A few weeks ago, I was privileged to attend NewsCred’s #ThinkContent Summit in NYC. A long-time fan of the content marketing gurus at NewsCred, I was thrilled to engage with a passionate group of my industry peers, and most importantly – a handful of super successful and inspiring speakers.

The takeaways were endless. The marketing landscape is changing and the individuals who spoke, represent companies who are doing “it” right and leading the charge. What follows are three key takeaways I was left with and what they mean for the marketing tactics of today.

  1. Do not discount emotional content, even if your company is B2B. Much of #ThinkContent’s sessions were focused on B2C products and services, but when Cameron Potts of Deluxe spoke on using content to effectively reach B2B audiences, one message rang loud and clear: content that drives human emotion DOES have a place in the B2B marketplace. Take Deluxe’s “Small Business Revolution on Main Street” campaign: Deluxe partners with small businesses and financial institutions to accelerate growth through marketing and financial services, and so the company executed a contest, driven by web, video and word-of-mouth marketing to encourage people to vote for small towns that could use financial support to help their small business community thrive. The most interesting part of this story is that the people involved in the campaign weren’t Deluxe’s target customer. Deluxe’s target market of small businesses was the beneficiary of this emotion-driven campaign and with over 10,000 nominations and 180,000 votes – you can imagine the attention, and net new business this delivered to Deluxe. Yes, there is a time and a place for everything, but as B2B marketers, we’re often trained to think in terms of corporate red-tape and old-school emotionless, product-focused marketing. Deluxe is one example of marketing campaign that creatively and uniquely positioned a B2B business in a personable light, while also remaining on track with its corporate mission and business goals.
  2. Forget the funnel and instead, “Choose Your Own Adventure.” Alex Cheeseman, ‎Head of International Strategy at NewsCred, emphasized the importance of recognizing that yesterday’s “funnel” is today’s “Choose Your Own Adventure.”Whether a prospect comes to your company through social, digital or traditional marketing tactics, their next step isn’t as predictable as it once was – how could it be? We marketers spend hours creating content that drives interaction that drives more content to drive even more interaction. Whether our prospect chooses Whitepaper 1 over Video A shouldn’t throw us off course. The idea is to create an ecosystem of marketing content that allows our prospects to access useful materials that will ultimately lead them back to the same place – the point of sale. As you develop your 2017 marketing plans, look for gaps in your content ecosystem. Make sure that your marketing plan includes all of the relevant channels, and that no matter where your prospect lands or travels within the ecosystem, your message remains cohesive and relevant.
  3. If your content is all about you, you’re not doing it right.
    This takeaway is sort of Content Marketing 101, but as such, it bears repeating every so often. If you’re aiming to drive clicks, interaction, shares, interest and sales, developing hundreds of self-promotional pieces of “content” is not the answer. Take a look at this (poorly photographed) graphic that was shared by Rohin Dhar, Founder and CEO of Priceonomics:So, who’s doing this right on the B2B side? Not surprisingly, NewsCred is! In doing a search through my inbox, the last three emails I’ve received from NewsCred are as follows:

    • INFOGRAPHIC: How Marketers Create and Consume Content
    • CASE STUDY: What Marketers Can Learn From Netflix’s Content Strategy
    • ARTICLE: Can You Quantify the ROI of Great Storytelling?

Notice how brand-agnostic this content is. It could almost be repurposed on any marketing technology vendor’s website. (And, that’s meant to be compliment!). The point is, I read these emails because they come with informative, interesting, well-written content that is focused on solving our problem and answering our questions as marketers, as opposed to our problems and questions as NewsCred sales prospects or existing customers. Ultimately, this approach leads to more qualified leads, happier customers and positive word-of-mouth.

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Are you interested in content marketing or other B2B marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group, today.