“Instant gratification is not something B2B marketers know much about,” says Sam Williams, Partner at marketing consultancy Aamplify.
He is launching the ‘Streetwise Guide to Content Marketing’ as a way of helping New Zealand B2B technology
start-ups punch above their weight in the noisy world of online marketing.
Williams uses the term Content Marketing as shorthand to describe the full armoury of digital marketing tools businesses need to deploy to drive sales and lift brand visibility in an increasingly crowded online marketplace.
“There is a lot of buzz around Content Marketing in the consumer space, but if you are a tech start-up with a cloud-based product that needs to be marketed to the wider world, there is not a lot of guidance out there,” says Williams.
He says there is a fundamental difference between the business and consumer markets – one that has made it difficult for B2B businesses to take advantage of the new paradigm of online marketing.
“In the B2C world the sales cycle can be very short. A vendor points a motivated buyer to their website and the process ends with a purchase.”
As a result, he says, a lot of the marketing tools and advice that is out there – such as Adwords and Search Engine Optimisation for example – which is geared towards achieving this type of instant gratification.
“The main thing the B2C marketer has to do is ensure their brand cuts through the very cluttered world of online advertising. But it’s very different for B2B businesses.”
Williams says the sales cycle for B2B business is typically months, not days, and as a result the type of information a business needs to communicate in order to convert a lead is more complex – and involved.
Williams says that B2B marketers don’t often have the advantage of pitching their products or services to motivated buyers.
“Before you get to the point of trying to convert people’s intent into purchase, B2B marketers first have to do the hard yards of raising awareness and interest amongst their prospective buyers.”
You can’t do the second before you do the first and that takes time, says Williams. “You have to cultivate a relationship with your audience and help them scope the problem you are solving before you are able to rouse any purchasing intentions. In some cases, the audience may not know they even have a business problem that needs attention until you point it out.”
It’s a long term game and Williams has created a ‘how to’ guide to help start-ups understand some of the fundamental steps they need to take to develop their brand, get market traction and generate momentum.
The good news is Content Marketing is a cost effective approach, says Williams. “It can be over 50% cheaper for a start-up launching offshore than traditional above-the-line marketing.
“As a B2B start-up there is a lot to learn about Content Marketing and how to apply it to help achieve the best results. Unfortunately, unlike some B2C companies, in the B2B space you can’t simply start a Facebook page and post videos of cute cats on your feed and expect that to create the type of connection you need with your key audience.
"That said, one should never underestimate the marketing power of a cat.”