It’s become the new normal in business: do more with less. And for B2B marketers, it is more than a catch phrase — it is reality. Recent surveys of large corporate marketing departments yield the following common challenges:
– Imperatives to build even higher revenues with lower marketing budgets.
– Fewer staff to execute the same or higher volume of programs and campaigns.
– Requirements to execute marketing solutions across all channels, in particular mobile and the ill-defined “social media marketing” channel.
Much attention is currently focused on content marketing, which is a broad term commonly used to imply building thought leadership and demand-generating content rather than product- or solutions-centric content.
Recent research shows that B2B marketers plan to be spending a significant portion of 2013 focusing on how to better use content to create deeper prospect engagement and offer a more meaningful customer experience. This represents both a challenge for marketers to do more with less, but most critically, an opportunity to more closely align marketing with sales by delivering sales-enablement solutions that reuse and repurpose this content beyond the marketing experience through every customer encounter.
With increasing competition, companies must find ways to differentiate themselves and communicate their unique value. Here are three ways marketers can be seen as innovators who can do more with less:
1. Create flexible, reusable marketing content:
Don’t jump in and start producing product content just because you think you need to fill your channels. B2B marketers should get more from investments by creating product content ONCE, which can be used across multiple platforms without needing to be re-formatted, re-created or re-developed.
That Flash piece you want to develop for your website may seem like a great idea — until you want to utilize it on an iPad and realize the device has no Flash compatibility. Be sure to look into the reusability of content prior to development. A project’s cost can quickly balloon when it comes time to deploy your content to a platform other than the one you developed it for — from your website to mobile devices, social media, trade shows, etc.
Creating content that is easily modifiable is crucial as well. The expensive, impressive video you labor over developing loses its usefulness as soon as one sentence of the information in the video becomes outdated, leaving you to either abandon what you’ve created or pay to create another video entirely. It’s impossible to see such changes coming, but why not prepare for the future by making content that you can simply modify and update as your products change?
People want interactive product content that’s relevant to their real-world experiences and consistent anywhere they go, so having the same content everywhere a prospect encounters your brand is ideal for a memorable customer experience. B2B product marketers should create product content once and use it repeatedly across multiple venues — trade shows, sales meetings, analyst briefings, training sessions, etc. — without needing to re-develop or re-create the content for different types of hardware or operating systems.
2. Create a Mobile App:
With the advances in mobile technology, everyone is staying more connected to the brands they love, and more companies are pushing mobile marketing to capitalize on this increased mobile connectivity. This creates a positive challenge for brands to create even better product experiences that are available 24/7 on mobile devices. As previously discussed, it is best to create content that works not just solely on one device (like the iPad or a particular Android device), but rather, develop mobile content that is device agnostic as users are increasingly adapting to the BYOD (bring your own device) trend.
Creating a mobile product app can help you keep your messages consistent because it allows you to put product content into the hands of all employees with a simple app download. With app updates, every single user can have access to real-time product information updates, which puts the most up-to-date information into the market faster. Due to the fact that apps can be dispersed globally through a simple download, mobile devices provide a great platform to get marketing messaging out to every corner of the globe. It will help you accelerate the sales process and increase global reach — even if you have less money to spend.
3. Create Marketing Materials that are Relevant to Sales:
A recent survey by the CMO Council uncovered that sales departments think presentations created by marketing are less than useful: salespeople are spending approximately 40 percent of their time preparing customer-facing deliverables, and they are leveraging less than 50 percent of the materials created by marketing. Why? They feel they’re too “cookie cutter” or generic — not relevant for specific prospects, not compelling enough or fail to clearly depict how their products differ from competitors’.
Therefore, marketing departments should focus on creating content that is relevant to any audience in your buying cycle. In doing so, your content will not only be repurposed at all marketing touchpoints but also in almost any sales venue. Sales needs the flexibility to show each person its products on a personal level. Avoid the pitfall of “one-size-fits-all” marketing. Create interactive, non-sequential sales and marketing materials that can be uniquely tailored for each customer to tell a compelling story.
By Gavin Finn, President & CEO, Kaon Interactive