The end of the year is a time for reflection. It’s no different for the world of #B2B marketing.
At Evolved Media, we refine and analyze our work and process to ensure that we’re providing all our clients with the most accurate view of the entire tech landscape. We have to do this to stay relevant. Our clients needs, desires, and tech preferences are in a constant state of flux, as is their relationship to B2B marketing. The way that people consume products, the way they think about their needs, and evolve their tech infrastructure is a moving target.
How to speak to a room full of diverse Buyers
So, if you’re going to market a B2B product, you must understand where people and companies are, whether you’re interested in early adopters and innovators or more conservative buyers who will move towards new technology later in the game.
Many of our clients find that as they improve what their products and platform offers, they must speak to many different audiences at once. To do this, you have to be very deliberate in your marketing strategy.
At Evolved Media, we try and empower our clients by finding ways that vendors can most effectively reach their buyers and explain their products. This also means understanding buyers’ problems so solutions can be framed in the context of those problems. Here are two lessons we have learned about doing just that.
Lesson 1: Deliver the whole package.
We’ve found white papers are useful for conveying complex information. White papers have continually been shown to be important assets – most typically after a potential buyer has gotten serious about a product. This makes sense because white papers are packed with information, and when someone is interested in a product, they’re ready to delve into the deeper explanation.
With many of our clients, we create foundational white papers to explain the market needs and how the product meets those needs. These are even more in-depth than traditional white papers, and targeted at a wide variety of audiences: investors, PR, and IT.
Thread one idea into many conversations
But in the modern world, most people don’t read a newspaper, let alone tech white papers daily. They’re not going to read a white paper until they’ve been convinced that the product is interesting to them. Thus, to capture clients at all points in the marketing funnel, you have meet them where they are and engage in the type of conversations they want to have.
Our clients are increasingly turning to us for what I like to call the whole package – not just white papers, but the assets that enable a company to take a client from a tweet to a foundational paper, and everything in between. They want stories, but they also want short form content and visual assets that start a conversation with buyers. This is why assets that convey industry expertise are so important. You must create interest in your product by showing you understand the challenges buyers are facing. Our most successful engagements occur when we deliver complete packages, often starting with a big idea in a white paper that’s then developed into many other assets.
Lesson 2: Keep the flow going.
Traditionally, our work with clients has been project-based. We define a project that the client needs, whether a white paper or an e-book, then work with them on it until completion. That’s one effective way of getting work done, and it has served us well. But it prevents us from having the ongoing conversation we need to generate a stream of ideas. Sometimes we miss out on being able to react to conversations and events in the marketplace that affect our vendor clients.
We’ve learned that it’s essential to set aside time to talk to our clients regularly without a project agenda or specific task just to have an exchange of ideas. They can tell us what they are thinking, we can share our reflections, and those conversations inevitably lead to new ideas. When we keep in touch with clients, we find that later (sometimes on a walk or on the treadmill-Eureka moments happen anywhere) we come up with ideas.
For instance, we came up with a headline during one of these brainstorming sessions that became the client’s top-performing lead generation asset. That’s the type of flow and collaboration we want to keep going, and we can only do it with frequent dialogue. That’s why we’ve created a marketing newsroom program, based on collaborative editorial brainstorming. We create blogs, headlines, and other lead gen assets to create a steady flow of content and test and validate ideas in the space.
These are our top two lessons for 2016. We hope they give you something to think about as we end the year. Next up, we’ll look forward to what’s in store for 2017.
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