So you have a great idea and begin making product samples, to find that most in your sphere see its value: “Wow, that’s a really good idea. No, seriously, that’s a GREAT idea.” Well that sounds promising, to say the least. You want to show it to more people, to reinforce the initial reaction you received, so you decide to create a presentation to show some extended benefits. What should be included? What is your desired outcome? Here is the first instance a product specialist is confronted with the need for effective content marketing. The underlying question becomes: how do I educate more potential customers that my product/service/idea is the answer? This frames the task of business development.
Acquiring new business is one of the most complex, stressful and important roles an organization has. The objective is simple: find more sales (either organically from growing existing customer business) or by acquiring new customers. Many successful business development leaders possess diverse skills and qualities, such as customer awareness, curiosity, vision, organization and drive. But recognizing potential new business opportunities and securing them are not one and the same.
How to Excite the Audience
One of the main differences in historical vs. modern business development is the evolution of customer-driven sales into marketing-driven sales. The days of incessant pavement-pounding (“Get out there and hustle!”) have given way to marketers defining their customer base through research and statistics. They know their customers’ habits and can predict what they want next. Modern markers use Content Marketing as critical tool used to grow their business, focused on generating sales/leads, engaging purchasing decision-makers and boosting brand awareness to trigger potential customers to act.
Content Marketing uses meaningful online material to educate and promote a product/service/idea. The content utilizes gathered and analyzed customer insights to excite them about a new product that should interest them based on their purchasing habits and/or survey responses. The following statistics from the annual Curata Content Marketing Study were taken from responses from over 1,000 marketers, and support the trend toward content marketing:
- Content marketing industry should exceed $32.3B in 2018, with a CAGR of 12.4%
- 88% of B2B marketers in North America use content marketing
- 75% of marketing firms are increasing investment in content marketing
- The most effective marketers allocate 42% of their annual budget to content marketing
- 77% of companies rate their social media marketing as successful at achieving part or all of the most important objectives
- 74% of companies indicate content marketing increased their teams’ lead quality and quantity
- 55% of business bloggers generate at least 5% of the corporate website traffic from their blogs
- Content that lays out a formula for success was the most popular type of material among B2B in 2017
Why Hasn’t Everyone Adopted Content Marketing?
Elite business development leaders have the talent, vision and discipline needed to define an effective strategy to engage, excite, and motivate their customers purchase. But not all businesses are created equal! How can a small/startup company, a firm wanting to re-brand itself or a new product group generate business? We’ve already established that content marketing is the best path, and a much more efficient (and effective) path at that.
Many companies face business realities that prevent them from launching an elaborate content marketing campaign today. The LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community analyzed responses from over 600 B2B marketing professionals, and identified challenges toward adopting content marketing. Those, along with the Curata survey, include:
- 51% – Lack of time/bandwidth to create
- 50% – Producing enough content variety/volume
- 42% – Producing engaging content
- 35% (B2B) – Lack of budget
- 34% – Developing consistent content strategy
- 28% – Talent to produce content
From those numbers, it is clear that companies are not staffed and do not budget to appropriately leverage content marketing initiatives. But there is another option that can enable companies both to overcome the above challenges AND to create effective content marketing.
You have to ensure your time and efforts are spent as wisely as possible. As the need for content ebbs and flows, it is only logical for marketers to give themselves maximum flexibility when creating it. The answer is to outsource components of content marketing that do not make sense to handle internally. But which activities are those? The LinkedIn data shows that the most production-intensive content marketing activity is also the most outsourced. 44% of respondents indicated that they source writing on the outside.
Further, the survey showed that the formats most outsourced are as follows:
- 27% – Research reports
- 24% – Blogging
- 23% – Whitepapers
- 22% – Case studies
Sourcing the above formats on the outside allows the internal marketing team to focus on content plan creation and strategy, which require more intra-company collaboration and expertise. With a clear strategy defined, the written content becomes the output and can be more easily assessed for tone and accuracy of the message.
Content Writing For Business Development
In addition, the LinkedIn study showed that 60% of B2B buyers give more credence to third-party publications, and 38% of B2B marketers use external consultants to create content. These consultants can be subject matter experts (SME’s) specific to the content topic, and provide consistent, expert writing for a given product or platform. Technically-trained writers from engineering, IT, healthcare and finance (among many others) have a breadth of experience that can translate into directed marketing content.
Develop your strategy, find an external partner to extend your organization’s technical expertise, and watch your business development plan win.