Content is not only an essential part of the B2B marketer’s playbook, but also is considered an important factor to the company’s bottom line in the eyes of the C-level execs.
In the final panel discussion at the annual B2B Content2Conversion Conference — hosted by Content4Demand and Demand Gen Report — C-suite executives from Siegel+Gale, McGraw Hill Financial, SAP and Goldman Sachs shared their perspectives on how content is impacting the B2B landscape.
“Content is a powerful tool not just for conversion, but for engagement,” said Margaret Molloy, CMO of Siegel+Gale. “It has the potential to grow your brand, embrace your brand, and lift your brand.”
The panelists agreed that while companies are using content to convert deals, it is the most effective as a communication tool that promotes buyer engagement — helping the audience move on down the buying funnel.
“I believe that the best approach to content is to understand that there’s content to conversion, and there’s content to conversation,” said Ted Smyth, EVP of Corporate Affairs at McGraw Hill Financial. “It’s about creating more brand awareness by leveraging content to enhance customer engagement.”
Building transparency and understanding is crucial when it comes to creating a positive relationship with prospective buyers, according to Amanda Rubin, Managing Director for Brand Marketing and Digital Strategy, Americas, Goldman Sachs.
Rubin added that “with [Goldman Sachs’] content, we strive to meet these three goals: transparency, understanding and value. In the end, the added value is what’s crucial to a beneficial relationship.”
Transparency does not mean that the content production process needs to be complicated and tedious. While a lot of time and analysis go into creating precisely personalized content for various segments of a target audience, that doesn’t mean that the content has to be as complex as the analytics.
“Simplicity is the one thing that many large organizations struggle with,” said Tim Clark, Head of Brand Journalism at SAP. “What we’ve learned is that it is not the best approach to try and corral all of the complexity in order to find a solution. You need to be willing to delegate tasks to dependable employees throughout the content creation and content promotion strategies.”
Modesty And Storytelling Boost Content
One of the biggest misconceptions marketers have is that content is just another outlet to promote your company’s offerings. While it’s true that content can be used to show the positive impact of your solution or services, shameless self-promotion does nothing but turn your target audience against you. Staying humble, and showing that the audience’s best interests are your best interest, is key towards effective and engaging content.
“It’s important to embrace humility when creating content for your audience,” said Rubin. “The world changes so quickly on a daily basis, making it never a good idea to give off an impression that you know everything. Stay curious, and offer content that keeps your audience curious.”
As mentioned several times throughout the conference, making sure that the content is telling a story that is relatable with the audience has become key to the content’s overall success. Keeping to a story aids marketers from turning their content into another promotional soap box.
“When it comes to your content, tell the story you want to tell,”said Clark. “Don’t lard the story with a bunch of corporate jargon. Use your data to pull in personal experiences and make it fun for buyers to engage with the content.”
Smyth also added that “[content marketers] have to inspire and lift the content marketing game. The masses are not asses; we have to do more of everything to drive engagement. It just has to be new.”