Breaking Down the Buy-In Barrier for B2B Content Marketing


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While more and more B2B marketers are using content marketing and allocating more of their budgets to it, there is still a significant percentage facing the challenge of getting buy-in. There are incredible opportunities for B2B marketers to utilize content to drive more leads and sales – if they can convince the powers-that-be that content marketing will increase the bottom line.

During this webinar, Search Mojo’s Kari Rippetoe will show you how to overcome this obstacle and get the buy-in needed to implement an effective content marketing program.

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  • Insert Scott’s Info here.
  • Thanks, Alex. So that’s the big question right there – why content marketing? And I would even venture to say that many of you already know the answer to that question. You probably wouldn’t be here today at this webinar if you didn’t because you know why content marketing is so important for B2B companies, you know the value it brings – but you’re just not sure how to convince your boss of it, or how to get the organizational support you need to make it work. And I hope I can give you some helpful pointers with that today.
  • But your boss is probably asking the same question - why content marketing – and you have to make your case. Well, numbers and data are always a good place to start, so let’s look at the current state of B2B content marketing. Firstly, 9 out of 10 marketers are using content marketing – so it’s very much a top priority for your fellow B2B marketers. They’re also spending more on it – 58% of B2B marketers have increased their content marketing budgets this year and they’re spending an average of 30% of their budgets on it.
  • And what are the most effective B2B content marketers doing?
  • But B2B content marketers do have their share of challenges, and producing content is definitely a huge challenge. In fact, I was just at a conference called Lead Gen Summit last week where I led a roundtable discussion that focused on content marketing challenges, and certainly the biggest challenges we discussed were around the production of content, from planning the creation of content to finding the resources to create it, and then creating the most relevant content.

    But you can also see other big challenges when it comes to content marketing, which I think really get to the heart of the buy-in barrier we’re talking about today. Specifically, those are the (click) inability to measure content effectiveness and lack of integration across marketing, and if we can address those challenges, we can start to break down that buy-in barrier. We’ll get to that a little later, but first, let’s look at the broader challenges that B2B marketers face.
  • And these are more general challenges that aren’t related specifically to content marketing, but in addressing these challenges, we can then start to talk about addressing content marketing challenges.

    Getting marketing and sales aligned. This is a huge challenge, especially in larger enterprise level companies where marketing and sales seem to be very much siloed, so they may not be talking to each other as much as they should.
    Sticking to a strategy is also a big challenge for B2B marketers, because there are so many forces within and outside of an organization that affect how a strategy is executed, not to mention differing opinions. [Story about Littelfuse at Lead Gen Summit] So all this combined can make sticking to a cohesive strategy quite difficult.
    Another challenge is getting buyers down that sales funnel. Many companies may have their leads stuck in the top, or the middle, and they can’t seem to get them to the next stage where they’re sales-qualified and getting ready to make a buying decision.
    Convincing the decision-makers is always a big challenge. There are so many forces at play here, because you could be dealing with several different roles in the company who make the ultimate buying decision, and each is going to have a different perspective and need different information.
    And then, of course, is the biggest challenge facing B2B marketers: proving ROI. Marketing is being scrutinized more and more by CEOs, and in fact…
  • …a study by Ifbyphone shows that 4 of the top 5 marketing metrics that are most important to CEOs are focused on sales and revenue.
  • So how can marketers overcome these challenges and at the same time, show the value of content marketing to their management?
  • As B2B marketers we all want to generate more leads. But are the leads that we’re generating actionable for sales? And is sales communicating back to marketing about those leads? Communication is key, and the more marketing and sales is communicating, the better informed our marketing efforts will be, and the more qualified the leads we generate will be. So it’s important to establish that line of regular communication between sales and marketing so everyone is on the same page. This way, you can get some actionable feedback on the quality of leads you’re generating, and you can also get more insight into the tools needed to help them make those sales. This is where content comes in, because we can also find out from sales what questions customers are asking, and create content that can answer those questions and fulfill that sales need.

  • So if you remember I was telling you earlier the story of the marketer at a company who was having a hard time getting everyone to agree on what exactly content marketing is. And if you can’t get everyone on the same page there, then good luck with implementing an effective content marketing program. But the first thing you really have to do before you even talk about content marketing is to establish your overall business goals. And you have to do this before you even start to talk about content marketing, because that’s just a piece of strategy. If you can get everyone in agreement on what you’re trying to accomplish with marketing in the first place, then you can put together a strategy that will address those goals and tie everything together
  • The next challenge is moving buyers down the sales funnel. And again, many companies have leads that are stuck in the top or middle of the sales funnel and they can’t seem to move towards the bottom. Content marketing can certainly help overcome this challenge, in that it can be used to actively nurture leads and provide them with the information they need at that particular stage, while keeping your brand and solution top of mind. But this is where you’ll need to again keep those communication lines open with sales, and also work with them to map content to the different stages in the funnel, as well as to the different buying stages. It’s also important to develop your buyer personas so you know what your customers’ specific pain points during the different buying stages are, and you can more effectively address those pain points with your content – thusly, moving them down the sales funnel quicker.
  • And speaking of personas, persona development will help you to better influence decision-makers as well. As I mentioned before, you might be dealing with several different people who make purchasing decisions, or even heavily influence purchasing decisions. So, you’ll need to know what roles those decision-makers and influencers are in, first and foremost. You’ll need to know what their biggest pain points are, and the top questions they might have regarding solutions like yours. Then, you can create content that addresses those specific roles, pain points, and questions.
  • And lastly (but definitely not least), you have to be able to prove the ROI of your efforts. So what you really need to do is work backwards – go back to your business goals and what you want to ultimately achieve from your efforts, then determine the Key Performance Indicators that align with those goals and will give you the best picture of how you’re doing, then figure out how you’re going to effectively measure those KPIs. And we’ll talk about some of those metrics to look at a little later.
  • So now that I’ve shown you how content marketing can help you address some of the high-level challenges that B2B marketers have, now I’m going to show you how you can make your case to management for implementing a content marketing program.
  • Now notice that I said “program” and not “campaign,” because a campaign is really about a short-term, quick hit effort, and content marketing, in order to be successful, really should be a sustained, consistent effort. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, to quote Joe Pulizzi. So I cannot stress this enough as you’re making your case, because this might be a hurdle to overcome with management – who might be focused on results right now. So let’s go through how to put together a content marketing plan to present to your management.
  • Now many of you I’m sure have had to create a marketing plan before, and this is going to be no different. I find that a cohesive plan that shows that who, what, when, why, and how will really go a long way in making your case. So I write out a plan – and it could be in an outline, or in a slide deck – but it includes the following sections:

    Goals – This is the “why” of your plan. Go back to those business goals I was talking about earlier. You’ll need to establish these with the major stakeholders at the outset so you know what is important to them, and you can create a plan that aims to achieve those. You’ll need to summarize why you’re creating this plan, and then list these goals to show what you’re trying to accomplish. Now I think it’s very important to set goals that are achievable, and also specific. Your CEO might want to increase sales, but that’s way too broad and you’ll be constantly chasing your tail to accomplish this. How much do you want to increase sales, and in what period of time? And can we hone in on that even more to make the goal much more achievable – for instance, decreasing the time to purchase, or increasing the average total sale.
    Strategy – this is the first part of “how,” but you’re not getting into the tactical yet. This is where you think about the path you’re going to take to accomplish your goals and where content marketing fits into that. So if your goal is to decrease the time to purchase, then your strategy might be to provide leads with content at the appropriate time in the buying cycle in order to inform their evaluation of your solution and help them make a quicker decision.
    Tactics – this is where you’ll go into further detail about the specific tactics you’ll be executing in line with your strategy. So using the previous example, one tactic might be to set up lead nurturing campaigns via email to deliver to leads who are in different stages of the buying cycle.
    The next section is Resources, where you’ll define the “who” “what” and/or “where.” These will be the different resources used to execute the tactics, such as internal staff, outside vendors, and specific marketing technology platforms and software. Now the resources are obviously very important, but I’ll go into more about getting buy-in and support from other internal staff to help you execute your plan in just a few minutes.
    Finally, the Metrics section will outline how you plan to measure the success of your content marketing efforts. You’ll want to include high level key performance indicators, such as lead gen, SEO, or other KPIs you define as important to your company, then detail the specific metrics to support that, such as leads, search rankings, etc.
  • Now content marketing is not an island. You may be putting together a content marketing plan, but it really fits quite neatly into nearly all of the other marketing channels you may be using. Content, in fact, is really the driving force behind those other strategies, which include both SEO and paid search, social media, email, mobile, PR, and even any offline channels you may be using like print and events. Let’s look at a couple examples of how you might integrate content into your other marketing activities.
  • When it comes to SEO, you really need to have content to drive your search strategy. Google has been making great strides over the past few years with their algorithm updates to put the focus on quality, relevant content in search results. And most recently, Google’s new algorithm called Hummingbird is helping searchers find even more relevant content that better answers their queries, because it’s more of a semantic search algorithm that tries to better understand what searchers are really looking for and answer their questions, rather than simply returning search results that contain certain keywords or phrases. So let’s say I search for “Who are the best cloud computing providers?”. These are the results that are returned, and you can see that it’s not just returning results that contain those specific keywords. You can see “Top 10 cloud computing providers,” “Most important companies in cloud computing,” even “Compare cloud computing services.” And they’re in the top 3 positions! Google is understanding from my query that I’m evaluating cloud computing companies, and is trying to answer my question with the most relevant content. So, you can see how important it is for you to create content that is not just containing keywords, but also answering your customers’ questions, in order to drive more traffic and leads from organic search.
  • Now with PR, this is where you’ll want to get your PR and communications people in line with your content marketing efforts, because there are really so many opportunities to integrate content with their efforts. These could be interviews of or thought leadership pieces written by internal SMEs for industry publications or news media, features on research and reports your company did, or video from events where an SME spoke. There are lots of other creative ways that PR can help both create and distribute content, and you definitely don’t want to forget about that as you’re putting your plan together.
  • Speaking of getting others involved in content marketing, it’s imperative that you do get support from internal stakeholders and contributors for your content marketing initiatives, for a few reasons:
    They will include your SMEs, who will hopefully help you to create the content. So you need to make sure they’re willing participants.
    They will include other departments (such as sales and PR), who will also help you to create content, not to mention distribute it and use to sell. Again, you need to make sure they too are willing participants.
    Having that support will be crucial for making your case, because they will go to bat for you and help you prove that content marketing has value and can work across the organization.
  • The final part I’ll be talking about today is measuring the success of your content marketing activities. This is something you’ll want to include in your plan to show management how content marketing will drive what they want to see – which as I mentioned before is largely revenue-driven.
  • So then, what should you measure? Well first of all, think of your goals, which will be the best indicator of how you’ll measure the success of your content marketing program. For example, your goals might be to increase brand awareness, increase leads, and increase customers. So then, you can think about the key performance indicators that will help you get a picture of how you’re achieving those goals – so in this case, website traffic and PR will help you to measure awareness, while lead generation and sales metrics will help you measure the sales driven goals. Finally, the specific metrics you measure will tie to those KPIs – so for your traffic KPI, you might measure unique visitors as one of your metrics. For PR, you might measure how many placements in publications your efforts generated, and for lead gen and sales, you’d look at how many leads you generated, how many turned into sales opportunities, and ultimately the sales that were generated. Now this is a pretty simplistic way to look at what to measure, and obviously goals, KPIs, and metrics will be different and probably a lot more complex for every company, but this at least helps you think of the process for determining your metrics.
  • But as you’re going through this process, you’ll need to beware of vanity metrics, which are metrics that really aren’t going to be of any use to you in demonstrating the success of your program. These are metrics that don’t tie back to your goals, aren’t actionable by your team, or aren’t accurate indicators of your visitor or customer behavior. Any this might be a challenge you have to overcome as you’re either getting buy-in or implementing your content marketing program, because you might have different ideas from different camps of what should be measured, and those are not going tell the best story of how the program is achieving your goals. For instance, search rankings aren’t actually the best indicator anymore of SEO success, because of several disruptions to search that have rendered this almost immeasurable (such as personalized search, rich snippets, and “not provided” keyword data). Instead, measure how well search is driving traffic to your website, and if you see increases from organic search to specific pieces of content. Engagement is another vanity metric, and these include the social media metrics that show engagement with your social media content – Likes, comments, retweets, etc. I’m not saying not to measure these, because an increase in engagement metrics might indicate am increase in brand awareness, or at the very least will be a barometer for how well your content is resonating with your audience. But as far as tying back to your goals, it may be better to measure how social media is driving traffic, and ultimately conversion actions. A third example of a vanity metric is bounce rate. In olden days, this used to be a good indicator of how interested your website visitors were in your content. If bounce rate was high, then that meant that people were hitting your site, then leaving again soon thereafter without visiting any other page on your site. But with tabbed browsing, which if you’re like me means that people might open your site in a browser tab, but leave it open without engaging with it right away, bounce rate is not the most accurate measurement of success anymore. The better indicator is, again, conversion actions. If you see, for instance, that a page with a content download has a low bounce rate but not a lot of conversion, then that could indicate a disinterest in your content.

    And with that, I’m going to turn it back over to Alex, who has a few words for you before we answer some questions.
  • Kari
  • Breaking Down the Buy-In Barrier for B2B Content Marketing

    1. 1. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | BREAKING DOWN THE BUY-IN BARRIER FOR B2B CONTENT MARKETING Kari Rippetoe, Content marketing manager @SEARCHMOJO SEARCH-MOJO.COM 800.939.5938
    2. 2. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | TODAY’S PRESENTER Kari Rippetoe Content Marketing Manager, Search Mojo Follow on Twitter: @KariRippetoe
    3. 3. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | ABOUT MARKETING MOJO • Search engine marketing firm founded in 2005 › Search engine optimization (SEO) › Pay-per-click advertising management (PPC) › Social media advertising › Online reputation management • Headquartered in Charlottesville, VA › Office in Charleston, SC • Featured in the Washington Post, B2B Magazine, MarketingSherpa, Visibility Magazine and many blogs • Speakers at SMX Advanced, MarketingProfs, PubCon and more
    4. 4. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | OUR CLIENTS
    5. 5. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | WHY CONTENT MARKETING?
    6. 6. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | STATE OF B2B CONTENT MARKETING • 9 out of 10 marketers are using content marketing • 58% are increasing content marketing budgets 30% of budgets spent on content marketing 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends
    7. 7. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | PROFILE OF AN EFFECTIVE B2B CONTENT MARKETER • 39% have a part of their marketing budget allocated to content marketing • 66% have a documented content marketing strategy • Use an average of 15 content marketing tactics • Use an average of 7 social media platforms 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends
    8. 8. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | B2B CONTENT MARKETING CHALLENGES 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends
    9. 9. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | 5 CHALLENGES B2B MARKETERS FACE 1. Getting marketing and sales aligned 2. Sticking to a strategy 3. Moving buyers down the sales funnel 4. Convincing the decision-makers 5. Proving ROI
    10. 10. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | WHAT CEOS THINK IS IMPORTANT Source: Ifbyphone
    11. 11. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | OVERCOMING B2B MARKETING CHALLENGES
    12. 12. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | 1. ALIGNING SALES & MARKETING • Establish a line of communication › What is the quality of the leads? › What does sales need to sell? › What questions are customers asking? Sales Content Insights from Sales
    13. 13. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | 2. GETTING YOUR STRATEGY TOGETHER • Establish your overall business goals before talking content marketing • Tie it all together with an integrated strategy for accomplishing goals
    14. 14. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | 3. MOVING BUYERS DOWN THE FUNNEL • Communicate with sales • Map content to sales funnel and buying stages • Develop personas
    15. 15. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | 4. INFLUENCING THE DECISION- MAKERS • Know the roles of the decision-makers and influencers • Know what their pain points are • Know what their top questions regarding your solutions are
    16. 16. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | Step How Many Solutions Evaluated Key Personas Key Rings of Insight Resources Consulted Content Trigger Small biz owner Lightweight option, warranty expiring WSJ article LinkedIn group PR: Story about product weight Research 5 Office Manager Battery life Size/Weight Online reviews Blog posts Website: Comparisons of one model vs. competition Assess 3 Office Manager Keyboard feel Screen Resolution Apple Store Best Buy In store offers Negotiate 2 Small biz owner Cost trade-offs Extended warranty Supplier websites Offers (coupon, rebate?) Implement 1 Office Manager Start-up time Tech Support Customer newsletter User community User community on site Help Tips
    17. 17. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | 5. PROVING ROI • Go back to your goals • Determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) • Figure out how to measure KPIs
    18. 18. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | MAKING YOUR CASE
    19. 19. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar |
    20. 20. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | PUTTING TOGETHER YOUR PLAN • Goals • Strategy • Tactics • Resources • Metrics
    21. 21. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | INTEGRATION IS KEY SEO Paid search/media Social Media Email Mobile PR Print media Events
    22. 22. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | Query: Who are the best cloud computing providers? SEMANTIC SEARCH: ANSWER QUESTIONS
    23. 23. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | PR AND CONTENT MARKETING • Interviews • Thought-leadership pieces • Research and reports • Event video PR can CREATE and DISTRIBUTE content!
    24. 24. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | GET SUPPORT FROM STAKEHOLDERS & CONTRIBUTORS • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are on board as creators and contributors • Other departments are on board with how content will be used by them • They’ll help you make your case and prove content marketing’s value
    25. 25. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | MEASURING CONTENT MARKETING SUCCESS
    26. 26. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | WHAT METRICS MATTER? • Increase awareness • Increase leads • Increase customers Goals • Traffic • PR • Lead gen • Sales KPIs • Unique visitors • Placements • Leads to opportunities • Sales Metrics
    27. 27. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | BEWARE OF VANITY METRICS • Don’t tie back to goals • Aren’t actionable • Aren’t accurate indicators of behavior Vanity Metric Try this instead… Search rankings Traffic from search “Engagement” Traffic & conversions from social Bounce rate Conversions
    28. 28. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | CONTACT Kari Rippetoe Google+: +Kari Rippetoe Twitter: @KariRippetoe