1. Longer purchase cycles than B2C
2. Requiring more content to support the decision - as making a purchase decision for a business is riskier for those involved. Making the wrong choice can cost an organization in many different ways. A poor decision could cost a decision maker his/her job.
3. Multiple people who influence the purchase decision
Content Marketing became increasingly critical as organizations implemented Marketing Automation Tools such as Eloqua, Marketo, and Pardot in the past decade. The success of these tools is dependent on leveraging a library of marketing content. Operating under the old mantra “Content is King” marketers published webinars, podcasts, white papers, case studies and comparison guides.
The purchase process of B2B prospects is changing dramatically:
1. Recent research by TechTarget shows that the IT B2B sales cycle has shrunk significantly in the past year.
· It is imperative to deliver marketing content to support a compressed purchase cycle.
2. Usage of mobile devices as tools to research and to stay connected via social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) has exploded. Prospects are more connected and dependent on their social media groups.
· Content needs to be available in smaller bites and optimized for smaller screens.
· Content Strategy needs to be designed to engage prospects - not just educate them.
3. Prospects are deluged with marketing content and are increasingly:
· Adept at tuning out marketing messaging.
· Seeking unbiased content shared by peers or influencers (via Twitter, LinkedIn Groups, Blogs)
· Making purchase decisions based upon what others are saying (versus outbound marketing messaging).
· Existing customers are your best sales people. Exceeding their expectations goes a long way in earning their support.
· Marketing Content must be worthy of sharing.
· Products/solutions must meet customer expectations - because more than ever before, they will be evaluated and judged in open forums.
The race is on. B2B marketers must evolve their Content Marketing Strategy to compete.