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B2B doesn’t need to mean “boring to boring” and yet much of business marketing has earned its reputation. In a world of information overload, buyers expect engaging content from sources they can trust.
So what’s the solution for marketers that want to break free of boring B2B marketing?
Since 81% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs attention more effectively than static content (CMI) and 70% say interactive content is effective at converting site visitors (ion interactive), B2B marketers need move away from simply educating and to start creating content experiences that allow customers to engage.
One solution is to plan engaging B2B content based on insights about what buyers really want and then create content experiences that are both informative and entertaining. That solution would also include enlisting 3rd party experts with active social networks to contribute and promote the content. We can’t forget proactive monitoring and performance optimization through creative repurposing as well.
The solution I describe above is exactly what we’re doing with our newest interactive guide, Break Free of Boring B2B.
In addition to using feedback and insights from our community and customers to inspire our approach, we’ve tapped the expertise of B2BMX keynote speakers David Meerman Scott, Tim Washer and Brian Fanzo along with B2B marketing experts Ardath Albee, Michael Brenner, Pam Didner and B2B brand pros from companies like 3M, Google, Demandbase, PTC, Fuze, Terminus and CA Technologies to share their best B2B content marketing advice. And we’ve packaged all that wisdom in a fun, infotaining and interactive guide.
Organized into sections that include: B2B content marketing planning, creation, promotion and reporting, this guide will inspire you to break free of boring B2B and never look back. Besides, those are lasers coming out of the bear’s eyes and you know what they say about looking at lasers.
One of the reasons I love my job is that my team and I get to work with some of the top brands, people and ideas in the B2B marketing world.
To make it easy for you to share the smart insights contributed by our B2B marketing experts, here is a summary of each section plus a few social media friendly quotes:
Break Free B2B Content Planning:
Autopilot marketing planning simply cannot inspire breakthrough content needed to stand out in a world of information overload. That’s a problem because undiscovered content is boring!
To break free towards more exciting and engaging marketing, B2B brands need to stop thinking only about themselves and connect on a more human level. Plan content that communicates with customers like real people and it will help build a strong community. A community that’s interested in what the B2B brand has to say.
“B2B Brands can be so much more interesting if we stop talking about ourselves and our products and tap into raw human emotion.” Michael Brenner – CEO, Marketing Insider Group Tweet this
“We must synthesize the throughput and format models of publishing with those of social innovation and entrepreneurship.” Carlos Abler – Leader: Content Marketing & Strategy, Global eTransformation, 3M Tweet this
“To go from boring to remarkable, marketing doesn’t have to be loud or flashy. Show up daily (consistent), be yourself (authentic), and become a guide (add value). Sangram Vajre – Chief Evangelist and Co-Founder, Terminus Tweet this
“Great content isn’t about platitudes. It’s about provocation. Incitement. Taking a stand and making your audience think in a new way.” Peter Isaacson – Chief Marketing Officer, Demandbase Tweet this
Break Free B2B Content Creation:
Creating B2B content that isn’t boring requires more than a clever twist on the facts. Facts tell, but it’s stories that sell. Inspiration and motivation are what drive action out of content creation. But what stories should B2B brands tell, especially if the solution is complex? The answer is with your customers and understanding their pain, goals and preferences.
“All it would take to bring B2B campaigns to the next level is a deeper narrative that triggers our target audience to take an action and positively change the world!” Masha Finkelstein – Growth Marketing, Devices and Mobility, Google Cloud Tweet this
“Always remember that you are communicating to people. You need to understand your buyer personas, their problems, the words and phrases they use and how you can connect with them.” David Meerman Scott – Keynote Speak & Bestselling Author, Freshspot Marketing Tweet this
“With some creativity and a metaphor, you can really draw attention and have people think differently. Think comparison and focus on creating a mind picture for an instant ‘aha.’” Ardath Albee – CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist, Marketing Interactions Tweet this
“This is a time for brands to be authentic and vulnerable by telling stories of the failures they made along the way to success. It’s a time to use humor to connect with empathy.” Tim Washer – Keynote Speaker, Event Emcee and PowerPoint Comedian, Ridiculous Media Tweet this
Break Free B2B Content Promotion:
Not many B2B marketers realize it, but content promotion is a team sport. That’s why inviting industry experts to contribute to content that showcases their expertise in an experiential way inspires the pride that will motivate effective sharing. Those experiences can be created with a more visual, interactive approach.
“If we shift focus to creating content less often while spending more time creating conversations with personalized content for individual communities, it will excite and inspire the audience to want more.” Brian Fanzo – Founder & CEO, iSocialFanz LLC Tweet this
“To spice up content promotion, B2B marketers should optimize for experience by incorporating story, interactive content and influencers.” Lee Odden – Co-Founder & CEO, TopRank Marketing Tweet this
“Contrary to popular belief, people do still read traditional content forms like whitepapers, eBooks and case studies, but first you’ll need to pull them in with attention-grabbing visuals that show them what they’ll get.” Michelle Liro – Vice President of Demand Generation, PTC Tweet this
Break Free B2B Content Reporting:
Marketing performance is exciting when you can use data visualization and stories about how your marketing has shortened the sales cycle, helped close more deals or improve customer satisfaction. Give context for the metrics you provide so the point of comparison can communicate the real value and impact of your marketing efforts.
“To make content marketing reporting less boring, show how your content has sped up the sales process, influenced opportunities, closed deals, built awareness, created champions, or improved customer satisfaction.” Amanda Maksymiw – Content Marketing Director, Fuze Tweet this
“Break through the boring clutter of tabular data and graphs with insights, data visualization and customer stories that reflect actionable opportunities.” Pam Didner – CEO, Author and Speaker, Relentless Pursuit Tweet this
“When presenting marketing performance information, be able to answer: Why does this report matter? Lead with this in one crisp sentence, or share this directly after presenting the key metric.” Andrew Spoeth – Board Advisor, Digital Marketing Executive, formerly with CA Technologies Tweet this
A huge thank you to the B2B marketing experts who contributed to this guide including Michael Brenner, Carlos Abler, Sangram Vajre, Peter Isaacson, Masha Finkelstein, David Meerman Scott, Ardath Albee, Tim Washer, Brian Fanzo, Michelle Liro, Amanda Maksymiw, Pam Didner, and Andrew Spoeth! You can see all of these pros live as they present at the B2BMX conference February 25-27th.
Walk the talk. Of course I will be digging in to this topic at the upcoming B2B Marketing Exchange conference in Scottsdale in my presentation, Break Free of Boring B2B with Interactive Influencer Content Tuesday, February 26th at 11:25am.
There I will highlight the best interactive content and influencer marketing practices for B2B and case studies featuring campaigns that generated over 20 million organic views, over 600% greater engagement and huge ROI for brands like 3M, SAP, Prophix and LinkedIn. You won’t want to miss it!
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