From The Editor | November 28, 2017

An Examination Of The State Of B2B Content Marketing And 2 Take-Aways

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By Travis Kennedy

An Examination Of The State Of B2B Content Marketing And 2 Take-Aways

Recently, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) released its annual study of content marketing and its effectiveness in a B2B setting.  In the 2017 version of the survey, there were a number of important talking points and insights that give an indication of what is working and also what still needs to be improved upon. 

There were two very specific points of feedback that are quite pertinent to the water and wastewater market.  It’s these two main points that can help you shape your 2018 content marketing plan:

  1. B2B manufacturers are moving towards a centralized person or small team of people to operate the content marketing department and its initiatives. 

Historically, content marketing and brand publishing were handled as off-the-side-of-desk activities shared among numerous people across a number of departments within the organization.  The 2017 survey notes that 92 percent of respondents have some form of a centralized team now running content marketing.  This small dedicated group most commonly works with multiple brands and product lines which is a large pivot in this market specifically. 

Marketing to the water and wastewater industry, up until a few years ago, has always been dominated by product-centric and “salesy” presentation themes.  In many cases, a product manager would work with a marketing manager to create sales collateral and in turn make that sales collateral into a display advertisement.  Today however, that paradigm has shifted.  More and more manufacturers are employing a content team or person to work with their product experts as a resource to tell a story, create content and be relatable vs. sales pitchy.

  1. Content needs to mirror the Buyer’s journey.

There have been numerous articles written on this site about this topic.  The Buyers journey is not a one-stop trip and your content shouldn’t be a one-stop shop.  CMI’s study reflects that 72 percent of respondents are concerned with how content impacts customer experience.  That’s surprising when only 41 percent of B2B marketers claim to create content based on the Buyer’s journey.  Satisfaction of customer experience is based, in large part, on their journey through the sales process.  In 2018 it will be even more important to incorporate a path outline to the content you are generating.  Understand your buyers’ journeys and how you are interacting with them during those journeys.

Buyers need different pieces of content at different times throughout their journey (a journey that hopefully leads them right to you).  One of the most important steps to achieving content marketing success is ensuring that you have content for the right audience at the right time. 

There is little doubt that content is becoming an even larger part of the B2B marketing landscape heading into next year.  If done correctly it will continue to lead the way for your company in 2018.  Content equals engagement, engagement equals time, and if you have their time… you have it all.

Image credit: "Salford Business School launches unique open access online course," University of Salford Press Office 2013, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/