A little over a decade ago, content marketing was just beginning to build a reputation as an effective approach to B2B marketing. Of course, content marketing has exploded in popularity ever since.
As our internet infrastructure continues to develop and society increasingly embraces digitalization, more and more companies are trying to reach out to customers online through content. As such, it’s harder than ever to customer-focused, quality content that makes your brand stand out.
How do B2B marketers attract attention in today’s crowded internet ecosystem, which is flooded with new content every second? As it turns out, B2B marketing campaigns take a lot of time and a high level of persistence to become effective. In this article, we will discuss the top 3 unrealistic expectations people have regarding B2B marketing, and what it takes to run a successful campaign instead.
Top 3 most common unrealistic marketing expectations for B2B campaigns
Today’s marketers rely heavily on content marketing and social media to unearth new leads and convert sales. However, surprisingly, statistics from the Content Marketing Institute revealed that 53% of businesses report having small content marketing teams, with some of them even being one-man shows. Unsurprisingly, of the same content marketing teams surveyed, 38% stated that they believed the organizations they worked for had unrealistic expectations of what they could achieve.
Most organizations understand the incredible power behind a content-driven B2B marketing campaign, but many of the key elements of a successful strategy are misunderstood. Here are the top 3 unrealistic expectations for marketing campaigns that are all too familiar to many in the industry.
1 – High quality marketing campaigns are instantly successful!
It takes time and persistence to create a digital presence, and high-quality marketing campaigns are not always instantaneously successful. Marketing – especially content marketing – is vital to building a brand’s digital identity and authority.
Unlike advertising, which aims to push consumers to buy their product or service now, content and B2B marketing should have a higher focus on building brand salience and integrity. Good content coupled with a high-quality B2B marketing campaign should drive awareness of your brand and encourage sales – when the time is right.
In today’s age, in which clients are bombarded with choices on where to spend their money, companies must really go the extra mile to build trust and integrity in the eyes of future customers. Establishing your brand as a leading authority in your industry is a must in B2B marketing, but many more are also striving to show their company values to potential customers as well.
In a recent survey, 91% of consumers reported that they wanted to see the companies they purchase from display a level of commitment towards sustainability and green practices, for example. Embracing eco-friendly practices and corporate social values is the right thing to do, and it makes clients feel better knowing that they are doing business with a company with a certain level of ethics.
Unlike the “used car salesman” approach, which strives to close the deal at any cost, most brands today want to take time to build trust and respect with their customers. Successful companies understand that they should aim to develop a business relationship with customers that will last beyond the first purchase. To do this, they focus on creating quality content that provides value to their reader and establishes them as an expert in their field, highlighting not only their brand accomplishments but their commitment towards the ideals they hold. This is not an overnight process.
Crafting a content marketing strategy that is customer-oriented involves speaking to your customers, digging into data, and creating content that is focused on what your customers need, not what sales targets you need to hit. It’s about creating brand recognition that causes consumers to think of your company first when their need arises.
According to current studies, over 70% of online customers report favoring a credit card exclusively for online transactions, with many of them choosing to store their payment information via G Pay or Apple Pay. That means a sale is only ever one click away, and if your brand is the first they remember when they need your product or service, they’re going to you.
2 – Successful marketing campaigns generate lots of clicks and leads!
As any seasoned marketing professional understands, high levels of clicks and low-quality leads do not always provide a huge return on investment. It’s not enough to encourage traffic to your website by using clickbait or offering freebies as an incentive to build your email list. Taking the time to find high-quality leads – the type of customers who will truly benefit from your product or service, not time-wasters – is the key to a successful marketing campaign.
Most marketing experts estimate that a sustained B2B campaign will take at least 4-6 months to achieve results. The focus for marketers should be brand salience, which ensures that your brand is first in mind when a customer is ready to make a purchase. It’s not about creating artificial demand or trying to push your wares on anyone with an internet browser, however.
While ads can create an immediate return by driving sales, they are often costly. Once the ad spending is pared back, the returns often go away. Cultivating a digital presence that includes excellent content should be part of a longer-term strategy.
Content is so valuable because it not only helps organizations with marketing but can become a valuable brand asset. High-quality, engaging content can even be recycled for new audiences, unlike fluff pieces designed only to increase rankings, drive traffic and increase clicks. According to statistics surrounding content marketing, 92% of organizations view content as a valuable business asset.
3 – In today’s digital world, highly effective marketing campaigns are easier than ever to achieve!
The internet has increased people’s ability to connect with each other, so it should be easy for brands to create immediately impactful online marketing campaigns, right? It’s true that the internet is an unparalleled space for finding and nurturing new leads. However, it’s often difficult to make your brand stand out in a sea of competition. In order to break through the noise, online marketing campaigns must be constantly analyzed and refined based on data.
The truth is, there likely won’t be an immediate, resounding response from your audience once your content first goes live. The compounding growth that content marketing excels at creating should be part of a long-term strategy to create brand loyalty and brand authority. Expectations for your B2B marketing campaign should not be the same as your expectations for your advertising campaign, for instance. Content is worthy of the extra time and effort needed to cultivate the brand image and brand authority needed to create a lasting impression on your audience
Since content-driven campaigns are known to be so successful, there are a lot of unrealistic expectations attached to them. It’s important to be aware of and avoid these misunderstandings, especially with a B2B marketing campaign.
There is no magic wand to create marketing success. An excellent B2B marketing campaign requires sustained consistent effort and monitoring. Paired with realistic expectations and patience, a content-driven B2B marketing campaign can result in incredible dividends.
This post was written by Nahla Davies, a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.