B2B Content Isn’t Boring Unless Your Writing Is

It’s a common refrain: “We’re a B2B company. We can’t do the same things those B2C funsters get up to.” Another good one is, “Our product/industry/niche is just too serious and boring for content marketing.”

But it’s also worth pointing out that shedloads of content are published every day for which “boring” might be a polite description (“predictable” and “unnecessary” would be others.) I regularly come across reports, white papers, and articles that would require me to stab myself repeatedly in the leg with a fork simply to stay awake beyond the opening paragraphs.

I’m sure the marketers publishing this content wouldn’t say it’s boring. Perhaps they don’t always realize it is. Perhaps internal feedback convinced them the world really is desperate for an academic thesis on interlocking flanges … or something. Perhaps, as can be the case in B2B, the content was written to satisfy an internal audience – a C-suite eager for the brand to appear smarter than the competition on everything to do with flanges.

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What B2B Marketing Leaders Are Measuring: Five Key Takeaways

  • Our 2020 Metrics Study looked at the metrics included on the leadership dashboards used by B2B marketing leaders to express performance
  • The selections of metrics provides a deep view into the areas of performance B2B marketing leaders are prioritizing
  • Differences seen between high- and low-growth organizations provide a view into how successful companies focus their performance measurement

Are you curious about what marketing leaders across B2B are measuring these days? How does it compare with what your organization is measuring? We’ve recently completed our 2020 Metrics Study and have some answers.

The study looked at the metrics B2B leaders use to manage performance. Instead of asking leaders their opinions on which metrics they feel are most important or have available should the need arise, we simply asked worldwide B2B leaders which metrics appear on their company’s top-level dashboards. I’ll focus on the data we gathered on top-level marketing dashboards, often referred to as the CMO dashboard.

I’ll focus on the data we gathered on top-level marketing dashboards, often referred to as the CMO dashboard. The findings tell us some critical things about the state of B2B marketing today:

  • Leadership attention is precious. Although the potential for marketing to make an impact may feel limitless, the attention of executive audiences has its limits. On average, marketing leadership dashboards present eight metrics for consistent review. 
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In B2B Marketing, Personalization and Relevancy Must be the Same

Remember back in 2010 when you got your first email from a brand that knew your first name automatically and it gave you all the feels? I still remember my first “Hello Randy!” marketing email. It felt so personal, didn’t it?

But then, as with everything cool and new, it quickly became the norm. We figured out merge fields, the magic was revealed and those initial “ooh” and “ahh” sensations we first felt left us in a hurry. Fast-forward to today, and personalization is still a key goal in marketing. It could even be argued that it’s grown in importance, as data has become more accessible and actionable.

But… do you really understand personalization? What if I told you that relevancy is actually at the heart of the personalization you need today in your marketing? It’s true, and here’s why:

Merge Text Fields are the Bare Minimum

First, don’t get me wrong. I have zero beef with merge fields and it’s still cool to log in to my Netflix account, for example, and see that familiar salutation with my name on the screen. But it’s what comes after the hello that can make me feel like the VIP of customers and, even more importantly, provide me with real value.

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6 Signs You Need to Rewrite Your Web Content

A good website is more than the sum of its parts. Certainly, you need logical navigation, clean graphic design, strong calls to action, and a robust internal linking strategy, among other considerations. And don’t forget about your written content! The written copy on your website is crucially important for educating and persuading customers, for gaining SEO traction, and for conveying the vision and values of your company.

Web content isn’t meant to last forever. On the contrary, it’s a good idea to revise your copywriting every two or three years. This gives you a chance to offer fresh content to the Google algorithms, and also to refine or update your company’s messaging.

Beyond that, there are a few telltale signs that your Web copy could stand an update… whether you rewrite it yourself, or enlist the expertise of Grammar Chic, Inc.

Signs You Need Fresh Web Copywriting

1) Your Google traction is slipping

One of the most important aspects of copywriting is that it signals to Google what your company is all about, and how your website should be categorized. If you’re not getting the kind of Google traffic you’d like, it’s possible that bad copy is to blame… and that a content refresh could put you back on Google’s radar.

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Time To Update Your B2B Go-To-Market Strategy

“The internet hasn’t been kind to the sales rep,” says sales and marketing author Brian Gray.

If you are thinking your sales reps will be the gateway of your go-to-market strategy, experts say you have another think coming.

Increasingly, sales reps must provide an experience, not just info.

“Before the internet, when the rep was in control of distributing all the information a prospect could get, they knew early on that they were being considered,” says Gray, leader of Revenue Path Group. “It allowed for multitouch sales methodologies to form. Each call, at each stage, took on different importance and training.”

Before the internet, business-to-business (B2B) prospects needed a sales rep to obtain information. That meant that as soon as a prospect entered the marketplace, they were in touch with viable options.

“Today that's not the case,” says Gray. “Prospects delegate a lot of research to a lower-level employee, who brings options to the table. By the time they make contact, they have decided their own solution, pigeonholed you in with some competitors and want you to compete on price.”

The importance of the internet and social media is not news. But like many other aspects of marketing, Covid-19 has dramatically accelerated this shift. This has a huge impact on go-to-market strategy.

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B2B marketing: Solving the big five challenges

Let’s face it, as a B2B tech company, marketing isn’t easy.

With typically longer sales cycles, multiple key stakeholders involved in every decision, fierce competition within the industry, and many B2B businesses selling complex solutions rather than single products, B2B tech marketing is… well, it’s complicated. But it’s not impossible.

To help you succeed, we’ve broken down 5 of the most common marketing challenges faced by B2B tech businesses today, and how you can solve them.

B2B tech: it’s a fast-paced industry
With the tech industry evolving so fast, marketers need to be agile; pivoting quickly and adapting effectively when faced with changes or growing competition within the market.

To stay on the leading edge of the industry, be sure to keep your ear to the ground at all times. This means keeping an eye on your target market and your competition, and monitoring reputable sources for any announcements, opportunities or potential threats to your brand.

Changes within the market can present a real problem for businesses who aren’t paying attention. But they can be a boon to brands who are prepared to change and adapt.

Sometimes being just a little quicker than the competition may be all you need. For example: being the first to start talking about a rising trend or new cutting edge technology may help your brand define itself as a thought leader in your industry.

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Why The Top B2B Brands Compete On Story

In this economic downturn, we have seen firsthand the impact of curbed purchasing decisions in the global business-to-business (B2B) marketplace. Where traditional acquisition marketing has struggled, brand storytelling is flourishing and has a direct impact on the marketing pipeline.

Robert McKee wrote that "Leaders use story to author the future." Why is this more important than ever? In these challenging times, your audience wants to be led through this downturn into the future that awaits them.

To better understand the key themes that inspire effective storytelling, let's look backward to look forward. Prior downturns have taught me there are six themes that are most relevant in brand storytelling during times of crisis: humor, nostalgia, optimism, patriotism, price and value, empowerment. But knowing these themes is not enough to create a story brand. To do that, we need to take a few more steps in our praxis.

So, how do you get B2B brand storytelling right? Here are a few guidelines that truly make a difference.

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How We Do Account-Based Marketing at Scale

I’ve been running ABM teams for some time and find it incredibly satisfying. To me, it is almost like a play. There is a good amount of preparation and planning with many individuals and teams that manage to pull off a unified campaign, and – when done right – the results are incredible.

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Three steps to level up your B2B marketing in 2021

2020 was full of disruption and fast pivoting across the marketing spectrum. But for B2B marketers—whose plans are often anchored around in-person events—this period changed the playbook on how to reach crucial business decision-makers. To learn more about how the business decision-making process has changed—and how marketers are adapting accordingly—Twitter partnered with Bain on a new research study.

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Why Sales Should Ditch MQLs for Intent Data

We live in an on-demand world. Our customers’ expectations are always evolving, which means the way we engage with them as salespeople must evolve, too. Today, customers are at the center of everything we do in the revenue-driving function – or, at least they should be. So in order to create a customer-centric experience for our prospects, the tools and technologies we use must inform and support all aspects of the sales process.

Modern buyers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. As a result, they’re doing more behind-the-scenes research – with more than 70% of buyers defining their own needs before engaging with a sales rep.

In sales, our success in sealing the deal depends on how well we can empower and engage buyers throughout their journey. But with marketing qualified leads (MQLs), you only have an opportunity to provide value to your buyers after they’ve made themselves known to you.

Luckily, today’s sales teams can instead use intent data and Conversational Marketing to reach the right prospects at the right time and provide value throughout the entire buying process.

Stop Guessing, Start Knowing

Historically, one of the biggest challenges for salespeople has been knowing exactly what our customers want. Typically, we rely on MQLs to provide us with a general idea of who the prospect is and what their pain points are before going into a meeting. But, more often than not, those MQLs leave us with generic information mapping back to our ideal customer profile (ICP), not the specific insights into each unique prospect we need to create a personalized experience.

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