Before embarking on any new marketing initiative or trying a new tactic, B2B marketers need to answer and essential question: Why?
While most B2B marketers won’t admit it, many still practice some “spaghetti/wall marketing” wherein each year they throw new digital tactics “against the wall” to see what sticks without really knowing why a tactic would work for their audience over another.
This is not to say that you should stifle your desire to innovate and try new things. But you need to be strategic and test. I would challenge more marketers to do more research around customer insights and preferences so that any changes they make are driven by data and informed hypothesis—rather than simply trying new things to see if they will work.
Focusing Your Data Lens
For content, we focus on three types of customer data:
Discovery: Where, when, and how buyers find information that helps them identify a solution.
Consumption: Preferences for channels, content types, topics, formats, devices, and experience.
Action: What triggers will motivate the desired action.
With buyer discovery, consumption, and action metrics, you’ll know how to create awareness, great customer engagement, and compelling offers that matter to your customers. And you’ll always know which approach to use to improve your marketing because it will be customer driven.
A New View of Content
What does that customer driven content look like in today’s landscape? It’s data-informed. It’s interactive. It’s influential.
For example, client Prophix provides Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software in an industry not known for exciting marketing. With an understanding that B2B buyers are also consumers, they decided to launch campaigns that would go beyond educating buyers to “info-taining” them.
To create a standout content experience for their annual report for the financial planning and accounting industry, they brought together financial industry influencers with an interactive online game. The quiz-themed game asked questions using data from the report as well as from the influencers who were represented as avatars within the game.
With a taste for what interactive content and working with industry influencers for content and promotion can do, Prophix followed up with another campaign featuring a simulated voice assistant named Penny.
An interactive microsite highlighted the intersection of finance and artificial intelligence with Penny as the guide. By interacting with Penny, users were able to access a group of influencers that provided their expertise via audio and text. The microsite had 189% more views than the benchmark and 642% more engagement.
By taking what is often called “boring-to-boring” content and packaging it as an interactive experience with trusted experts providing useful information, Prophix was able to realize their “new lens” of marketing as something that was beyond a shiny object. It was effective marketing.
An Eye to the Future of B2B Marketing
B2B brands are increasingly investing in interactive influencer marketing to engage with industry influencers and co-create content that is packaged with brand content in an experience that is engaging for influencers and buyers alike.
The sheer volume of information and media that confronts people in the business world is overwhelming and often pretty boring. Creating compelling experiences with interactive content is one way to stand out, differentiate, and optimize for effectiveness. At the same time, buyers don’t trust advertising or brand marketing messages. Co-creating content with trusted experts brings credibility and interest to the brand message.
My upcoming presentation at the 2019 Clever Content Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 will help B2B marketers understand how to “break free of boring B2B” by exploring the top interactive formats, best practices for influencer engagement and case studies featuring mid-market and large enterprise B2B brands doing interactive influencer marketing right. Learn more about my presentation here.
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