Why isn’t content marketing the cornerstone of every B2B company in Canada?

Good versus good enough.

B2B Content Marketing should be the cornerstone of every B2B business in canada I have had the distinct pleasure this summer of being an executive-in-residence at the Innovation Factory in Hamilton, Ontario working with early stage companies on their digital marketing strategies. I have been impressed by the innovation these companies display and the passion they have for bringing new products and services to the market.
We Canadians are amazing at developing products and services. Sadly, we are still quite behind in understanding how to market and sell them.
So I pose this question to Canadian entrepreneurs: why isn’t good content on your agenda as the most fundamental business tactic for your company?
A recent stat struck me hard during Content Marketing World in Cleveland on September 9, 2015:

B2B buyers spend only 32% of their buyer journey interacting with sales people (Gartner research)

As sales organizations, we are having less and less impact on the buyer. Our influence to help buyers choose us is directly related to the content marketing strategy we deliver to help buyers in that journey.

  • 76% of B2B marketers will produce more content this year, according to a 2015 study conducted by Marketing Profs in the United States.
  • But only 30% of B2B organizations know if their content is effective.

Here’s my observation about this problem: It’s not about more content, it’s about good content (for the buyer) and we aren’t working hard enough in Canada to develop good content. If you don’t believe me, take this little test:

  1. Think about 10 things you buy on an annual basis for your business this can range from paper for the printer, to software, to new office space and beyond.
  2. Go and look at 10 websites associated with the things you buy.
  3. Point to one website that has done a good job of assisting you in your buyer journey.

Who did you choose for this website and why? Chances are, you’re going to have a hard time coming up with one good example let alone 10.

Creating good content is hard.

But if you have woken up to the realization that buyer behaviour has forever changed and that your customers are self-serving and self-selecting, then good content should be the cornerstone of your sales and marketing program.
I believe the reason B2B companies struggle to develop good content versus good enough, is that people are not striving to make the story bigger than their business. They fall back on the strategy of talking about what they do, not why it matters to their customers.
So here are my suggestions for way better content that will help your company improve your sales results (as presented by Ann Handley at Marketing Profs at Content Marketing World 2015):

  1. Tell a story that’s bigger than your business: Start with why your business exists NOT what your business does.
  2. Tell bolder stories: Disrupt industry fairy tales. Talk about tough problems and how you overcame them. Dig deeper than product information.
  3. Tell a different story: Having a different point of view and a different tone of voice is the gutsiest and bravest tool a B2B content marketer can use.

And if you have made it this far into the post, I am going to be gutsy and say,

I think we can do better as Canadian B2B marketers. I think we can move past good enough.

So here is how Marketing CoPilot intends to take the first step in making B2B content marketing a gold standard for Canadian B2B companies.

We have partnered with Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario and the National Research Council to conduct an online survey about what makes a good website. The purpose of the research study is to determine what small and medium sized companies owners perceive to be the website features and content that assist in the buying journey and conversely what buyers actually need on a website to make a buying decision. In other words, what makes a good website for buyers?

Ready to help us convince Canadian B2B companies that developing effective content is the way to start regaining control over the sales process?Click here.
All survey participants will have access to the final research report, which is scheduled to be released in November 2015.
We believe this research study will further demonstrate that good enough for you is not necessarily good enough for the buyer, and will help you begin tackling the problem of good (for the buyer) vs. good enough (for you). I think we can all do better. Don’t you? Take the survey.

Marketing CoPilot