While social media has had only minimal positive impact for many B2B companies, especially in the jansan world, content marketing has proven to be very successful for many B2B companies that have become directly involved with it.
According to C. C. Chapman, coauthor of the book Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars, and More, among the reasons content marketing has proven to be so valuable are the following:
- Increases knowledge of the end-customer. Many manufacturers design products based on what their distributors tell them their customers are looking for. While this has proven to be a helpful strategy, it also serves as a barrier between the manufacturer and the end-customer. By developing quality content, the manufacturer can evaluate what types of content are most valued and appreciated by the end-user. Now the manufacturer is directly in contact with the end-customer, and through the site’s interaction, can hear firsthand their business challenges and needs.
- Lengthens the sales cycle. Typically, manufacturers and distributors want to shorten the sales cycle, but there actually can be benefits to having it stretch out. Of course, the ultimate goal is for the content to lead to sales, but lengthening the sales cycle helps the end-customer develop a feel for the manufacturer and its products. This emotional connection is what leads to new sales and repeat sales from current customers. It also helps build something we all thought was lost: brand loyalty.
- Introduces the company to its customers. People buy from people they know. Taking this a step further, as the emotional connection develops, purchasers often believe they now have a relationship with a company, and this is further advanced if they can interact with the manufacturer through its content marketing site. An example of this is Starbucks. While Facebook is not a content marketing site, it is a way people can learn more about a company and interact with it. A study by Facebook of Starbucks’ Facebook site found that “fans” of the site tend to visit a Starbucks location more frequently, buy more, and spend more each visit.
- Allows repackaging of content. Many manufacturers or other businesses have managed to have at least a few articles published that reference their company or its products. If they have hired a quality PR/communications firm, they likely have had lots of articles published. With a content marketing site, this material can be made available again. For example, an article published in a magazine a couple of years ago may still be relevant, and that article can be reused or repackaged for new readers. Content marketing sites help keep information, your information, alive and well.
By Robert Kravitz