Fueling Your B2B Demand Generation Program With Content Marketing

When implemented successfully, a demand generation program can effectively help your company tap into new markets, drum up qualified sales leads and, of course, engage your existing customers for some good old-fashioned organic business growth. While a demand generation program can take many forms, today’s Business-to-Business (B2B) marketers are increasingly looking toward content marketing strategies and tactics as a better way to engage, educate, inform, and entertain their prospective buyers.

According to Spiceworks’ B2B Content Marketing Spotlight report, lead generation is by far the number one goal of content marketing, followed closely by thought leadership and market education. B2B marketers are using everything from white papers to videos, and are effectively using content to build “buzz” for their brands, products, and services. In fact, the number one content marketing tactic used by brands is corporate blogging, followed by social media and customer case studies.

Let’s not forget that developing great content is only the first step for marketers. Step two is determining the right time to distribute that high-value content. If done right, great content—content that is both relevant and compelling to the targeted audience—can help a prospective buyer better connect with your brand and, in turn, move that potential buyer further along on his or her customer journey.

Take a look at Martino Flynn’s recent infographic, Content Marketing for B2B Demand Generation, and you’ll see an illustration that shows the impact of distributing the right content at the right time during the customer journey. Let’s now dive into the key takeaways:

  • In Phase 1 of the customer journey and, ultimately, the buying process, prospects are simply defining their business needs. While a “hard sell” isn’t appropriate during this phase, brands can focus on creating and distributing content that generates greater brand awareness.

In this earlier stage, marketers often use social media channels to publish branded videos, articles and infographics. If prospect information is available, company newsletters and eBlasts are also common practices. Numerous brands also dip their toes into traditional public relations and look to secure bylined articles and interview opportunities to garner media attention.

  • In Phase 2, prospective buyers have already identified their needs and are now proactively evaluating both potential solutions and new suppliers. In this stage, marketers should be leveraging their websites, landing pages, and online presence to attract prospects and provide them with a deeper understanding of its products and service offerings.

Tactics such as webinars, case studies, eBooks, and white papers are perfect tools to educate buyers and provide product information in a “soft sell” kind of way. They can be easily passed along to the decision-makers when the prospects near their purchasing decision. Press releases and aggressive media pitching efforts can also help brands earn impactful media coverage to keep their solutions top of mind.

  • In Phase 3, it’s all about closing the deal. Prospective buyers have clearly identified their needs, have researched solutions, and are ready to finalize their purchasing and supplier decisions. Direct content is generally the most effective tactic in this phase because prospects are often in search of long-term partnerships, not just one-time vendors.

During this last phase, marketers should focus heavily on interactions, including trade show appointments and in-person sales meetings. A little face time can go a long way at this stage of the decision-making process. In addition, product demonstrations can be influential in helping prospects realize the value of choosing a particular solution, while customer testimonials can help them understand the value you bring as a partner. Return On Investment (ROI) and pricing data are also major factors in the purchasing decision, so ensure that any content developed during this phase focuses on the financial advantages of choosing your company.

It’s clear that branded content can be pivotal in moving a prospect further into the new business pipeline. Yet the most common content marketing challenge is finding enough time and resources to create and distribute that high-value content. That’s where we come in.

Contact Jenny LePore at jlepore@martinoflynn.com to learn more about Martino Flynn’s full-service agency capabilities. We’ll help you strategize the most effective content marketing plan to fuel your new business efforts.

Top 4 Benefits Of Jumping On The Influencer Marketing Bandwagon

Brands have been flocking to social media in an attempt to engage with their fans, by pushing out branded content and fielding customer service inquiries. While social media is a great option for many brands, simply having a social media presence is no longer enough. As social media channels continue to become more saturated with branded content, influencer marketing can be an effective solution.

After reading or revisiting my previous blog post that defines influencer marketing, check out my top 4 reasons for brands to invest in social media influencers:

  1. They Promote Word of Mouth

Word of mouth has always been one of the most powerful marketing tactics, but it can be difficult for brands to generate. Social media continues to amplify the voice of consumers, as 70% of them place peer recommendations ahead of branded content in their purchasing decisions. Influencer marketing allows brands to leverage word of mouth, exponentially, through individuals who consumers already follow and respect.

  1. They’re Cost Efficient

On average, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for every $1.00 spent on influencer marketing. As more and more companies adopt influencer marketing as a tactic, partnership costs continue to rise, but with that being said, it’s still a bargain in terms of ROI. Plus, the influencers themselves help generate valuable content!

  1. They Produce Authentic, Native Advertising

Consumers are exposed to thousands of ads each and every day, making it essential to stand out. Not only are consumers tuning ads out, but ad blocking products exist to do it automatically. Influencer marketing offers a less disruptive advertising option that places brands within organic content—appearing less forced since it comes from individuals who consumers already admire and respect.

  1. They’re Effective

A recent study by TapInfluence found that social media influencer marketing is 11 times more effective than banner ads. Trends suggest that consumers are basing their purchasing decisions on what they see in their social media feeds, which is causing a shift in companies’ marketing spend from traditional marketing tactics to social media-based campaigns. Consumers no longer expect brands to sell to them; rather, they expect to be entertained with easily digestible content. Since consumers trust influencers more than branded messages, influencer marketing provides a unique opportunity.

Interested in leveraging social media influencers for your brand? Contact us to learn more about our influencer marketing and social media capabilities.

Let The People Do The Talking: The Impact Of Influencer Marketing

Consumers are bombarded with hundreds of messages each and every day, making it more difficult for advertisers to cut through the clutter to make an impact. Brands typically turn to traditional platforms such as television, radio, and digital media to spend their advertising budgets; however, there may be a more cost-effective and impactful option: influencer marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

In its most general form, influencer marketing is a marketing tactic that targets and utilizes individuals who have an influence over potential buyers. Instead of marketing directly to consumers, influencer marketing enlists the help of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to create content and effectively relay a brand’s message to a target audience. By strategically partnering with the right influencers, brands can propel their marketing efforts in a more authentic and powerful way.

Who is an Influencer?

While celebrities tend to be the aspirational top-tier influencers, there are plenty of “everyday” consumers who can have just as much of an impact on purchase decisions–AND they’re typically much more budget-friendly!

Depending on the industry, an influencer can vary drastically. In B2B marketing, industry thought leaders and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) tend to have the greatest impact due to their knowledge of and authority in a particular subject. On the other hand, consumer goods usually pair nicely with influential personalities who fans worship and aspire to be like.

No matter the industry, influencers typically have a large and loyal social media following. Savvy marketers strategically partner with influencers whose followers align with their brands’ target audiences.

Platforms such as Instagram and YouTube have contributed to the rise of niche influencers, who have accumulated large social media followings around specific topics like beauty, fashion, and food.

Influencer Marketing in Action

In a recent influencer campaign for Martino Flynn client Softlips Lip Balm, our social media team positively impacted holiday sales by partnering with niche social media influencers in the lip balm community. We were able to identify a subset of the beauty category dominated by young teenage girls obsessed with lip balm. The team secured influencers with followings from 30,000–100,000+, whom successfully produced authentic content (on behalf or Softlips) to share with their loyal fans.

YouTube and Instagram influencer, Melissa Alatorre, promoting Softlips Lip Balm’s Holiday 3-Pack.

By using social media influencers, we were able to reach their highly engaged audiences, maximizing exposure for the Softlips Holiday 3-Pack among the product’s most likely customers during the key winter lip balm-selling season. During the 2015 holiday season, product awareness and engagement as a result of social media skyrocketed as our influencer outreach generated 25 partnerships, 68 posts, and more than 10 million brand impressions.

Interested in leveraging social media influencers for your brand? Stay tuned for my next blog post on the “Top 4 Benefits of Jumping on the Influencer Marketing Bandwagon.”

Contact us to learn more about our influencer marketing and social media capabilities.

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