eMarketer: Luring B2B Sales Leads With Content Marketing

Educational and informational content effective tools for B2B lead generation

JUNE 21, 2011 – For all companies, success hinges greatly on the ability to continuously identify new clients and keep customers happy�a task often delegated to marketers.

But depending on company type, marketers may be more responsible for one than the other. Findings from Focus Research indicate business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers are more likely to direct their attention to improving client understanding and retention this year than their business-to-business (B2B) counterparts, who are placing a higher emphasis on filling the sales pipeline.

Among B2B marketers, lead acquisition was the top priority for 55% of respondents, followed by lead conversion (45%). Both B2B and B2C marketers were equally focused on building brand awareness.

The complexity of the B2B buying process, compared to that for B2C, often demands more of marketers. Because of the longer B2B sales cycle, marketers must diligently fill the sales pipeline and continuously support sales by keeping prospects engaged with the brand during the sales cycle through the use of multiple touchpoints, like email or campaign nurture programs.

Marketers have an endless array of digital channels and choices for uncovering prospects, and MarketingProfs and Junta42 found 63% of B2B marketers in North America turn to content marketing as a key lead generation source.

More specifically, North American B2B marketers used articles (78%) and e-newsletters (61%) for their content marketing efforts. More educational and instructional forms of content, like case studies (55%), white papers (43%) and webinars (42%), were also used. These types of educational and instructional content were rated the most valuable for directly supporting B2B marketers� objectives, according to Focus Research.

Interactive Technology, Software and Media Association (ITSMA) and RainToday.com also highlighted the effectiveness of white papers and educational references as B2B lead-gen tools. Popular content types included case studies, best practices, insight into emerging markets and business trends, and how-to advice.

Clearly, industry-specific content that provides actionable insight and sound business knowledge is valued among audiences and worth the trade-off for their contact information, but this type of content often requires greater production time and resources from marketers.

However, webinars and white papers tend to have a greater shelf life than articles or blog posts. And as a more in-depth form of content, they are often effective in attracting prospects in the more research-oriented beginning stages of the buying process.

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