There’s a temptation for business to business marketers, especially ones operating within an account based marketing approach, to view their prospects as monolithic entities–and to market to them as such. Prospect company X operates within this industry and geography. They have defined challenges based on their technology stack or organizational structure. They need to accomplish a set of defined goals.
But that’s a big mistake. As much as organizations share goals, challenges, and other characteristics, they are not homogenous. They’re made up of distinct individuals, each of whom have their own specific challenges, skills, goals, and perspectives. These people aren’t solely representatives of their companies; they’re also consumers. Consequently they have become accustomed to and prefer the sorts of personalized marketing experiences that leading consumer brands like Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify deliver–and this has big implications for how B2B marketers should approach developing and deploying content.
Key considerations for B2B content marketers
B2B marketing, especially for software-as-a-service and technology companies, has become increasingly synonymous with content marketing. Provide valuable content to businesses aware of a challenge or problem, develop their understanding, present a solution, and trust that qualified buyers will grow to recognize the value of your offering.
It seems straightforward enough, until you acknowledge the fact that most companies of sufficient scale to invest in software solutions tend to be large organizations with over 1,000 employees and multiple stakeholders involved in the buying process. Complicating that, most likely those stakeholders will come from different parts of the organization like IT, marketing, sales, operations, and legal–all with their own unique sets of challenges and requirements.
For example, content that speaks to the needs of a marketer might be indifferent to an IT professional charged with implementing a solution, and potentially frightening to a legal professional concerned with privacy regulations. To support sales efforts, marketing has to ensure that the right content gets to the right person at the right point in the buying process–but how?
Challenges to personalizing content marketing
Organizations using ABM tools may know when a person representing a target account is on their website, but these tools don’t identify who the person is, what their job function is, their role in the buying process, or their level of awareness of the company’s offerings. Consequently, they can’t be sure they’re delivering relevant content that could lead to a sale.
A traditional customer data platform helps companies resolve site visitors’ identities, which is the first step in the process of serving them up the most relevant content. But B2B companies face an additional challenge in that they have to resolve their visitors’ identity in two ways.
• First, they need to identify the user as a member of a specific account–what prospective customer do they work for?
• Then, they need to identify who the user is, their job function, and where they fit into the buying process.
How Lytics helps B2B marketers
Lytics offers two key features that empower B2B content marketers beyond the capabilities of traditional customer data platforms: graph database identity resolution and content affinity.
Lytics’ identity graph stitches together customer data from different data sources into a single user profile. Rather than solely classify a user as a representative of a targeted account, it gathers behavioral data based on their interactions with the site, and predicts their interests. By identifying users’ preferences and organizations, it can serve up appropriate marketing experiences across B2B organizations’ marketing execution channels, such as personalized experiences on a website, appropriate ad retargeting, and in email marketing.
That’s where content affinity comes into the equation. Since target markets are so specific in an account-based marketing approach, organizations can’t afford to deliver inappropriate or irrelevant content. With most B2B companies having a wealth of content across their website, on their blog, and in resource libraries, Lytics reduces the workload by having its content affinity engine crawl all the content and use natural language processing to identify topics. When a site visitor engages with a specific piece of content, Lytics identifies their interest in specific topics, then recommends similar, relevant, content to that user in the future.
Key lessons for B2B marketers
Whether or not you choose to use technology to address your B2B marketing needs, there are some key lessons that you’d be well-advised to incorporate into your content marketing efforts.
- You may be targeting specific accounts with your marketing efforts, but ultimately you are marketing and selling to people.
- These people are also consumers, and they expect a certain amount of personalization. Impersonal or irrelevant offers and content risk alienating the people who will make the decision whether or not to buy.
- Customer data platforms aren’t just for direct-to-consumer packaged goods and media companies. B2B companies that use content marketing strategies can profit by using behavioral data and content affinity to deliver relevant marketing experiences at the right time.
To find out more about how Lytics works with B2B organizations, check out our B2B Technology education page.