The purpose of B2B marketing materials is to share a great portion of a brand's expertise and voice in a form that viewers can come to independently. Rather than devoting the time of one sales representative to speaking to a potential buyer, the company puts it all out there in the form of well-made content, cognizant of the fact that many business professionals today make a point of searching for information independently rather than asking questions of brands directly. If firms are going to stamp their own personality on a prospect's mind before ever reaching out to that individual directly, content production should become a priority.
A recent Business 2 Community piece on the B2B industry, contributed by Business.com, explained some of the shifts that have recently come to marketing between companies, a field that has been slightly resistant to change over time. The source noted the real purpose of creating a strategy in the B2B space is to form a seamless experience for potential buyers, with several elements working in tandem to generate a brand's chosen image of itself. Emotional connection and unique experiences were listed as requisites for this kind of presentation, and a good content component is the foundation of such an ambitious effort.
Business.com reported its CEO Tony Uphoff's view of the current state of B2B marketing. Uphoff explained that the content that powers today's best strategies is targeted and relevant. This means that not only do companies have the right elements on tap to please a variety of buyer types, they know how to present them and make them available. The process of reading and digesting an informational document takes place in isolation, which means firms must reach buyers in the early stages of their searches for answers with materials that appeal to them and tell them what they need to know. This lets them set the narrative from an early research stage to, hopefully, a purchase.
One of the most important elements of this quest to serve ideal materials to prospects is getting a picture of the market. The Business 2 Community piece listed data collection alongside the use of valuable content as a central component of generating and sending out accurate messaging to the public. This is one way in which companies may be better served by interactive content than traditional PDF downloads, as the newer approach can potentially yield more usable data and thus better intelligence about the accurate market situation.
The path to purchase
Another Business 2 Community offering, this one by Sarah Greesonbach, gave details of the journey prospects take from the beginning of their curiosity through signing the purchase contract. She emphasized the fact that today, customers are turning this path into a self-guided tour and quoted Forrester Research's Lori Wizdo, who called for companies to offer a full spectrum of content, something for every situation. Wizdo noted there is a need for a logical progression, with some items appealing to people making early consideration of their options and others more granular and meant for informed consumers coming close to a decision.