Content marketing in B2B: To reel in the big fish, don’t cast the net too wide

This week we’re starting a rundown of the top 6 (and 2 worst) B2B marketing strategies for generating sales leads. When we’ve covered all eight strategies we’ll reveal which have proven to be the best in order of effectiveness and which ones, well, haven’t. 

We’ve helped our clients including Nasdaq and IBM build partnerships with companies like Apple, Disney, Gap, eBay, Deloitte, Ford, Google and countless other big names. We’ve gotten an unparalleled grasp on how lead generation is done as a result. 

Today, we’re going to be looking at the pros and cons of content marketing, but over the course of the next couple of weeks, we’re also going to be looking at:

  • Events and conferences
  • Referrals
  • Webinars
  • Talking on stage
  • Email
  • Telemarketing

Content, content, content. It seems to be the mantra on every marketers lips these days. As CEOs and c-suite execs, we’re told over and over that to generate leads we have to get prospects engaged with content. A Hub Spot report said that 93% of B2B companies are using content marketing, yet few execs I speak to seem to understand exactly why. All too often find it’s ineffective.

In the B2C space, content marketing works great in most situations, but the perception that the same is true for B2B is a big problem. It has to be a lot more precise in it’s targeting. Cast your net too wide and it can turn into a money pit.

Let’s run with the fishing analogy. Fishermen rarely look to catch different types of fish at the same time. Before they cast their line they decide if they’re going for carp, marlin, bass or whatever. Based on that they decide what bait to use, what tackle to use and where to cast their line.

A fisherman wouldn’t expect to catch a marlin in a freshwater lake, for that they’d look in the sea. That’s what’s so crazy about the B2B marketing space. Marketers expect to catch c-suite executives checking out on Facebook or their websites. They’re casting into the wrong body water altogether.  When’s the last time you made a business decision from reading a blog, or attending a webinar? Probably never.

If it’s done right though, content marketing can be really efficient. The right content in front of the right market can always add value. 

If you want to reel in c-suite execs, and for making the big deals you really should, email is where you should be casting your line. Check out our blog post on how much time execs spend on email compared to other platforms.

Once you’re fishing in the right body of water, you need to bait your line with a thorough executive summary of your offering that really engages. It needs to give enough information for an exec to know that jumping on a sales call is worth it and you need to make sure you’re using the right equipment, that means the right tech and data.

Cold email marketing has an ROI of 122% – more than four times higher than other marketing formats, including social media, direct mail and PPC according to a report by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Please check out our blog on the benefits of email marketing over general content marketing.