We have figured out the good news about creating and distributing content in B2B marketing.
Before we share the good news, we would like to align our philosophy of using Account Based Marketing strategies (ABM) with our readers’ perspective on B2B marketing.
B2B marketers have to deal with a group of people and not a single person while influencing a purchase decision. This means B2B marketers have to be omnipresent across every single channel that is used by these groups of collective decision-makers in the process of making a purchase. This gets complex as you climb up the pyramid of a purchase cycle. It is observed that different channels influence a client to act differently in terms of making a purchase. They consume different objectives of Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action (AIDA) across each of these channels. So how should content be implemented for Account Based Marketing strategies?
Now, here is the good news.
ABM allows sketching defined buyer paths as a process of converting a prospect into a customer. This path helps in allocating and assigning content that is extremely relevant and objective to the buyer’s expectations of the B2B brand/product/service.
The role of content is hence, very different for each stage of AIDA and for each path that the buyer chooses.
To explain the role of account-based marketing content, we will first explain its importance and then use an optimized content flow, mapping a buyer’s journey.
Importance of Content in ABM
CMO Council states that 90 percent B2B buyers find online content influences moderately to majorly their purchasing decisions.
Elements of this content flow could be further expanded or eliminated based on your specific needs. It is noted that 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process. That speaks about where exactly you need to push your content — online. There are a few factors that will help in creating a better buyer journey.
Definition of Content
Content is not just about articles and case studies, the definition needs to be broader to include infographics, videos, emails, and so on. Their influence is equally growing in the case of B2B decision makers. Infographic search volumes have increased by over 800% in the last few years.
To execute content production and marketing for an ABM approach, you could choose technology that is either an exclusive ABM SaaS platform or a marketing solution that can be integrated into other systems for seamless execution.
The medium or device used to consume content is shifting drastically from offices to on the go. Campaign Manager has discovered that over half (53%) of emails are opened on mobile devices.
Though the same product is sold to different customers, each of them come with a different set of characteristics and approach to move towards a purchase decision. To best serve their interests, using personas to map their buying journey turns out to be effective. Over 50% of B2B marketers find that buyer personas helped them discover important new insights or corrected
Frequency and Timing
It is noted that higher frequency, appropriate timing (day and time in a week) associated with content quality, and length of article/content influence the purchase decision to a great extent.
Buyer’s Journey and Content Flow
Content helps in building certain characteristics of a client-vendor relationship even before making a purchase and engaging with the salesperson. It further helps in upselling and cross-selling. We have mapped the buyer’s journey across several stages that will help you create relevant content for your prospect and customer.
We have used a linear approach in listing the different stages of a buyer’s journey. However, for pragmatic reasons, you could place them in a non-linear context, which will keep it more realistic.
Convergence: Customer Profiling
In most online interactions, irrespective of the channel, a prospect with her team explore options to educate oneself about a solution. Such inquiry thrives among known communities, professional acquaintances, organization representatives, and publications. These come with inflection points that build the first level of brand advocacy or loyalty.
Educative content, sometimes even entertaining is what works here. With the implementation of customer profiling in ABM, content is required to meet the expectations of each profile. Some content could be generated preemptively using profile data rather than based on wild guesses.
Content channel paths converge and that is where the content pyramid of the buying journey begins. This convergence leads to the need for educative content.
Engaging: Laser-focused Information
Now that you know who you are targeting, you know the type of content they choose to engage with. It could be short or long-form content, video, infographics, surveys, news articles, guest posts, or any other unique form that would keep the prospect warm until they share a strong desire to explore your brand’s solution.
While the content could be built on a common structure, it could be further customized for the CFO, CMO, CEO, CIO, or CTO. The list can go on for the entire C-suite. Each of these heads looks for a different angle to stay convinced that your solution would benefit their organization.
Nurturing: Personalization & Consistency
Content would get hyper-specific and numerical at a nurturing stage. A lot of case studies, whitepapers, and first-hand testimonials are consumed for validation. ABM advocates personalizing these reports to answer specific information gaps of the customer or prospect.
Since ABM is not just about online marketing, content needs to be generated with equal importance for offline distribution. A repository of consistent content for offline marketing activities like workshops, sponsor events, PR meets and other conferences, need to be produced and made available.
Cohesion: Sales and Marketing Alignment
This element sets apart ABM technology from other B2B marketing strategies — sales and marketing alignment. The sales team may not know everything about the content that is created and distributed by the marketing team. Hence, the entire content library needs to be made available to the sales team as much as it is made available to the customer or prospect.
This ensures cohesion in the communication process between the sales rep and prospect.
Also, when a prospect is getting stuck in the purchase process, the marketing team could share relevant content with the prospect after confirming the drag with the salesperson.
Different modes of personalizing Content by Account-Based Marketers
In the mesh of content placement, where would you place customized content and how would you change it?
Personalization is a root principle of ABM. Unlike, inbound marketing or untargeted outbound marketing, ABM uses a few highly focused means to personalize and distribute content. Some ways through which account-based marketing content can be personalized are:
There is software that provides information about demography and interests using the IP addresses. Data about the type of websites a person visits, and the kind of information they consume provide realistic insights to implement a personalized content plan.
Social profiles are easily accessible, but little is done to make most use of them. Social platforms provide all the data that a marketer needs to target those people. Programmatic efforts and integration with chatbots are some ways of customizing content across social profiles.
Many brands and content websites encourage visitors to register on their property. This not only provides information about the account holder but also creates multiple opportunities for the marketer to engage with the members at a personal level. The data provided by members are further used to create customized communication for the registered members on the website.
Content Consumption Path
Reading patterns of how a prospect consumes content on your website also helps in creating personalized content. For instance, studying which white papers have been downloaded, how many times was the video viewed, and the pattern of sharing content, tells about the prospect. These paths are typically non-linear and hence content needs to be customized for each channel, its corresponding buying stage, and audience.
At the end of each marketing cycle, you can measure the performance of each content type against different audiences. Using analytics, you can identify the best and worst performing content in each channel and boost or eliminate such content respectively.
These are a few cues used to personalize content, but there are also some places through the buyer’s journey where content could be personalized.
- Email marketing
- Account specific subdomains
- Call-to-actions (CTAs)
- Landing pages
While we have emphasized enough the role and importance of content in account-based marketing, we want to share where to start in implementing the above hacks. More and more B2B Marketers see producing content consistently as a top content marketing challenge. While we could help you with that, you can get started by using Linkedin to execute this strategy.
Hubspot has identified that companies that blog 15 or more times per month drive 5x more traffic than companies that don’t blog and also 80% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn. Now you have all good reasons to get started.
If you want to expedite your content marketing exercise or need help in moving forward, feel free to reach out to us.