The 3 Reasons Why B2B Companies Screw Up Content Marketing

April 1, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Our sales consulting firm’s blog has 45,000 monthly readers.  Over 14,000 people register on our site each month originating from LinkedIn.  Sales Benchmark Index has over 100,000 cumulative Twitter followers.  At last count 24,575 websites have referred to our sales force effectiveness blog.  When we post a recorded webinar on Slide Share, typically a thousand people view it in the first day.

I am often asked how we do this. So, last week I participated in a Focus panel titled “Grow Your Business Through Thought Leadership”, hosted by Lori Richardson.  The goal of the session was to help others with content marketing.  The recording is here. I hope you enjoy it.

After the session, I received some additional questions.  This post is meant to answer them. The inquiries seem to be around why B2B companies, with far greater resources than our sales consulting firm, have not generated similar results.   SBI is not perfect for sure.  However, it seems we are doing a few things differently.  B2B companies hire our firm to help improve their lead generation capabilities.  This allows our sales consultants to compare what we do to what other companies do.  Below is what I believe to be the most common mistakes made when attempting content marketing.

3 Reasons Why B2B Companies Screw Up Content Marketing

1 - B2B companies are focused on the past. 

B2B Companies Content Marketing ConsultingMost organizations do an excellent job researching the past.  They send out customer satisfaction surveys, review service ticket history, perform win/loss analysis, and review historical spending patterns.  This “research” is the source material used when producing digital content.

Yesterday’s news is not very interesting.  Finicky readers want a peek into the future.  In exchange for an email address, they demand to learn something they did not previously know.  Reporting on what has already happened is sure to increase unsubscribes.  In contrast, writing something that represents where the market is headed is likely to build a loyal followership.

Tip: Use the LinkedIn Polling application to collect information about market trends and trending topics.  Ask yourself, “How long have we been doing the customer satisfaction survey and has it ever put a deal on the table for anyone?”

2 - B2B companies confuse a “Finding” for an “Insight”

Marketing organizations perform market research and publish their findings.  It is common to read about survey results that tell us that 30% of decision makers would like to accomplish XYZ, as an example.  This is a finding.  Who cares? A finding by itself is not very useful.  Content discussing findings turns people off.

An insight shows the reader how to pocket the benefit from the finding.  For example, a recent survey says that 30% of decision makers want to accomplish XYZ, and here is a step-by-step approach to make it happen.  By providing the money making  instructions, readers will subscribe to your content, stick with you, and tell all their friends about you.

Tip: Give away your how to knowledge.  Stop worrying about theft.  Knowing what to do and how to do it does not mean it will get done.  Your readers will still seek your assistance with execution. They don’t want to pay the dumb taxes associated with doing something for the first time.

3 - B2B companies are not writing for mobile devices.

We are in a post-pc world.  It is more likely that your target audience will read your material from a smart phone than it is they will read it on their pc.  Yet, sometimes when I advise my clients to switch to mobile friendly content that tell me “my customers don’t read on their smart phone or tablet.” 

Pop Quiz: Are you reading this post on a smart phone or a tablet?  Answer: 79% of our subscribers access our site through a mobile device.

Look around you.  Can you find a single person who is not carrying a smart phone?

Produce content in a form that makes it easy for your audience to consume it.  Make sure your website, blog, and social media platforms are all mobile friendly.

Tip: Make sure the website is owned by marketing, not IT.  Marketing can build on a CMS, like Hubspot, and the platform will automatically convert your content to mobile friendly content.  If IT owns the website, every time you request a change it will take months and cost thousands.  The world moves to fast to accommodate this outdated website management method.

Immediate Help If You Want It:

  • Check out this webinar to learn how to do the above inside of your key accounts.
  • Call George at 888-556-7338 if you want us to help you implement what we implemented at SBI.

Lastly, our sales consulting firm certainly does not have all the answers.  We would value hearing your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Greg Alexander

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Topics: Sales Consulting

Posted by Greg Alexander

Greg Alexander
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