authority. These new marketing statistics indicate that content marketing is not being used to provide value but instead is being used in lieu of traditional marketing messaging. Content that is company-focused rather than customer-centric will eventually lead to content marketing failure because it will not provide the value that users expect.
Moreover, to establish a business as an authority resource, a company must have a solid content marketing strategy. The reality is that only 44% of B2B marketers are reported as even having a strategy. In addition to a game plan, it’s absolutely vital to have a team knowledgeable about the most recent content marketing techniques. Today, it is no longer enough to simply have “someone” in charge of maintaining a blog.
The Value of Customer-Centric Content
Customer-centric content is content that puts the customer first. According to MarketingCharts, customer-centric content features fast response times, targeted products and a consistency of user experience.3 On the other hand, company-centric content would be geared more toward product or other conversions, and ultimately zeroed in at capturing sales goals. As recent reports show, companies are finding themselves promoting their products within their content more and considering their customer’s needs less. It’s easy to theorize that this trend is leading to content marketing failure for some companies.
Companies can still promote their products within customer-centric content, but need to do so in a solutions-oriented manner. Behavioral analysis and data can be used to target users about something they have demonstrated an interest in and deliver a more positive messaging experience. Company-centric content can also be offered in a way that responds to customer needs and provides a positive customer experience. The key is to consider what questions are on customers’ minds and take content from the customer’s perspective. Talk about solutions, not products. Consider search behavior and what topics are generating engagement.
Companies Focused on Developing a Brand
Many companies are using their B2B content marketing campaigns to develop their brand, but as noted by MarketingCharts, this has led to 32% of companies focusing on their company’s story, as opposed to 27% focusing on their customer’s story. Supporting brand development and influencing brand perceptions tend to be very important components of any content marketing campaign. Marketers should follow the advice of the old adage “actions speak louder than words.” Rather than focusing on the company’s story, ensure communications are created around user’s needs. Maintaining a focus on a customer’s story can ensure a brand doesn’t just say it’s customer-focused, but actually demonstrates it.
Today’s B2B digital marketing campaigns may be failing to convert due to a lack of customer-centric content and an increase in traditional promotional and marketing materials. It may be time for companies to refocus and determine whether their content marketing campaigns are truly delivering the content that their B2B customers need and want. As we move into 2015, companies are spending more money than ever on their digital marketing campaigns – and it is becoming more important to ensure that the campaigns are an effective use of their marketing dollars.
Topics: Digital Marketing