How Good Is Your Online Marketing Program?

Ed BurghardB2B Graphic

Great Question For Economic Development Professionals

I just finished reading an article on B2B marketing authored by Ginny Soskey at HubSpot.  In the article, Ginny shares benchmark data on B2B content marketing.  Think of this as the rough equivalent of an EDO’s online marketing investment.  I think the infographic information is very relevant to the economic development profession and I thought I’d take a moment to share it with you.  I have also provided some interpretive comments below.

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93% of B2B Marketers Are Using Content Marketing Today

This is good news, because it suggests business executives are becoming increasingly familiar with the web as a reliable source for information to help them make better informed decisions.  Your EDO definitely should be using content marketing to communicate why your community is a great location choice.

What is content marketing?  Here is a reasonable definition –

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

86% Have Someone Who Oversees Content Strategy

Great content doesn’t just happen, and crowdsourcing your content strategy makes no sense if you want a consistent message.  It appears that to do it well, you should have somebody in your EDO accountable for ensuring the content you post is consistent with the messaging your EDO is trying to communicate.  Without a dedicated staff person, you are likely to be sharing a hodgepodge of information that makes it hard for the reader to understand how your community is differentiated versus competitive options.

Tactical Variety is Important

On average, 13 tactics are used by the best B2B marketing programs.  Typical tactics include things like articles, newsletters, blogs, social media, etc..  This finding suggests your EDO should be investing in a broader range of online tactics to get your messaging communicated.  Just having a website is not enough.  The number of tactics reflects the variety of ways business executives like to get information.  No single tactic is going to appeal to every executive in your target audience.  You need a tactical mix that in aggregate appeals to the majority.

95% of Marketers Segment Their Content

I advocate you consider segmenting your content in one of three ways – 1) Stage in capital investment cycle, 2) profile of decision influencer (e.g. different content for site selection consultant than the company’s HR Director), or 3) target industry.  Take a look at how your EDO is creating and delivering content.  Is it based on one of these three segmentation structures?  If not, should it be?

93% of the Most Successful B2B Content Marketers Cite Lead Generation as a Goal

How well is your community’s online effort aligned with creating leads?  You should be able to describe the visitor flow that will ultimately result in a person-to-person discussion.  If you can’t, then I would submit your online communication program has room for improvement.  It should be all about getting the right information to the right people at the right time so your community can be appropriately and fairly considered for capital investment opportunities.  You should know what that looks like and how to measure progress along the way.  To many community websites I have reviewed are simply self-aggrandizing fluff that is easy for business executives to ignore.  In my humble opinion, you really need to be able to connect the dots between your content marketing efforts and your EDO sales efforts.  They need to be synergistic, or you will likely never get a positive ROI for your online investment.

Discussion

I hope you like the article.  It is a quick read.  Let me know if you have experience that supports the information provided.  It is always good to put real world examples behind general marketing counsel.

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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