3 Reasons Why Mobile-Ready Content Is A Do-Or-Die Challenge For B2B Marketers

Published: May 7, 2012

By Matthew McKenzie, Senior Editor, DemandGen Report

Here’s an interesting nugget for B2B marketers trying to get a grip on when – or whether – to invest in mobile-ready content: Less than 10% of the web is mobile-friendly today.

These aren’t the guys putting big bucks into iPad apps. They’re the ones doing something – anything, really – to make their sites usable for visitors on mobile devices.

Get the latest B2B Marketing News & Trends delivered directly to your inbox!

Here’s a second data point, courtesy of SearchEngineLand.com contributor Michael Martin: Half of all consumers won’t recommend a bad mobile site to others, and 40% will go to a competitor’s site instead.

Don’t Make Your First Impression a Bad One
This is a case where it pays to apply B2C knowledge to B2B challenges. For many consumers, mobile isn’t just about usability. It’s about credibility. Sites that feel slow, or outdated, or somehow “broken” come across as less than trustworthy. Once consumers take that attitude towards a web site, they’ll quickly apply it to the brand behind that site.

That’s important, because I know that some B2B marketers wonder whether mobile is a good fit for their content – who reads a white paper on a smartphone? It’s a valid point, but it’s not the one your organization should be focused on.

Instead, focus on the emotional impact your site will have on a prospect. When they visit from a smartphone or a tablet, what kind of experience are you giving them? Do you come across as competent and efficient?

Whatever you do, don’t read that 10% figure as proof that your mobile strategy belongs on the back burner because nobody else is doing a good job with mobile, either. This is a fantastic opportunity to put your competitors into a very tough spot by making their mobile presence look backwards compared to your own. Once you’ve got a mobile-ready platform in place, you can tailor an appropriate B2B content marketing strategy to take advantage of it.

In the process, you’ll send your prospects a very important signal about your company’s credibility as a B2B partner.

Being vaguely aware that mobile content is important is one thing. But it’s another to really get just how little time there is to adapt or die. These two facts – both presented during mobile expert Christina “CK” Kerley’s conference session at the B2B Content2Conversion Conference – prove the point:

▪   According to Gartner, we’ve got no more than three years, and possibly as little as a year, before mobile becomes the default “first screen” viewing platform for B2B content.

▪   Google is going to use mobile site page-load times as part of its search-rank algorithm. Slow-loading sites will be at a disadvantage to fast-loading ones in Google’s results.

▪   Here’s a third data point revealed by DemandGen Report’s own Content Preferences Survey: Around 40% of the executives surveyed said they already regularly access B2B content on their mobile phones, while 23% access it using a tablet device.

Here’s my own take on the mobile challenge: Too many B2B marketers aren’t yet on top of this issue. I spend a fair amount of time viewing B2B content on my iPad, and what I see varies wildly from very good to simply atrocious.

Getting up to speed with mobile-ready and optimized content won’t be easy and it usually won’t be cheap. But if these numbers tell you anything, it’s this: You no longer have any choice if you want to build a meaningful B2B content presence.

Matthew McKenzie is the Senior Editor for DemandGen Report and Senior Director of Content for G3 Communications’ Content4Demand division. As an editor and contributor for Seybold Publications, United Business Media and CNET, among many others, he’s had a ringside seat at the online publishing circus since the days of Netscape and Alta Vista. Today, he spends his days helping B2B marketers craft effective content marketing strategies – including mobile-ready content.

B2B Marketing Exchange
B2B Marketing Exchange East
Campaign Optimization Series
Buyer Insights & Intelligence Series
Strategy & Planning Series