One thing about marketing is that it’s always changing. I work for a 20+ year old marketing agency, and we’ve had to “reinvent ourselves” several times over the last few decades. (Remember when cutting and pasting actually meant scissors and tape?)
Nothing over that time period has been as substantial as the changes over the last few years. Print is declining, Google has transformed online search to a conversation with open ended questions, and consumer behavior in general has evolved into a “tell me what I want to know – when I want to know it” norm.
Business buyers have also changed. With budgets slashed since 2008, and companies increasingly adopting policies that don’t allow gifts, B2B transactions are less about relationships and more about delivering the best value for the business. Business buyers are also consumers, at least in their personal time, and therefore are impacted by the same trends in their decision making processes – and most importantly, the way they go about consuming INFORMATION.
The importance of relationship has certainly not gone away, but the pressure to prove ROI and the ease of accessing information digitally has changed the game. From reputation, to “what have to proven to me lately about your expertise.”
What are some indicators that your B2B business should start content marketing?
1. Your Press Releases aren’t getting picked up – unless you pay.
This was the first indicator in our business that something was going on. We started to realize that the traditional lines of “separation of editorial and sales” had broken down as print media companies restructured in response the new consumer behavior. Native advertising is an alternative, but what happens when you have no choice but pay-to-play? [Answer: publish your content yourself – which leads us to point #2]
2. Your website hasn’t had new news posted to it since 2012
So you just redid your website, right? It was just a couple years ago. You set up a news section and were excited to post a few news items and maybe a video or two. Then the daily pressures to get things done took off, and low and behold, the last time you posted something was two years ago. Guess what, if this applies to you a) you’re not alone and b) I’m sorry friend, but you’ve been left behind. Over 50% of website traffic is mobile now, which means more than half of anyone trying to read your site is frustrated by really small type. If they are there at all. Google’s new algorithms prioritize sites with current content. That content has to be relevant enough that people are actually reading it. The more readers, the more Google authority you have, and along with some other factors, you’re back to the front page of a search like the good old days.
3. Your old way of getting new business isn’t working anymore
The new marketing environment is a great opportunity for you to have greater ownership in how you advertise your business. You no longer have to rely on print, TV and other websites run by other people to attract new business. Because of buyer behavior to search online for answers, and the ever-changing formulas to help them find exactly what they are looking for, you can – no, you should – take advantage of this opportunity to be a voice of knowledge in your line of business. When potential customers are out searching for help online, they will find you. When you show them you are an expert in your field (by providing them with relevant informative, valuable advice to help solve their problem), they will consider your business in their purchase decision.
If these things apply to you, it may be time to start Content Marketing your business. There are many ways to do this, both online and offline. We encourage you to investigate Content Marketing methods that apply to your type of business. Google it 😉