As a B2B marketer, do you feel like you’re on the same wavelength as the buyers you’re targeting? Do you think you understand exactly what their needs are, what they take away from the B2B marketing content you provide them with, and what types of content they’d like to see more of in the future?
If you answered no to any of the above, don’t panic - you’re not alone. According to a recent global survey, the vast majority of today’s B2B marketers are struggling to connect with their audience when it comes to content marketing.
A disconnection between marketers and buyers
The survey questioned 500 global business buyers on how they want to consume content marketing, and 500 marketers on how they create it, and the two sets of results are fascinating. Why? Well, it seems that today’s B2B marketers are following one path, while their audience are following quite another.
Let’s start with why B2B buyers engage with content in the first place. According to the survey, 75% say that their primary purpose for seeking content is researching a business idea, and that the views of their industry and new ideas are most valuable[i]. Just 16% are actively making a purchasing decision[ii]. Given this approach, the logical strategy for marketers would be to offer interesting content that helps buyers, while simultaneously building their brand. And, it appears that marketers are aware of this, with 85% saying they believe the primary reason for creating content is building their brand, and increasing positive perceptions of their company[i]
Missing the mark with content
While marketers seemingly understand why they should be creating content, this isn’t reflected in their approach. Rather than simply raising awareness of their brand, a staggering 93% say they connect their content directly to a product or service[i]. They also directly reference their own products, with 75% saying that mentions of their products and services are a frequent part of their content strategy[i].
Unfortunately, this ‘hard sell’ approach is again having a negative impact on their chances of connecting with buyers. 71% of buyers are turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch, and 31% have been turned off companies because their content wasn’t perceived to be trustworthy[ii].
Measuring success in different ways
When it comes to judging the success of content, marketers and buyers again take different approaches. Buyers judge the success of content on its distinctiveness, with 67% saying content that contains timely or unique information has a meaningful impact on their perceptions of a brand[i].
For marketers however, it’s all about sales, with 70% saying they measure the effectiveness of their content on calls from customers and prospects[i].
B2B marketers need to reconnect with buyers
The secret to engaging with buyers is to create engaging, informative content that starts with your audience and their business challenges. Persona creation can help significantly with this, enabling you to discover exactly what the buyers want, and writing targeted, helpful content based on their pain points. Only when you have this ‘sweet spot’ will your audience see you as a valued source of information, and you can start to build a relationship that is based on trust.
To find out more about how to create personas…