Content marketing is a huge buzzword today. But it does not come without questions, specifically: Why should teams invest in content marketing over other marketing opportunities? And how do teams tie content marketing efforts to sales opportunities?
We are all fighting losing battles for our buyers’ and prospects’ attention spans. And because these battles aren’t likely to end anytime soon, an investment in content is a wise decision to address those questions. Here’s why:
Marketing around content provides advantages that other forms of marketing can’t duplicate. It allows assets to create unique experiences for B2B buyers. Brand recognition helps create content with a higher probability of being viewed. And most importantly, content creates more opportunities to engage with best prospects.
More than just being a good idea, using content properly can drive revenue opportunities, both short-term sales and long-term relationships, for teams and their partners. Here are three keys to using content for B2B sales:
1) Focus on outcomes and opportunities.
Teams must understand exactly what they’re hoping to achieve from using content to drive sales opportunities, no matter if it is event-based or content published through digital channels.
In Washington, Monumental Sports and Entertainment has reshaped the way the organization does B2B events with its partners. Over the last year, Monumental has developed B2B-specific content highlighting the unique location of Capital One Arena as a hub for the DC business community, bringing together Monumental executives, business leaders, and partners in an environment where content, education, and opportunity rule.
2) Be creative.
We often see a great idea at another team or in another industry, but the direct application might not fit our organization. That’s why we must be creative – the specific kind of creativity that enables us to see an idea and shape it into something that works specifically for our organization.
“To be successful, content must speak to your audiences, not at them... And you must never forget the goal of most content is to connect people to people.”
– Alexandra Matthiesen, Westward Creative
Creativity is especially important in B2B content plans. In most instances, the types and ways content is being used isn’t likely to be new. It is almost guaranteed that someone somewhere has used some of these ideas before, but using them in the specific settings of our organizations is where the creativity comes in.
Steve Ziff, Vice President of Marketing and Digital Media with the Jacksonville Jaguars, has been a driving force in making sure that the Jaguars lead with this kind of creativity.
“In Jacksonville, we have a diverse business community,” Ziff says. “In most cases, these businesses haven’t always had the tools needed to properly connect with one another. It’s provided us with a great opportunity to build bridges by providing programmatic resources that have been missing in these small and mid-size business relationships.”
The Jags have used their Jaguars Black program as a tool for bridging the gap. This program has given B2B partners access to information, content, services, and tools to help grow their businesses in ways we might take for granted, like with events, experiences, and new kinds of exposure and recognition. They’ve also created a business playbook that offers partners a plan for achieving success with Jaguars Black.
The key in being creative isn’t to be radical, but to be flexible. It is likely that we all have underutilized assets that would be unique to partners, or that other industries have ideas that can turbo-charge our content.
3) Use technology to expand opportunities.
We are all familiar with the role of technology in our day-to-day lives, and we all know that we have access to the world’s greatest content online.
“The fact is that teams are in a highly competitive environment with a mandate to deliver revenue,” says Angelina Lawton, CEO of Sportsdigita, the interactive sports agency that specializes in digital sponsorship, ticketing, and fan engagement products. “This has pushed teams to become more creative about how they present themselves.”
The New York Yankees are one of those teams using digital presentation platforms. According to Chris Insolera, Senior Manager, Corporate Sales and Partnerships at the Yankees, digital content presents the “brand and assets in a way that our old PowerPoint decks never could.”
Technologies will continue to evolve and change, which requires us to be more strategy focused and less tool focused, but the payoff in increased opportunities makes the evolution worth it.
With any content tool, the key is understanding it’s meant to tell a story of our teams, facilities, and B2B communities. This foundation must be built first before any buzzwords are spoken or revenues driven.
Alexandra Matthiesen, Director at Westward Creative, says “To be successful, content must speak to your audiences, not at them. There is a difference. You should present a voice that is clear and sincere. And you must never forget the goal of most content is to connect people to people.”
Dave Wakeman is “The Revenue Architect” and Principal at Wakeman Consulting Group.