2020 B2B Content Marketing Research: How To Improve Your Results - Heidi Cohen

Last updated: 10-27-2019

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2020 B2B Content Marketing Research: How To Improve Your Results - Heidi Cohen

Can B2B content marketers improve their business results in this environment?

I ask myself this question on a regular basis.

Because we’re at an important point where outside factors create incredible marketing opportunities—and challenges!

Beyond global economic uncertainty, we’re in the midst of a seismic shift in marketing due to the convergence of: 

Together these elements provide exciting opportunities to transform marketing across the B2B organization. (BTW–Engagio’s Jon Miller feels this way too.)

Against this background, Gartner B2B Sales Research underscores the power of content to help B2B buyers. 

As content marketers, we need to create quality content across the entire buyer journey including post-purchase. 

To do so effectively, we must change the internal conversation to develop supportive relationships while dismantling internal silos and political fiefdoms.

In the process, let’s help other departments improve their content, information and data to meet their business needs, not turn it into marketing! 

Against this dynamic landscape, Content Marketing Institute / MarketingProfs’s 2020 B2B Content Marketing Research provides insights and a roadmap for astute marketers. (Big tip of my orange beret to Ann Handley, Stephanie Stahl and the rest of the CMI team.)

So, let’s see how you can use it to improve your content marketing.

B2B content marketers top 3 goals reflect core elements of marketing but can’t often demonstrate measurable business value. So they’re often less valued within the business!

As important marketing activities, they take time to yield results. Further, in today’s connected, always-on world, one misstep can damage your brand and/or your trustworthiness.

BUT more important for the c-suite: Marketing must show results in financial terms. [ Although ⅔ of CMOs can’t do this! (CMO Survey 2019) ]

To align goals with core business objectives and show financial results, B2B marketing must: 

Further, building a subscriber base and acquiring sales leads should be closer to 100% because these 2 attributes are at the heart of B2B marketing success!

While B2B marketers give lip service to driving sales, saving costs, and building business value, their content doesn’t support these objectives! 

According to CMI’s 2020 B2B Content Marketing Research, most content focuses on the initial buying stages:

This emphasis on building awareness content hurts your ability to show measurable results across the entire B2B purchase journey including post-sale.

Further, this content breakout brings into question B2B marketers’ ability to offer consistent customer experiences along the entire purchase journey. So it’s no surprise that52% of respondents believe that they provide an optimal customer experience. 

Only 1 out of 10 B2B marketers create content supporting post-purchase; most marketers view their work as finished at that point.

Without this knowledge, you can’t improve your content quality, distribution or conversion! 

While you may have information on your buying audience and marketing personas, you risk not knowing the full breadth of your ”true” buyer audience and their purchase influencers due to the current seismic shift.

Even worse, you may overlook members of the buying team or lack sufficient detail to differentiate and personalize your content!

Given the seismic shift in marketing, B2B marketers must be able to:

One in five B2B content marketers creates content for 6+ segments despite the fact that the average B2B buyer group consists of 6 to 10 people.While Gartner doesn’t break out buyers by job title, they probably represent different areas. In my experience, acquiring the wrong or poor quality audience data translates to lower customer conversion and low-value customers.

Further, end-users and others need content to integrate your product or service into their organization. Instead of creating new content from scratch, re-envision it to meet their objectives. 

To improve content distribution and conversion, understand target audience segments and the context in which they want or seek your message. So you need to know them better. For B2B businesses, this can be difficult due to friction between marketing and sales. Until you truly know your audience, your results won’t deliver. 

Since 40% experienced B2B buyers’ remorse extend your content marketing to support buyers post-purchaseto assuage regrets and build customer loyalty.

Based on Content Marketing Institute / MarketingProfs’s 2020 B2B Content Marketing Research, B2B Content Marketers understand where they should focus their strategy and priorities.

Unfortunately, their content and related work still lags when it comes to implementation.

Why? Because, today, content marketing doesn’t exist without support from sales and other areas.

As a result, we can use these findings to adjust our content marketing plans going forward. Even better, for many marketers, this means improving the basics of our existing strategies and applying new rigor to following best practices in light of the seismic shift in marketing and the B2B content marketing opportunity.

How do you do this? One step at a time.

Go on, use this opportunity to improve your content marketing.

While you’re at it, let your career shine!

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