The concept of “right audience, right content, right place, right time” has been around the B2B world for ages. For many organizations, however, these four R’s are still more philosophy than reality. According to the 2021 Business Technographics Marketing Survey, 75% of all B2B marketing respondents agreed that “buyers expect an immediate response to their questions.” But buyers don’t think they’re getting that now. Sixty-one percent say vendors give them too much content and the material is more style than substance. Ouch. Fifty-six percent say the content is extraneous to what they can find elsewhere (i.e., organizations aren’t creating “destination content”). And 54 out of 60 websites in our last “engaging content” test failed. (Learn more about this test in our upcoming Summit presentation — read on for more info!).
The Four P’s of High-Performing Content
To get better at delivering on the Four R’s — right audience, right content, right place, and right time — organizations need to master the Four P’s of B2B content: planning, production, promotion, and performance.
- Planning: Content strategy is the lifeblood of high-performing content marketing and campaigns. Yet many organizations still struggle with audience-centric content planning. In fact, according to our research, only 17% of B2B marketing organizations believe they are advanced at content strategy today. Although there are other variables, there are three minimum viable requirements to executing effective content planning: an audience framework that is clearly mapped to a well-defined go-to-market strategy, persona insights, and a buyer’s journey or customer lifecycle map that outlines the audience’s informational needs across journey phases. These inform the development of messaging and content assets that are empathetic, contextual, and useful (see “Say Goodbye to the Pander-demic“).
- Production: Many B2B marketers still have not mastered building longer-form primary assets that they can then use to create multiple derivative assets to support multichannel reach and audience format preferences (or vice versa). Using content briefs to plan connected collections of primary and derivative assets makes it easier for content creators to produce high-quality, relevant, and engaging content at scale with fewer review cycles and faster turnaround.
- Promotion: Disjointed, siloed, and uncoordinated content promotion is common across B2B organizations. Audience-centric content tagged to a global master calendar inside a purpose-built tool is fundamental to addressing “right content at the right place” orchestration issues. Use it to coordinate planning, production, and external promotion via organic and paid tactics like website, social, search, syndication, events, email, and advertising. Don’t forget about internal promotion as well. Business development reps, sales, field marketing, executives, and the extended employee base are all important internal stakeholders who also activate content with external audiences.
- Performance: To make intelligent decisions about content planning, production, and promotion, B2B organizations must measure, analyze, and optimize content performance over time. To track performance, B2B organizations must align on what metrics will be tracked to gather intelligence, measure engagement, and calculate ROI. They must also improve tagging and taxonomy to allow for use-case-based analysis of content performance (e.g., what asset types or content topics perform best for a given audience, offering, or geography). Tagging and taxonomy also enables more sophisticated personalization capabilities.
If you want to learn more about best practices for realizing the Four R’s and the Four P’s, join us at the B2B Summit North America event next week. Jennifer Rouse and I will be presenting “Step-by-Step: How to Turn A Single Content Asset Into Dozens,” in which we will talk about these concepts in more detail. I’ll also be presenting with Phyllis Davidson on “Unifying Content Strategy Across Campaigns, Content Marketing, And The Web” to talk about how to break down silos and coordinate content strategy more holistically.
Don’t miss our networking sessions including “Creating Empathetic Content That Works,” to talk with experts and peers about content strategy best practices. Finally, I hope you’ll attend my “Foundations: Content Strategy and Operations,” session to learn the latest about content transformation trends.
For a complete list of content-related sessions, check out the content leader view of the full conference agenda — we hope to see you there!