What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is defined as a marketing technique specifically aimed at creating and distributing content that can attract the target audience, and thus lead them to profitable action.
It is increasingly used by B2C and B2B companies because it has been confirmed over the years as one of the most effective solutions to increase brand awareness and brand reputation (brand awareness and brand reputation), create customer engagement, generate leads, and ultimately increase sales.
The true meaning of Content Marketing lies in the use of content. Bill Gates’ well-known phrase “Content is king” uttered in 1996 is very valid. Content published on the Web, if it is of quality, has the power to increase online reputation and lend authority to the brand. It is also important to be easily found: SEO positioning in search engines is essential.
In B2B, in particular, Content Marketing makes it possible to gather qualified contacts (lead generation) by creating and disseminating quality content that can educate, inspire and convince potential buyers to become customers. Quality content offers solutions to customer problems in a precise manner. This content builds a relationship of trust and allows you to generate quality leads ready for a commercial approach. The rule is the Latin rule: do ut des. A potential customer will fill out a form with their personal data only in exchange for content that satisfies their strong need.
Why do content marketing?
Content marketing has gained importance because traditional marketing techniques have lost their effectiveness in recent years. People are literally inundated and bombarded by continuous and repeated advertisements, coming from different platforms (banners and emails on computers and cell phones, commercials on TV, screens on the streets).
If this is evident in the consumer world, it is even more so in B2B. We are experiencing sensory overstimulation, which creates indifference because the stimuli are perceived as invasive. Not only has attention waned, but we have become increasingly good at erecting “barriers”: think of telephone calls, which are increasingly filtered by switchboard operators trained to filter them, or the anti-spam and ADV blocking solutions that have become widespread in most companies.
If once B2B marketing could be done by buying a list of contacts to target and calling them on the phone, today this approach is outdated and only causes a great waste of time and energy in generating leads, which turn out to be of low quality with low conversion volumes into concrete opportunities. It also loses its image: calls of this type give the idea of an intrusive brand.
According to a 2013 study by SiriusDecisions, today “67% of the B2B buying process is done online.” A Google study confirms that B2B buyers worldwide, before making a purchase, consult at least 12 different online information sources. The question every B2B company must ask itself is: how can my company become one of those 12 sources? Develop an effective content marketing plan.
The differences between B2B and B2C Content Marketing
B2B companies are those that offer services to other companies, while in B2C they go directly to the consumer. We see the differences and similarities between B2B and B2C content marketing. Completely different approaches are used for the two strategies.
The starting point is always brand awareness, the phase called awareness, but the B2B strategy focuses on lead generation or the creation of a limited number of useful contacts, i.e. with a real interest in the services offered. Content plans are often transmitted through LinkedIn and there is wide use of closed content, accessible after registration. In B2B, both the pitch, the “tone of voice” and the content must be technical and formal.
Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing
Using the Internet and search engines, the consumer has learned to find out about products and companies with complete autonomy, directing his research according to his interests and needs. This path, the new customer journey, begins with information gathering, continues with evaluation and choice, and leads the customer to finalize a purchase, not necessarily a purchase.
Inbound Marketing focuses on producing relevant content for the customer at the moment they are searching the web. The approaches are different, from blogging, publishing articles, e-books, guides, or creating videos. The focus is on converting casual visitors into leads. Along the way (the funnel), Inbound provides useful data for marketing.
Even if the content is the key in both cases, Content Marketing is only a part of Inbound Marketing, which is a broader methodology capable of generating favorable results for a company’s efforts. For example, optimizing the website, focusing on email marketing, managing social networks, monitoring results, A/B testing, etc. In contrast, writing content and simply inserting it within site is not enough to generate leads.