Well, it’s almost Father’s Day again, which means most of us will spend our Saturday wandering around Home Depot, looking for something—anything— we haven’t seen in Dad’s garage yet. Why the procrastination? Why the lack of imagination? Because shopping for Dad is tough.
…Almost as tough as B2B content marketing, and for some strikingly similar reasons. For example:
1. Dads don't care about fluff.
Don’t give Dad a macaroni necklace or some trinket wrapped in tissue paper. Don’t spend $2.99 on a greeting card that plays music when you open it. Giving Dad fluff is worse than giving nothing at all.
B2B audiences are a lot like Dad in that they want something solid and functional (a substantive white paper or a webinar) on the receiving end of an exchange. They like getting their hands on material with clear direction and obvious utility because…
2. Dads are busy.
By the time you’re wiping the Fruit Loops off your chin, Dad has been at work for six hours. He has three teams to coach, two faucets that need fixing, maybe a second job after dinner... And have you seen the front lawn lately? Dad’s attacking it now, before the neighbors’ dandelion crop begins to take root on his side of the fence.
Unlike some B2C consumers, who spend their free time gobbling up videos and articles about favorite products, B2B buyers visit websites solely to get sh*t done. You’ll have to pardon them if they don’t pause to leave a thoughtful comment at the end of your “XYZ Solutions” blog; they needed those tips to solve an actual problem.
3. Dads are accountable.
Why can’t I jump off the shed into the pool? Why must I wear a dorky pom-pom hat while waiting at the bus stop? Why do I need to go to bed early— a month before Daylight Savings Time?
It’s not just because he says so (contrary to the popular refrain). It’s because when you inevitably break your leg, or catch pneumonia, or sleep through fourth grade, Dad is responsible.
B2B buyers have similar pressure on their shoulders. Many of them are company owners, presidents, or CFOs. If they make bad decisions, lots of other people are affected.
4. Dads are complex.
Dads don’t always talk a lot—certainly not about their many accomplishments and talents. But that’s because the stuff they’re good at (skipping rocks, removing splinters, warding off boogey men) is extremely niche. You sure as heck can’t illustrate Dad’s expertise on a Pinterest board.
B2B buyers have complex interests, too. From a laymen’s perspective, their work is impossibly specific. So B2B content marketing partners have to deliver boatloads of experience— interviewing and collaborating with technical subject matter experts. Anyone can bring readers to a website about flat-screens or French fries. Only a true B2B marketing expert can drive qualified leads to a webpage about two-factor authentication solutions for enterprise IT.
5. Dads are creatures of habit.
When Dad realizes it’s time for a dentist appointment, you can be sure he’s not Googling the closest, most convenient provider. Dad would rather go to the same 90-year-old dentist he went to as a kid (even if the dentist stops to nap, mid-rinse).
B2B buyers may be similarly leery of a splashy website attached to a name they’ve never heard before. They need proof points that reflect status and approval among industry peers—especially if they already have a go-to vendor in place.
Accordingly, B2B marketing strategy revolves around social proof and brand equity—placing guest articles in prominent trade journals, gathering testimonials and positive reviews, showcasing relevant trust symbols, issuing press releases, and compiling standout case studies to illustrate recent success stories. (Imagine Dad getting to examine new porcelain veneers on all his poker buddies.)
Okay, okay… Before you decide this is a painfully stereotypical and reductive analogy, let’s be clear: we know moms, dads, and marketers of all stripes are up against tough challenges. And we’re not trying to say men define the business-to-business landscape, either. We work with equal numbers of men and women from industrial manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and entrepreneurial companies targeting B2B buyer segments.
Our main point is that not every content marketing agency understands B2B quite like us.
One final comparison: We love our dads. And we love B2B content marketing. We spend the whole year cooking up smart, effective ways to attract and convert our clients’ distinct audiences. Unfortunately, with our attention focused on all that’s new in B2B marketing, Dad might be stuck with a fluff gift after all… Any ideas?