Last month, five marketing experts came together at Blanco Tacos & Tequila, hosted by BMA Phoenix, to discuss B2B content success strategies for the buyers’ journey. The panel included Dan Tyre of Hubspot, Molly Castelazo of Castelazo Content, Lindsay Bayuk of Pure Chat, and Justin Gray of LeadMD. The conversation was moderated by Sheila Kloefkorn of KEO Marketing (and current president of BMA Phoenix). The panel shared their insights on content strategy, development, and marketing and answered some great questions from the audience. Here are 7 key lessons we learned.
7 Key Takeaways From The Panel Discussion:
- Content marketing & inbound marketing are not the same
Dan asked the question, but it was probably rhetorical. Everyone agreed that content marketing is not the same as inbound marketing. Inbound marketing gets leads into the funnel; content marketing carries them through to the sale.
The difference is driven by the evolution in the sales cycle. As Dan pointed out, sales people no longer hold the reins; the buyers do. In fact, 65% of the sales process takes place before someone even wants to talk to a salesperson.
- Strategy should always come first
According to Molly, one of the biggest mistakes we can make as marketers is to “not stand our ground and make strategy a number one priority when starting a content marketing program.”
If you don’t already have a strategy that maps content to the buyers’ journey, Molly offered a few steps you can take to get started:
- Talk to your customers and segment them out into buyer personas. Document who they are, where they are, and most importantly, what questions they are asking.
- Get help from your sales team to map out the buyers’ journey.
- Then every piece of content you produce should note:
- Which buyer persona the content is for
- What stage in the buyers’ journey
- What questions you’re answering or pain points you’re addressing
Taking these steps keeps you honest – focused on the buyer.
- It’s about quality and quantity
Quality over quantity is a common phrase in the content world, but Justin made a great point: “Don’t downplay the urgency with which we need to create content.” In our social driven world, it’s crucial to create and distribute valuable content in real time – and the more, the better.
- Content should solve a problem
The panel agreed that whether the buyer knows what their problem is or not, your content should give them a solution (or at least point them in the right direction). Even if they don’t know what their problem is, they feel it. Write content that addresses the problem that your product or service solves and then take that content to where your buyers are.
- Never lose sight of the ‘why’
Lindsay explained that Pure Chat is a team of 13 people, and she sees great value in that small number. “Small companies are at an advantage. Alignment, collaboration, and communication are much easier when you’re working with a smaller group of people. Furthermore, some big companies lose sight of the why. They start to focus solely on driving numbers and forget about whom they are serving. They lose the human aspect. We should never lose sight of the why.”
Sales and marketing must be in alignment in order for content marketing to be successful. “Sales people need to understand the humanistic way to work with the buyers,” Dan explained. “The old sales methods just don’t work anymore. The customer has control and they want the salesperson to appear out of nowhere like a genie out of a lamp at just the right time.”
For that to be possible, sales and marketing must collaborate. Justin said he has seen great results where sales and marketing collaborate on how they are going to work together throughout the buying process and beyond to make the sale and then drive customer satisfaction.
- Utilize social media
Social media allows us to distribute content and engage with buyers where they’re at, in real time. Plus, as marketers we can use social media to get immediate feedback on our content. Share content regularly on social. Go where your buyers are. Engage, engage, engage.
Michaella Blake is Content Developer & Social Media Strategist at Castelazo Content, an award-winning content marketing firm whose ‘why’ is simple: to help B2B companies sell more. Connect with Michaella on LinkedIn.