A youtube channel, a social media profile, and a website.
What do you think is the most common in all of these businesses?
Do you know that an average business spends over 25% of its marketing budget on content marketing? Why do you think it’s so?
It’s because, when done correctly, content marketing delivers a high return on investment (ROI). Unlike paid advertising, content marketing is a long-term investment and therefore cost-effective, scalable, targeted, measurable and evergreen.
When done correctly, it can generate quality leads, and build your brand presence, trust and credibility.
Yet, only 29% of organizations are truly successful with content marketing. That means, more than 70% of businesses find it challenging to put themselves as an expert in their industry.
And, while we can’t accurately predict the challenges that B2B businesses will face in 2024, based on our research and our own experience, here’s a list of four expected challenges that are likely to persist in the B2B content marketing universe.
Let’s tackle them together!
- Differentiating From Competitors
At the time of writing this blog, a simple Google search for “B2B content marketing” gave us around 340 million results. And that’s your competition in the market. If that doesn’t translate well then here’s another striking fact.
As per Jessica Schwarze, a B2B tech marketer, there’s a “95:5 rule/law” by the B2B Institute which states that out of 100 people passively exploring your solutions, only 5 of them are actually seeking your solution. What does this mean for you?
It means, that in order to capture the attention and nurture the interest of these 5 people, you need to publish and market more than just generic content.
Standing out in such a competition needs a strategic content marketing strategy. And, that strategy should not only resonate with your audience but also be unique to your brand, its values and the message you want to spread.
So, a great way to differentiate from your competitors is to differentiate your content from them. But how would you do that if everyone is saying the same things?
So, to face the challenge of differentiating from your competitors, you must brainstorm on one major question, how exactly are you different from your competitors?
Start small, like what’s your niche? And slowly go deeper, like, what brand voice or personality do you want to project?
This brainstorming will help you craft your personalized content marketing strategy and will give you a foundation to create content that’s unique, valuable and relevant all at the same time. And, to guide you through that process, here is a list of a few actionable steps you can implement to differentiate yourself from your competitors and make your content marketing even more effective.
- Understand your competitor’s content strategies and identify gaps in their approach.
- With AI in the picture, prioritise and invest in quality over quantity.
- Understand the platforms where your audiences are and leverage a multi-channel approach.
- Aligning Content Efforts Across Sales & Marketing Teams
Your content marketing success hinges on the seamless alignment of your team, strategies and resources. If, even one of them isn’t on the same page, your overall result is affected.
Let’s take an example. Dave runs an IT business and has always prided himself on his company’s innovative approach and customer-centric focus. As his company grew, Dev noticed that his sales team was focused on immediate lead generation and closing deals while his marketing team was more concerned with long-term brand awareness and nurturing relationships.
This misalignment was evident in the company’s marketing materials. The materials were inconsistent in their messaging. They either failed to resonate with the target audience or to support the sales team’s efforts.
To mitigate this, Dev conducted a series of cross-functional workshops and collaborating campaigns to bring the teams, strategies, goals and resources on the same page.
When your teams lack alignment, there’s a high risk of missed opportunities, wasted resources, and loss of revenue. Most importantly, it confuses your incoming leads. And, that directly hinders your content marketing achievements.
Here’s a list of 4 actionable ways to align your content marketing efforts within your organisation.
- Feedback loops
- Cross-functional workshops
- Shared communication channels
- Joint content planning and marketing meetings
Check out our guide to aligning sales and marketing teams to understand the solutions in more detail.
- Lack of Guidelines for Using AI
A 2023 survey by the Content Marketing Institute found that 42% of content marketers are using AI in their content marketing efforts. However, only 27% of those marketers have any formal guidelines for using AI.
There’s a huge and valid buzz around AI content creation. And yet, as per the above statistics, a significant number of B2B businesses and marketers are a little sceptical of using AI tools.
The challenge therefore being, Lack of Guidelines for Using AI
This challenge in content marketing refers to the gap in AI’s authenticity, brand voice, and ethical considerations. Here’s a list of 4 actionable you can take to mitigate this current marketing challenge
- Research the AI tools you want to implement
- Create a guideline that is followed throughout your organization
- Train your employees on the potential benefits and risks of AI tools you use.
- Keep on experimenting with the new tools to automate your process even better. But within the guidelines you set.
- Tackling New Buying Behaviour
In this age, your buyers are more self-serving and digitally savvy than ever. They explore diverse sources, consult experts and leverage multiple platforms before making a decision. And, adapting to their needs is your key.
This shift is a huge challenge. But it’s also an opportunity for you to build long-term relationships with your audiences.
Let’s delve into 3 actionable steps you can take to approach the multifaceted landscape of your potential buyers.
- Deeper Understanding – Start off by digging deeper into your potential buyers’ behaviours, pain points and decision-making processes. Leverage social media analytics, focus groups and surveys to aid that process.
- Personalised Content – Being relevant and valuable all the while being engaging, should be your motto. Create a set of buyer personas and segment your potential buyers within those personas. Now, you can tailor your content that speaks directly to the identified buyer persona.
- Channel Diversification – Before you actually market your content, you need to know where your audiences are, and what are the guidelines of those channels. Why? Because each channel demands a different approach. And here, your ability to adapt is the key.
As you navigate through this complex realm of B2B content marketing, it’s a fact that challenges will be there, and you’ll have to overcome them. By differentiating your content from your competitors, aligning your content efforts across teams, evolving your strategy as your potential buyers’ evolve, and defining AI guidelines, you build your stage to establish thought leadership and industry credibility.