Fairly recently, I had a bone to pick with marketing. Specifically, B2B marketing. All around me, I watched as consumers began consuming content differently. They’d listen to a podcast on their commute, watch a YouTube video during their lunch break and stream Hulu or HBO Max once they got home. Everyone everywhere was eagerly eating up on-demand content — except in the B2B world.
I had to wonder: Why would our B2B audiences be any different in their content consumption than the masses? People, after all, are people. It got me thinking more about the importance of on-demand content in the B2B industry, and how we can make the most of its potential. Here’s my take.
Every Company Is Becoming A Media Company
Throughout my career, I’ve noticed something: Most companies don’t do a good job with storytelling. But once upon a time, that wasn’t so big of a deal. You’d just buy a 30-second commercial spot during the Super Bowl and voila — your brand had all the attention it needed. But today, such an approach won’t even come close to cutting it. With geo-targeting, digital marketing and data, data everywhere, companies must be excellent storytellers and their own media companies.
For example, consider Demandbase. We’re a B2B technology company, and yet, we’re a media company. We have a streaming video site, a blog, a podcast and continuous content in a variety of channels. While that alone is cool, the reason it matters is because content has an impact. With all the data we collect, it’s incredibly clear that content greatly influences all aspects of a business, including sales and pipeline.
Empowering ‘Click & Go’ Purchases With Content
Content is an excellent way to drive buyers closer to purchase. As an example, you might educate them with a blog post then invite them to participate in a demo that leads to a sale. When mapping out content, ask yourself how it will get people in your pipeline and then ultimately encourage them to make a purchase. Also keep in mind that buying journeys are constantly changing.
At one point recently, a chief technology officer was the one who would sign off on buying a piece of technology. But today, buying situations are not so centralized. Instead, vice presidents and even directors are often given the authority to make purchases. And people are increasingly becoming self-service buyers. So, how do you use content to cater to this changing landscape? Make it as easy as possible for folks in a variety of roles to purchase what you sell, and then use content to cross-sell and upsell.
Quality Reigns Supreme
Finally, content being available on-demand isn’t enough; it must be good. Even if someone is skeptical about the motivations behind an article written by an advertiser, they’ll read it if it’s high-quality. Focusing on creating meaningful, educational and entertaining content is what will ensure your organization becomes a true storyteller and not just another voice adding to the noise.
Think of putting out content that’s almost journalistic in nature, as the lack of bias and emphasis on facts will naturally elevate its quality. Furthermore, it will help your readers and viewers to trust you. If they trust you, they’ll be much more willing to buy from you. See where I’m going with this? So, put some effort into brand journalism — and be human in how you communicate. No jargon, nothing fancy. Speak like a human and you will connect with them; they’ll click on your link, buy what you sell and ultimately become loyal.
On-demand content has become the go-to source of information and entertainment for consumers, and the B2B audience is no exception. Work to become your own media company, use content to enable easy purchases and keep quality at the top of your list. If you do, you’ll reach buyers, build trust and grow your business.
Jon Lieberman is the VP of Content at Demandbase, an end-to-end ABM platform. Lieberman led the team that created the first B2B streaming network of its kind, DBTV.