10 WAYS TO MAKE 2020
MARKETING YEAR YET
Who doesn’t love a good predictions piece to close out the year? We do.
But do you feel like those pieces often leave you yearning for something more? Something practical…even actionable? We definitely do.
So, the Content4Demand team decided to spotlight not just key trends, but what we believe are imperatives for success. Are you ready to have a killer 2020?
Let’s count down and gear up for an amazing year!
Focus on your new buyer.
of millennial buyers are the primary decision-makers at their company.
say they are key influencers and recommenders.
You’ve been hearing it for years, but it’s official: Millennials now play a critical role in the modern buying committee. In some cases, they’re even the primary decision-makers. What does that mean for your brand? Frankly, the core principles of “great content” haven’t changed; however, the trends you embrace will.
Understand the unique content preferences and consumption behaviors of this demographic:
What formats do they gravitate to?
How do they share content?
How do they gauge content as relevant or useful?
These things will impact your strategies, so take a careful look at the answers.
Navigating the decision-making process when you have to field questions and feedback from several stakeholders is frustrating, to say the least. As a marketer, you must shift your thinking from,“How can I stand out against all the other options?” to “How can I help them make this process easier or less painful?”
of millennial buyers believe there are too many people involved in the decision-making process at their company.
say their buying group is indecisive and misaligned.
Speak to the entire committee.
This is where buyer enablement content can help you. Buyer enablement content, according to Gartner, is designed to help your target clients get the critical information they need to validate and finalize a buying decision. It should focus on top-of-mind questions, proof points and even ROI rationale around a solution. Whether static or interactive, this content helps buyers cut through the clutter and call out key takeaways that address their committee’s decision-making criteria.
You just need to know what issues influence their committee most. Not sure where to start? Talk to your customers! They’re valuable sounding boards and will appreciate you asking about their day-to-day challenges, who they report to and collaborate with, and how you can help them influence the buying process in their organizations. All you have to do is send a quick email or pick up the phone.
Whether they’re making a purchase for their business or for their household, today’s buyers are more cognizant of “fake news,” PR stunts and marketing speak. Their guards are higher than ever, and 42% have even said that they don’t know which businesses they can trust.
of buyers said they place a higher emphasis on the trustworthiness of content sources.
prefer credible content from industry influencers.
Prioritize trust and credibility.
If this isn’t a call to arms for marketers around the world, we don’t know what is. We understand that you must prove the business value of your activities and that your campaigns and strategies largely funnel up to corporate go-to-market strategy. But now is the time to pause and take a hard look at what you’re saying to your audience and why. Focus on being truthful (and accurate). Focus on telling authentic stories that your buyers can relate to. Focus on offering tactical and tangible solutions to their pain points; not instilling fear, uncertainty and doubt. Your buyers will see you as helpful and certainly more trustworthy.
When asked how their content preferences have changed over the past year…
There are so many great tools and applications designed to make content more immersive and enjoyable for readers. Visual storytelling, interactivity, even podcasts and videos — all of them can help you tell you be more creative and tell stories that “wow” your audience. But sometimes, your buyers don’t want to be wowed. They just want to get the information they need to make the best decision. After all, their decision may cost them their credibility — even their jobs.
of B2B buyers believe content is more focused on style than substance.
Once your new content is out in the field, pay close attention to its performance. If it doesn’t resonate despite your consistent promotion, it may not be the right fit for your audience.
Get creative with your copywriting, but don’t overload content with marketing jargon and fluff.
Zero in on pain points, and offer practical solutions and takeaways.
Embrace interactivity to make content more engaging, but make sure the interactivity serves a purpose for your reader.
If you plan to dive into new content formats, great! Buyers are certainly looking for content that’s new and fresh. But it also needs to be meaningful and useful. That means…
It’s safe to say that “content experience” was one of the top (if not the top) marketing buzz phrases of 2019. But that doesn’t mean it’s going away in 2020. If anything, buyers will pay more attention to how you position and package your content so it’s easy to discover and consume.
of top content performers agree their organization provides optimal experiences across all phases of the customer journey.
of everyone else believes the same.
Think through the entire experience.
Take a hard look at how you publish and share content across channels. How are you making the experience easier and/or more relevant for your audience? For instance, buyers say they want content organized by issue or pain point (68%), industry/vertical (59%) and topic (57%). Some even want this content to be structured in a fluid, binge-able experience so they can consume a lot of content in one sitting.
Content experience is where you can have some fun, testing different design concepts and campaign structures — always asking yourself first, “will this experience be useful for my audience?” It’s also an area where you can stand out from your competitors.
Learn more about how you can use interactivity to make content more valuable for your buyers…and your colleagues.
B2B brands prioritize content creation for driving buzz and top-of-funnel awareness:
Diversify your content library.
The most critical gap to fill, we believe, is the elusive MOFU, or middle-of-funnel. This is the connecting point between high-level thought leadership and product-focused content — an area where a lot of companies still struggle. Why? Because the messaging is so difficult to perfect. At this stage, you begin to present possible solutions, spotlight key capabilities and even share imperatives for success. But if you share too much information about your brand or solution, it may come off as too salesy. A very delicate balance, indeed.
We understand why so many brands focus on creating top-of-funnel content. In order to generate enough leads for your campaigns, you need a lot of content that helps garner interest and build relationships. But the stark contrast in focus (and investment) between TOFU and the rest of the OFUs is jarring. You need enough content to fuel conversations and support buyers as they go through the remainder of the decision-making journey.
Despite buyers being busier than ever, they still rely on content to make buying decisions. Most still consume three to seven pieces before they speak with sales. You can help them maximize their time by embracing videos, podcasts and even interactive content. These formats make it easier to consume information — especially while doing something else.
of B2B buyers say they have less time to devote to reading and researching content, but many are willing to spend 10-plus minutes with interactive, visual and audio content.
Find new ways to maximize buyers’ time.
There’s a reason podcasts have exploded over the past year.
You can learn something new, get inspired or acquire a new tip or best practice while checking your inbox, eating lunch or commuting. Talk about a win-win! Plus, your buyers prefer content that’s shorter (93%) and easier to access on demand (86%). Isn’t it time you gave your buyers what they wanted?
Of course, we don’t believe this is enough reason to haphazardly hop on the latest content trend. Go back to what you know about your buyers. What content has performed best? What formats? What pieces have led to tangible business outcomes? Where can you take some risks? For instance, if webinars tend to perform very well, you may have an opportunity to test podcasts.
Content4Demand did a lot of interesting influencer work in 2019. We helped brands identify and engage significant influencer targets and develop consistent, multi-touch strategies that include their unique perspectives on market trends and issues. While they all had different goals and focal points, the most interesting takeaway was how their definition of “influencers” evolved.
colleagues and peers
user review sites
Expand your influencer community.
Rather than focusing solely on experts who top the curated lists of “people to follow on social media,” brands are bringing their clients and partners into the fold in order to bolster what makes them unique: their personal community. Some are even using reviews and feedback from “power users” to expand upon key proof points.
In 2020, we believe we’ll see more brands refine their definitions of “qualified influencers” and focus first and foremost on creating authentic and trustworthy content.
The content formats and resources B2B buyers find most valuable for researching purposes:
It seems a bit trite to do a Marie Kondo pun here, but we’re gonna do it: Only keep content that sparks joy. If it doesn’t, get rid of it.
Clean out your content closet.
Is this content still relevant?
Are there any references that seem outdated?
Is this content high quality?
Does this content speak to my target buyer(s)?
Does this content align to a specific stage of the buyer’s journey?
Can this content be reused or repurposed for different formats or audiences?
Are there any issues with this content that may impact the perception of credibility of our brand?
When you’re done, you should be able to gauge whether the content is good to use as-is or if it needs to be updated or removed from your library. But don’t cry over trashed content. It’s better to remove resources that pose little value to your audience or worse, could make your brand look bad. Plus, this exercise will help you identify gaps in your library and, as a result, spend your time and money more wisely.
of all B2B organizations have a documented content strategy, compared to 69% of the companies most successful at content marketing.
You may be asking: “What does that even mean?”
It means you should put a critical eye to your content and ensure that it aligns with your target audience and your strategic objectives.
Some days, being a marketer is exhausting. We only have so much time to put our heads down and do strategic work. In between meetings, we juggle copy deadlines and all the other last-minute asks from colleagues in sales, product marketing, PR and more. Now, we have to be creative, too?!
of B2B marketers had a marketing budget of less than $100,000 in 2019.
of B2B marketers say their organization has two to five internal team members dedicated to content marketing.
Be more efficient with your time and dollars.
That’s why in 2020, we’re encouraging more marketers to find ways to maximize their time by reusing and reimagining the content they already have. Once you assess and clean out your content inventory, you will have a viable list of ready-to-use content. With some creative thought, you can also find ways to spin this content for new verticals, accounts and even new formats. You’ll be surprised by how many great ideas you conjure up!
LET'S WORK ON YOUR
These trends may have you inspired and invigorated for 2020, but it’s easy to fall back into the status quo. The Content4Demand team can help you stay on track. Let’s schedule a strategy meeting to discuss your goals for 2020, brainstorm ideas and develop a plan to action.
10, 9a, 8, 4, 3 - Demand Gen Report survey, The B2B Millennial Buyer Survey Report: https://www.demandgenreport.com/resources/research/the-b2b-millennial-buyer-survey-report
9b - Gartner, The Marketer's Checklist to Get Buyer Enablement Content Right: https://www.gartner.com/en/marketing/insights/articles/the-marketers-checklist-to-get-buyer-enablement-content-right
7 - Forrester Consulting, Content Preferences Study 2019
6, 5, 2, 1 - MarketingProfs & Content Marketing Institute: 2020 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: https://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2019/41998/2020-b2b-content-marketing-benchmarks-budgets-and-trends-a-first-look-at-new-research