The buzz in B2B markets appears to be all about content marketing. This article attempts to define the term and outlines some of its advantages.
Companies, both big and small, are catching on to the power of content marketing as a method to stay engaged with existing and potential new customers and secure more business. Content (pull) marketing is nothing new but it is probably more effective today than it has ever been the past.
In the past the majority of marketing activity in both B2C and B2B markets was push based. As the name implies this involved pushing the message at the prospect using the old awareness, interest, desire, action (AIDA) model. Various push marketing techniques were employed including advertising, telemarketing, direct mail, print and press coverage.
Today, prospects both in B2B and B2C markets are much more inclined to search out the information they need (Awareness and interest) rather than wait for it to be pushed their way. Although advertising does still have a role in awareness in general prospects are more and more actively resistant to push marketing techniques.
Effective marketing is today more and more based on pull marketing than push where pull marketing may be defined as the process of placing relevant and useful information in the public domain that allows prospects to make informed choices and decisions. Of course the trick is to guide the prospect in a desired direction without pushing. Pull marketing should include actively building credibility in general and specifically (via case study and other means)
Content marketing is the latest buzz phrase but effectively it is only a different name for pull marketing. The issues with content marketing are who is the target what information should be delivered that is of value to those targets and how should it be delivered so that it is most likely to be read by the target prospect.
The challenge of delivering sufficient content that is engaging means that many businesses outsource at least part of their content marketing activities. A recent survey conducted by CMI / Outbrain found that 39% of the B2B businesses surveyed outsource at least part of their content creation activities.
Content marketing then is nothing new but events over the past two years have driven its new popularity. It is clear there is more and more resistance to the old push marketing techniques. In parallel with this change major changes to the operation of the internet search algorithms have made content more important than it ever was in the past.