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B2B Marketing Strategy - Then and NowWe’ve come a long way, baby… when it comes to B2B marketing strategy. And we've got another Throwback Thursday #tbt post to highlight some of those lasting lessons from the past!

In 2014, we have amazing technology and communication channels Wroe Alderson (go ahead, look him up) never could have dreamed possible. But sometimes the best advice in business and advertising has already long ago been tested and proven. Here are some simple tips to think about when you’re knee-deep in meta tags and CPC bidding.

Be Honest

It was 1962. Avis car rental was losing millions. Their competitors had an edge. What could they say? “We try harder” was management’s simple, honest answer. The tagline succeeded in representing the company for the next 50 years.

Today, “we try harder” would elicit any number of objections from a B2B marketing strategy perspective. (There’s no keyword in there! No industry-identifying terminology at all… What business problem do you solve?)

Ultimately though, we try harder is still a great message—not fraught with jargon or awkwardly solution-oriented.  It’s not even self-promotional, really. And that’s probably because it didn’t come from a copywriter. (No offense, copywriters.) Even as a content marketing agency, we sometimes get our best material for messaging and website copy from frank, candid business leaders.

Try Something New

It was 2004. Corporate “weblogs” were still something of a rarity. Microsoft’s Lenn Pryor started Channel 9 that same year—and pretty much rewrote the playbook on transparency and audience engagement. While Microsoft execs were climbing the walls over Pryor’s unedited product videos and engineer interviews, the rest of the world was slowly taking notice. By the end of 2005, Pew projected 34 million weblogs would grace the World Wide Web.

Today, blogging ranks fourth on the list of B2B marketing strategies, according to research from the Content Marketing Institute. Only eNewsletters, website articles, and social media are more common tactics than a company blog. But lots of businesses are going way beyond two or three content efforts. B2B marketers use 13 tactics on average—up from an average of 12 tactics in 2013.

b2b-content-marketing-usage

So while it might seem onerous, unconventional, or just plain scary to put your B2B marketing strategy out there on a limb, there’s always room to balance a new idea—whether it’s LinkedIn advertising, promoted social posts, or a co-branded white paper—with your favorite mainstays.

Put It in Writing

It was 2011. Major companies were dedicating budget and C-level roles to the arena of content marketing. Coca Cola went a step further—spelling out their plan and sharing it with the world. Granted, Coke is a consumer brand giant. But that just means they had more to lose if they failed to execute…

Every B2B company should put its content plan in writing. Because here’s another great insight to come from CMI’s B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report:

B2B marketers with a documented strategy are more effective and less challenged with every aspect of content marketing. On the flip side, 84 percent of marketers who say they are ineffective at content marketing reported having no documented strategy.

You don’t have to go crazy with a Coke-style documentary on your marketing hopes and dreams. With an afternoon’s worth of work, you can pin down your target audience, buyer personas, and the framework for an editorial calendar. And if you don’t have an afternoon to spare, you can partner with someone who does.

These aren’t earth-shattering ideas in B2B marketing, but they might ultimately be the reasons—5, 10, 20 years from now—you can look back and say your strategy was profitable.

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About the Author

Liz O'Neill
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Liz O'Neill

Content marketing specialist (and current Director of Marketing at C&S Insurance), Liz O'Neill enjoys writing informative, engaging copy about pretty much anything—helping companies and their customers cut through all the digital noise; find each other faster; form deep, abiding relationships; and ride off into the sunset (while Instagramming the entire journey).

 Tags: B2B Marketing

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