For a B2B marketer, content is essential, but that doesn’t make it easy. According to a new Demand Gen Report survey, 97% of B2B buyers rely on content to research and make purchasing decisions. At the same time, 34% of buyers claim they now have less time than ever to devote to researching their purchases. In other words, content marketers must adapt. The time crunch is on, and we’re only going to have less of it in the future.
Shorter, Better, Faster
The DGR report indicates that 46% of the B2B buyers surveyed far and away preferred shorter content formats, a statistic that might concern some content marketers. Oftentimes, short forms risk jeopardizing quality to be succinct.
However, the survey also points to strategies that can bolster shorter formats. Seventy-six percent (76%) of those surveyed wanted companies to support their content with more data and research; 62% want to see more benchmarking data, and 61% would like more insight from industry thought leaders.
The demands on a B2B professional’s time do not stop at just format and content. It also impacts access. Seventy-one percent (71%) of those surveyed wanted content that is easier to access.
Right Person, Right Message
When it comes to content types, 96% of marketers said they preferred prescriptive content that recommends a formulaic solution. Prescriptive content uses titles like “7 Steps to Success” or “3 Tips for Sales and Marketing Alignment.”
But, as we’ve seen, the demand for quality content is nearly 100% among B2B buyers who are researching purchase decisions, and they are not abiding content that is irrelevant:
- 67% want content tailored to their business needs
- 64% want content consistent with their industry
- 49% want content specific to their vertical
Walk a Mile in Your Prospect’s Shoes
The savviest marketers are already creating prescriptive content. B2B websites teem with “How to” Guides, step-by-step infographics, and eBooks that lay out simple solutions to complex problems. But relevance is another matter. Whatever the prescription, it’s likely that a company’s product resides at its core.
This is not surprising. The Content Marketing Institute found that 54% of B2B marketers find it difficult to create engaging content. Industry guru, Brian Solis, claims that to solve this challenge, marketers must have empathy for their prospects. In other words, we must feel and react to our prospects’ pain points as if they were our own.
That’s easy to say, but not as easy to do. As B2B marketers, it’s our job to elevate our brand, to build interest in our products and solutions. So, it’s natural to consider the product first and build content around the problem it solves. This kind of content is important for an overall nurturing campaign, but this is later stage stuff, materials that a prospect entering the decision stage will favor.
Early stage content –the content that generates the lead– requires marketers to listen. As we’ve written before, there are many ways of listening. There is a tremendous amount of data available to inform your content creation. When you know the topics your prospects are actually researching, it’s much easier to be empathetic.
Overwhelmed and Unimpressed
Finally, the DGR report revealed that 46% of buyers are overwhelmed by the amount of content available. Indeed, there is a surfeit of B2B infographics, webinars, whitepapers, eBooks, and video. Some of it is good, but much of it is weak: statistics without analysis, whitepapers that lack real purpose, infographics that merely regurgitate well-known statistics.
Let’s just say this outright. Content is not an end in itself. Don’t waste your prospects’ time. If the content isn’t relevant or helpful, or merely tells them what they already know, then you’re doing more harm than good.
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For more information about how Madison Logic can help you generate empathetic content visit our Content Marketing Services page.