Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How do you Prioritize Content Marketing in B2B?

I recently read an article that outlined some important considerations for leveraging your company's content for marketing purposes. My favorite highlights from the article are quoted below.

It can be extremely difficult not only to produce a good quantity of unique and valuable content but also to match it up to the right stage in the buying cycle. This is even more difficult for companies that have a lot of solutions, like Perficient does, or who want to target that content by industry, geography or other data points.

We break our content down into several types:

  • Website Copy
  • Blog Articles: We have four active blogs with over 30 people blogging on behalf of the company right now.
  • Twitter & other social media content (Example: @Perficient)
  • Whitepapers
  • Webinars: both video replays and slide shows
  • Video Content: in the form of tutorials, demos, interviews, panels, speakers, events, and more.
  • Solution Sheets 
  • Case Studies
  • Podcasts / Audio Files
  • Email Newsletters
It has been an ongoing effort to tag all of this content to appropriate solution-based categories and or target market segments in order to promote and leverage them in the right way for lead generation purposes. More importantly, in our industry, insights and techniques can become outdated very quickly, so keeping on top of these assets and updating them frequently is very important. 

Some of my goals as a B2B marketer involve taking this list of assets and doing just what the article referenced emphasizes is so important:
  1. Make all unique content easily sharable - across social networks and via email.
  2. Evolve the content experience from A) providing insightful value to the reader - to B) demonstrating the wealth of thought leadership at my firm - to C) solving a business need. 
If you work in B2B, what types of content are you prioritizing in your marketing efforts? Are you trying anything different from my list above? 

Social media has expanded both the need and the reach of content.
One of the strengths of social media is to drive awareness of a company, product or service. Many B2B marketers set up Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages to promote product launches, trade show events and other company-centric ideas.
Content generated leads can be tracked in a company’s CRM system, along with the description of the content that drove the lead.
As buyers move into the consideration phase, they are looking for more than just product information. They are looking for solutions to business problems.
Customers are doing more online research before purchase than ever before, and are further in the buying cycle before they ever have a conversation with a salesperson. This makes it vitally important to have consumable content, easily available and shareable, to keep a company’s products relevant and appearing in search results.
According to a study by strategy consulting firm AMR International, the first and third priorities for B2B online marketers are lead generation (38%) and awareness (28%).
While the second priority in this survey was customer retention, an important online tactic, there is no mention of middle of the funnel marketing.
B2B marketers need to respond to the changing online environment and changing needs of prospects to make more information available on social platforms and in shareable formats
All social content needs to be created with two thoughts in mind. Does this show a prospect how their business need can be solved, and would they be willing to share this with other connections online?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

4 Must-Attend STL Marketing Events in the Next 30 days - #SMCSTL

Note: I edited this post to "4 Must-Attend STL Marketing Events in the Next 30 Days" instead of "3" because somehow I thought the highly anticipated "State of Online Influence" event was next month, but in fact, it's next week, April 28th at Soulard Preservation Hall! 

As an involved and active board member for the Social Media Club and the Business Marketing Association in Saint Louis, I am very interested in local marketing events. My employer, Perficient, a national IT consulting firm based in Saint Louis, also hosts local events from time to time, and the one we have going on this week is a short breakfast seminar on how to make your website more user-friendly and sales-oriented. 

Additionally, tomorrow night, Social Media Club is bringing two renowned social media thought leaders and authors into town to give what's sure to be a priceless, entertaining and thought-provoking presentation at Lumiere Place (which guarantees a night of fun anyway).

Here's a rundown of three events going on over the next month that I deem a "can't miss". 
If you're attending any of these, let me know, and I look forward to seeing you!

Websites Speak Louder Than Words, from Perficient

What: A breakfast networking event and presentation about creating dynamic Web experiences with Microsoft SharePoint

When: Thursday, April 21st, 8:00 a.m - 11:35 a.m.

Where: Microsoft North Central District Offices, 3 City Place Dr., Suite 1100, St. Louis, MO 63141 

Why: Brad Nunnally (@bnunnally) is a local UX guru, and he'll be presenting alongside Aaron Sloman (@aaronjsloman) of Perficient. Aaron was a lead architect in Microsoft’s eBusiness team, building some of the largest eCommerce sites and customer portal properties on the Microsoft technologies.

Register / More Info

Follow Perficient's Saint Louis team on Twitter: @Perficient_STL

Social Media Club STL Presents: The Now Revolution Book Tour

What: Networking party, presentation and discussion from two nationally renowned social media thought leaders.

When: Thursday, April 21, 6 pm - 9 pm

Where: Lumière Theatre, 999 N. Second St. , Saint Louis, MO 63102

Why: Learn to take advantage of seven major shifts - from culture to process - that savvy companies of today need to adapt and thrive in a social business world. Amber Naslund (@AmberCadabra) and Jay Baer (@jaybaer) will explain these shifts with examples, useful tips, and actionable implementation advice, and they'll also talk about their book, The Now Revolution. This presentation (and the book) is appropriate for both social media professionals and executives, if there were ever an event to bring your boss to this would definitely be it.

Also, follow the Twitter hash tag #SMCSTL before, during and after the event to get the scoop on what attendees are learning and observing.

Huge thanks to Armstrong Teasdale, Standing Partnership and Lumiere Place, without whom this event wouldn't be happening!

The State of Online Influence

What: The presentation features a panel discussion with St. Louis’ top online influencers and keynote speakers Matt Ridings from Tech Guerilla and Tom Webster from Edison Research.

When: April 28th, 3:00 - 8:00 pm

Where: Soulard Preservation Hall, 1921 South 9th Street, Saint Louis, MO 63104

Why: It's all about Saint Louis influential online marketers and influentials. How could you miss that? For the 2nd year in a row, Infuz is releasing its annual STL Index report on the state of social media activity in Saint Louis, and in conjunction they're offering a fantastic panel of speakers and excellent networking.

Follow hashtag #STLi

What's Branding Got to Do With It? Solutia's Case Study and the Importance of Branding for the B-to-B Enterprise

What: BMA St. Louis May Marketing Masters Luncheon and Presentation

When: Thursday, May 12th, 11:30 am - 1pm

Where: Spazio, 12031 Lackland Rd, St. Louis, MO

Why: Strong brands, supported by proper mission, vision, values and positioning are nearly a mandate for some B-to-B companies that want to ensure that their suppliers have standards that match their own. 

Emily Bealke Parenteau, Director, Planning & Coordination at St. Louis-based Solutia, will talk about the re-branding of Corporate Solutia from brand research to new logo development to global launch. Mark Vogel, Senior Partner at Avant Marketing Group, will explain the importance of brand management in the b-to-b environment, but will explain its proven process of brand development and its proprietary “Living the Brand” training that focuses on making all employees in your organization true brand fanatics. 

Register / More Info

Follow BMA Saint Louis on Twitter: @BMAStLouis

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