During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced the significance of marketing and communications, and we are cognizant that brands and enterprises who invest substantially here will emerge stronger on the other side. With a lack of face-to-face interaction, the traditional B2B model does not stand adequate and has compelled B2B buyers and sellers to go completely digital—thus bringing the need for a transformed marketing strategy at the front. Adding more relevance to the theme, Kanika Mittal, Business Head @ Twitter India and Hitu Chawla, CMO, Microsoft India explore how content marketing is here to stay and thrive for B2B brands.
While a lot many challenges of the pandemic will evaporate with time, a few are here to stay for long. Forrester forecasts that in a post-pandemic world, 80% or more of the sales cycle will continue to happen in a digital or a remote setting. True, sellers and marketers must overcome these hurdles they have never experienced before, but effective engagement with B2B buyers is still achievable. However, doing so necessitates a shift in mindset, as well as the adoption of methods that enable teams to provide the seamless experiences that B2B buyers have come to demand with time.
- Delivery of customised content to the buyer with the right media mix: For B2B buyers, content marketing is critical on the road to purchase. Marketers are increasingly under pressure to break through the content clutter in order to reach the right people with the right messages at the right places—the content and delivery methods must keep up with the pace and aim for innovation along the way.
Marketers must be prepared to provide personalised content that is linked to the sales team’s key ask. It is imperative to ensure that they have access and can customise all approved, branded content in a streamlined way from one location.
Medium is as important as the message—not only does the content need to be relevant, but also the medium of delivery needs to be innovative and engaging to make it appetising for buyers.
B2B marketing is about more than just reaching companies. It is about reaching the people at those companies, and social media is where the full ecosystem of business decision-makers – from the C-suite to the managers that influence the C-suite – form an influential community that B2B marketers can tap into. Identifying the target audience and the relevant content themes aligned with measurable business goals can help scale one’s chosen marketing objectives.
Hitu highlights, “AI and Data Security cover the entire spectrum of responsible innovation fostered by trust for @MicrosoftIndia—it was critical for them to engage and leverage voices of influence on the commercial space to drive a credible share of voice. Global trends like Artificial Intelligence and advancements in the field of cybersecurity have ensured that there are enough and more conversations around the topics and the sub-themes of automation and end-point security. The conversations are driven by decision-makers, industry experts and influencers, opinion-makers, journalists and bloggers, and the general public by large who are readily voicing their opinions on platforms like Twitter. This is where the partnership with the social media platform was highly opportune. It led to a publisher tie-up, in turn driving engaging conversations, subsequently amplified manifold.”
- Leveraging video as a powerful and engaging source of delivery:
Kanika discusses the power video has over the audience presently, “ Video has already taken over media and is quickly becoming an integral part of all marketing strategies. Per the emerging marketing trends for 2021, online videos are only here to multiply and take up the internet traffic for the coming years significantly.”
She further adds, “The return to fostering a connection with the audience on the back of empathy is visible today. In place of a hard-hitting message, marketers can look at enveloping the area of focus with creative video assets, infusing them with the relevant emotional touch. Identifying themes aligned with the given line of business and empowering these themes by well-crafted brand narratives can help drive a deeper connection with the audience—to bridge the gap between people’s opinions and the platform where these opinions are expressed.”
Urging brands to raise consumer awareness and creating an ecosystem of a leaned-in audience, including small business owners, large buyers and marketers, can enable more innovative content partnerships. Brand videos, customer testimonials, success stories and case studies, employee spotlight videos, webinars matched with different publishers and distribution channels can amplify meaningful interactions and capture important information from prospects – to build more interactive and engaging B2B content marketing experiences.
On the same lines, @MicrosoftIndia launched its AI Innovation Series with a focus on video as a medium of content dispatch on Twitter. The objective was to increase awareness around AI and data security and promote an extended association with the brand. They collaborated with credible partners for content dissemination to tap into tech influencers and experts and ensured authentic delivery of knowledge through them.
Apart from this, tapping virtual events for wider reach, better engagement tracking and social media selling for networking, and sharing thought leadership pieces through company spokespersons can help cast a wider net for effective content engagements across torso and tail.
The pandemic has altered the face of B2B commerce for the foreseeable future. Businesses that are able to adapt and deploy new marketing techniques effectively will emerge as successful survivors and victors, like Twitter and Microsoft, brands that are making these efforts in an individual and collective capacity. It is imperative to pay attention to the emerging trends and position and promote one’s business— for the people, the product and the service.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com
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