Content marketing presents challenges in any industry but especially in B2B technology. The hours spent creating, distributing and measuring content while trying to educate an audience about complex technologies and what they can do for businesses, can mean long sales cycles. It’s not all doom and gloom though, here are some effective ways you can get the most out of your content.
The current state of B2B tech marketing
The vast majority of B2B tech marketers are using content marketing, according to The Content Marketing Institute. While it’s great that tech companies are seeing the need for change in their marketing channels, many of them are having problems getting the full potential out of their campaigns, stating that producing engaging content, measuring effectiveness, creating consistently and gauging the ROI as some of the biggest challenges they face.
But less than a third of B2B marketers think that their content marketing is effective, meaning many businesses could be flushing their marketing budget down the toilet. This number is on the decline as well, with the report showing this number is down 4 percent from the previous year. So what can B2B tech marketers do to create an effective content strategy?
Why product focus isn’t enough
Tech companies often focus a huge chunk of their budgets on marketing their products. The smallest detail of a product’s functionality, security or usability can be the tipping point of a sale, so it’s easy to get caught up trying to showcase your product in your content marketing, not wanting to miss the chance to cover every aspect of what makes it different from your competitors.
However, instead of focusing solely on product features and positioning, you should think about a longer-term strategy that adds value and educates your audience.
Heavily branded and product-focused content appeals to only a small number of people, typically those who are already loyal to your brand. If you are creating top-of-funnel content to bring in new customers, this type of content will be ineffective as it is read as “self-serving” by the reader, making it hard for them to empathise and build a relationship with your brand.
Everyone hates ads
According to emarketer, 12 million people in the UK are using ad blockers, showing continued growth in consumer dislike of advertising. In the UK, over a third of people surveyed reported disliking advertisements, with just over half being indifferent towards them. If advertisements are your main marketing channel you are missing out on connecting with this huge section of the market.
A common trope that marketers tell themselves is that “consumers don’t hate ads they just hate bad ads” but this is categorically untrue. Accepting that your audience dislikes ads should not be seen as negative, rather as realistic and something that can be used to improve your marketing, as you put the focus on high-quality content instead.
Creating a compelling brand story
A key issue that affects many B2B companies, but tech companies in particular, is creating a compelling brand story that sets you apart from your audience. Creating a genuine and engaging story telling your audience where you came from, what your values are and what you are trying to achieve, can be just as important as the product you are trying to get them to buy.
Too many tech companies lose their voice, getting caught up in the complexities and technical jargon of their product forgetting to market what makes them unique and tell their own story. These companies all end up blurring into one as there are not enough identifying factors in the brand’s story to make them stand out, giving them nothing to set them apart and identify them as a thought leader.
Create top quality content with your tech expertise
The best way to establish yourself as a thought leader and set your tech company apart from others is to use your individual expertise. B2B technology buyers crave information, so share with them your knowledge in easily digestible content.
Create regular content in the form of whitepapers, podcasts and blogs so that your audience can follow you as a recognised industry expert. Your individual experiences, stories and business practices can all be shared as valuable information with other technology professionals and help set your brand apart.
Your senior executives will have a wealth of information that can be utilised when creating content and getting their insight when creating blogs and other media will mean your content will start to make waves in your sector. Not only is it important to use your individual expertise in technology but use the skills of your marketers who can help executives communicate their knowledge in bold and exciting new ways, to generate the most engagement.
This might seem that as a B2B tech marketer you have a lot to worry about, but the great thing about all these issues that B2B tech companies are facing is that they are completely within the control of marketers to fix. Creating content with your audience in mind and putting the focus on insights, expertise and added value over product specs, ads and branded content will help you get an edge over your competitors and generate a greater ROI on your content.