B2B doesn’t have to be boring. The best business service and product brands are using innovative and exciting content marketing techniques to stunning effect – for their brand, and their bottom line.
In their quest to recruit the world’s leading businesses as their customers, many B2B marketers are using their sector expertise and data to build powerful storytelling platforms that educate and engage.
Of course, the ultimate goal for any B2B marketing campaign is to convert the sale. So we’re super inspired by brands who not only publish great content, but also turn their newly-built audiences into prospects and, eventually, customers.
Here’s the lowdown on seven of our favourites – primarily in the tech, transport and logistics sectors, from big global players like IBM and Google to more niche business including Penske trucking and the UK’s Royal Town Planning Institute.
Content Remit: Thoughtful dialogue around the idea of leveraging smarter technologies to improve the world we live in.
Elements: In-depth reports, case studies, commentary and analytical blogs.
Audience: Leaders and decision-makers at large companies, governments and agencies.
Aim: Engage partners in initiatives. Promote IBM hardware, software and service solutions.
Impact: Wide-reaching discussion on smart tech, connecting a global audience with IBM’s Smarter Planet initiatives.
Key Takeaway: Open, accessible discussion of positive ideas attracts forward-thinking clients.
Content Remit: Human stories that Penske’s trucking hire and logistics services enable, like helping Lancaster Fresh Farm Cooperative deliver goods at exactly the right temperature.
Elements: 2-3 minute documentary videos, filmed in a cinematic style.
Audience: Logistics planners.
Aim: Use entertaining content to establish Penske’s identity as a brand who cares about their customers, and the challenges they face day-to-day.
Impact: The series of videos earned thousands of online views, and now forms an integral element of Penske’s sales pitch.
Key Takeaway: Stories, when identified and told well, can be an overwhelmingly powerful addition to any sales strategy.
Content Remit: In-depth business advice – on subjects ranging from technology to strategic planning – updated regularly to explain and interpret new developments.
Elements: Expansive how-to guides, blog posts, video stories, email updates.
Audience: Business-owners, managers and start-up entrepreneurs.
Aim: Offer incredibly practical, useful advice for business owners and mangers, attracting an audience who trust Sage’s advice.
Impact: Having established an audience who trust them, Sage’s core services – accountancy software and services – become a natural choice.
Key Takeaway: Brand publishers needn’t limit content to the specific service provide. Providing content that’s useful to audiences, however wide that category may be, can build invaluable trust.
Content Remit: Data, insights and inspiration, including of-the-moment trends, sub-categorised into industry and platform.
Elements: Blog articles, infographics, case studies, video interviews.
Audience: Digital marketers from all industries.
Aim: Offer best-in-class, genuinely useful data and tools that will attract and retain the attention of digital marketers.
Impact: Drive sales for Google’s analytics and advertising services.
Key Takeaway: Clear categorisation into sectors helps the target audience find information that’s highly relevant to them, and builds their trust in the brand as an authority in their field.
Content Remit: News, analysis and discussion of planning policy, practice and process across the UK.
Elements: Blog, email newsletter, print newsletter.
Audience: The RTPI’s 23,000 members, and new prospects including students.
Aim: Driving new membership sign-ups, as well as bookings for courses and events.
Impact: From newsletter to discussion forum, The Planner places RTPI at the centre of discussions on a range of hot topics within the industry.
Key Takeaway: Owning the conversation can be as important for engaging existing customers as for attracting new ones.
Content Remit: Entertaining guides for office employees, helping everyone to “work better” by addressing pain points and areas of need, from the practical (putting customer data to best use) to the personal (finding your flow).
Elements: Interviews, slideshares, infographics, e-books, case studies.
Audience: Decision-makers in sectors ranging from government to transportation.
Aim: Inspire potential clients to discover more of Xerox’s services, by providing them with content that’s targeted and of lasting relevance.
Impact: Visitors to Xerox.com are offered valuable information that meets their needs, leading to discoveries of services that may be relevant to them.
Key Takeaway: Content offers pathways that can explain the relevance of services to clients. This drives high quality leads towards relevant products.
Content Remit: High level strategic, political and financial reports on current trends and future talking points across a range of sectors, globally.
Elements: Downloadable reports, case studies, slideshares, and infographics.
Audience: Directors of the world’s top public and private organisations.
Aim: Provide access to the heart of Deloitte’s work; their interests, processes and findings.
Impact: Visitors to Deloitte’s website are shown the best insights the business has developed, and are encouraged to download content to take with them and use, long before they are even introduced to the services on offer.
Key Takeaway: Investing in re-purposing internal content for external audiences can help show off the best of the business, allowing potential customers to reach their own conclusions on how similar projects might be useful for them.