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Content Strategy For Business Buyers

June 27th, 2016

Business Buyers Need A Content Strategy For Professionals

Business buyers might have to sit through board meetings and defend their purchase decisions in front of their superiors, but like retail buyers they still start their customer journeys by looking for information. They search for content, and that content has to be engaging, informative and helpful. It has to improve their lives and make them better able to do their jobs.

According to one survey of business customers, the first source of information for 87 percent of B2B buyers is Web searches. Like everyone else, B2B buyers search for information about the products they want to buy on Google.

It’s no surprise that large companies have noticed. Insurance company Prudential divides its website into sections for “personal” audiences, “advisors,” “employers,” and “institutions.” Corporate buyers who click through to content targeted at institutions can see colorful charts similar to those presented on infographics and video interviews about pension risk transfer and the wealth of cities. The language and the style of the content have been adjusted to match the buyer but the format is familiar.

That’s not the only kind of content business buyers consume. The “institutions” section also has links to white papers but the most important pieces of content produced by corporations and aimed at other business leaders are colorful and glossy. Annual reports, and increasingly today corporate social responsibility reports, are professionally produced publications that aim to tell a story about a business to investors and to the public as a whole. The 2015 report published by health firm Novartis, for example, contains plenty of facts and figures but they’re surrounded by colorful charts and executive portraits. This might be a serious piece of information that reveals a company’s activities but it’s still an item of content designed to make a particular impression.

So content aimed at corporations can follow traditional digital formats and use a language and style that match its audiences’. It can take the form of unique formats that are as attractive and professional as any consumer publication. And it can also take the form of content consumed within the business. Novelsat, a satellite transmission company, asked us to create a content strategy that would enable their sales staff to make better sales to their partners around the world.

LinkedIn’s survey found that business buyers need a variety of different kinds of content in order to make their purchase decisions. Basic product information and demonstrations helped them to understand the product. Thought leadership and inside information gave them an idea of where the industry is heading.

“The implication for marketers is that they must have their message present throughout the full funnel, from awareness and thought leadership content in the upper funnel to data sheets and demos in the lower funnel. This is how to assemble a complete marketing program,” LinkedIn concluded.

It might not be as much fun as a Martini lunch and a round of golf but today a targeted content strategy is the best way to engage business buyers.

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