We’ve recently seen a few blogs about measuring the true value of content marketing, and whether it actually delivers any value at all. That got us at Marketing Fusion thinking.
We know there are people out there who think the term ‘content marketing’ is just hype, a passing phase, or another bandwagon to jump on. Many consumer and business brands that have invested in content marketing actually have a hard time measuring the effectiveness, benefits and ROI of their efforts. But here in B2B technology sector, things are a bit different – and we think content marketing has a well earned place at the promotional table.
For the B2B technology sector, content marketing it’s actually nothing new. We’ve always produced content to help sell products and solutions. Certainly the format has changed (think video, infographics and ebooks instead of datasheets and whitepapers), but it’s been a core part of the way we run campaigns.
I’ve worked at software companies where I was responsible for managing those campaigns, from coordinating the production of the assets internally, to managing the promotion schedule with our media agency. My title was Programs Manager. In other words, I was a campaigns manager. That job might equally be called Inbound Marketing Manager or Content Marketing Manager. The principles and ethos are still the same today as they were then – to provide materials that are valuable to your prospects at every stage of the buyer journey.
Inform, educate and empower
B2B technology marketing is a complex sector. We’re not selling soap, or hotel rooms, or makeup. We’re selling solutions to problems that sometimes the audience isn’t even aware of. So our marketing has to show we understand and empathise with their challenges. We need to quantify why that problem is serious enough to do something about it, for the good of the business. Then we need to demonstrate why we (you) are the best partner to work with and solve that problem.
But it doesn’t work in isolation. It won’t deliver results if you don’t have processes in place to manage delivery, track performance, capture leads and follow-up. It’s not a one hit wonder – it’s a strategic commitment.
So yes, content marketing may be a fairly new label in the marketing world but the principles have been around for a long time. And here in the B2B world, we stand by that. It challenges companies to share insights and information for free to attract prospects and demonstrate credibility. It means we have to be brave, bold and willing to stick our necks out. But it’s not risky, whatever you might think. In fact, by not participating in the conversation at this level, you risk simply being ignored in the buying journey.
So let’s keep the faith in content marketing.