Events have been the lifeblood of B2B Marketing - conferences, exhibitions and conferences. A destination where B2B buyers can network and exchange experiences.
Covid-19 changed all that.
As decision makers worked from home, the traditional mailer wasn't landing on the desk.
The cold call wasn't being transferred via switchboard.
The traditional techniques that B2B marketers previously relied on, were no longer working. Truth be told, they weren't really working anyway.
If anything, Covid-19 accelerated what was already happening within the B2B Marketing industry. A transformation towards digital inbound.
Demand Gen's 2020 B2B Buyer Behaviour Study also reflects this shift.
Whilst everyone thought buyers were turning a blind eye to online ads, this research would suggest differently:
7 in 10 respondents recall seeing ads from the winning vendors
Nearly 50% of those respondents said the ads contributed toward a positive impression of the vendor
When asked about the top five reasons for choosing a winning vendor over another vendor:
69% said that the B2B vendor “demonstrated a strong knowledge of the solution and the business landscape
62% said that the vendor “provided content that made it easier to build a business case for the purchase” was a strong factor.
This was followed by “provided higher-quality content” (55%), and “provided a better mix of content to help us through each stage of the decision-making process” (52%).
Dynamic visual content is what stops B2B buyers in their tracks. It captures attention and conveys information and insights in a way that other content doesn't.
According to Quartz Global Execs Study:
How buyers find that content is even more interesting.
Most will start with a web search (not surprising given that conferences are off the table at the moment).
Vendor websites also feature highly but not because they're a place where buyers can learn about your product, but because they're a place where your buyers realise that you understand their issues.
Educational content and 'findable' assets alongside customer testimonials and reviews will provide enough content for each stage of the buyer journey.
Enabling employees to be part of that buyer journey through content will help. Their networks will help the content reach audiences your brand won't touch and their authenticity will create content that's credible and relatable.
So, in conclusion, B2B marketers need to achieve a happy balance between the content they produce (type, topic, optimised for search) and the buyer journey. Randomly writing opinion led content isn't going to support your search strategy or relate to your buyer.
On top of that, understand the holistic impact their website can make when all these elements are hosted centrally.
Creating a picture of your digital buyer will help you understand the journey they take.
One final quick tip - focus less on creating new assets all the time. It's time to revisit what you have an spin it in several different ways.
For B2B marketers, the takeaway is to achieve a balance between web-indexed content (also optimizing content for social search) and user and peer reviews. The two feed off each other – favorable reviews and links can boost content visibility and content visibility can lead to more buyers seeing the reviews – so think about ways to integrate your “findable” assets with your most compelling reviews or the review sites you want decision makers to visit.