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Trends + Trendsetters: The Best in B2B Technology Content Marketing

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Trends + Trendsetters: The Best in B2B Technology Content Marketing

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The b2b technology process is complicated. The marketplace is crowded and the complexity of the sale only increases as more stakeholders get involved. Technology marketers, however, can leverage content marketing to simplify their message and connect to these decision-makers.


A recent study by MarketingSherpa surveyed 4,000 b2b technology business professionals to understand what types of content these buyers are looking for. The types of content most requested?

CASE STUDIES: 67% of buyers reported case studies at the top of their list for most desired content.

EDUCATIONAL CONTENT: 84% of buyers want content that educates them and expect vendors to provide it.

CONTENT THAT SOLVES A PROBLEM: 72% of buyers want to find “solutions to solve a current problem.”

CONTENT CUSTOMIZED TO DIFFERENT BUYING STAGES: 60% of buyers look for different types of content depending on their needs at the time.


We surveyed the B2B technology landscape and interviewed content marketers from brands leading in these four areas. Here, we’ll discuss their strategies and see how they approach creating these types of content.

The b2b technology process is complicated. The marketplace is crowded and the complexity of the sale only increases as more stakeholders get involved. Technology marketers, however, can leverage content marketing to simplify their message and connect to these decision-makers.


A recent study by MarketingSherpa surveyed 4,000 b2b technology business professionals to understand what types of content these buyers are looking for. The types of content most requested?

CASE STUDIES: 67% of buyers reported case studies at the top of their list for most desired content.

EDUCATIONAL CONTENT: 84% of buyers want content that educates them and expect vendors to provide it.

CONTENT THAT SOLVES A PROBLEM: 72% of buyers want to find “solutions to solve a current problem.”

CONTENT CUSTOMIZED TO DIFFERENT BUYING STAGES: 60% of buyers look for different types of content depending on their needs at the time.


We surveyed the B2B technology landscape and interviewed content marketers from brands leading in these four areas. Here, we’ll discuss their strategies and see how they approach creating these types of content.

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Trends + Trendsetters: The Best in B2B Technology Content Marketing

  1. 1. Trends + Trendsetters THE BEST IN B2B TECHNOLOGY CONTENT MARKETING
  2. 2. NewsCred Trends + Trendsetters NewsCred’s Strategy Team helps brands build and hone their content strategies, taking into consideration marketing goals, brand positioning and the competitive landscape. Our Trends + Trendsetters guides aim to educate marketers on trends, opportunities and content strategies that best-in-class brands are utilizing to engage their audiences. In this guide, we’ll take a look at content marketing in the b2b technology industry. Interested in learning more? We’d love to hear from you! Feel free to reach out at strategy@newscred.com - Liz Bedor, Associate Brand Strategist, NewsCred
  3. 3. The B2B technology buying process is complicated.
  4. 4. The marketplace is crowded.
  5. 5. And the complexity of the sale only increases as more stakeholders get involved.
  6. 6. Technology marketers, however, can leverage content marketing to simplify their message and connect to these decision-makers.
  7. 7. A recent study by MarketingSherpa surveyed 4,000 b2b technology business professionals to understand what types of content these buyers are looking for. Source: Stories that Sell: Study Reveals Business Technology Buyers’ Need for Content
  8. 8. The types of content most requested?
  9. 9. Case Studies
  10. 10. Source: Stories that Sell: Study Reveals Business Technology Buyers’ Need for Content 67% of buyers reported case studies at the top of their list for their most desired content.
  11. 11. Educational content
  12. 12. Source: Stories that Sell: Study Reveals Business Technology Buyers’ Need for Content 84% of buyers want content that educates them and expect vendors to provide it.
  13. 13. Content that solves a problem
  14. 14. Source: Stories that Sell: Study Reveals Business Technology Buyers’ Need for Content 72% of buyers want to find “solutions to solve a current problem”
  15. 15. Content customized to different buying stages
  16. 16. Source: Stories that Sell: Study Reveals Business Technology Buyers’ Need for Content 60% of buyers look for different types of content depending on their needs at the time.
  17. 17. Here we’ll discuss strategies of brands leading in these four areas of content marketing and see how they approach creating these types of content.
  18. 18. Case Studies
  19. 19. Customer Success Stories SALESFORCE
  20. 20. In 1999, Salesforce was founded as a CRM company.
  21. 21. Since then, the brand has grown into a tech giant, expanding its end-to-end SAAS offering over the past fifteen years.
  22. 22. Since the beginning, however, sharing customer success has been at the forefront of its marketing strategy.
  23. 23. Salesforce’s Customer Success Stories page is the core hub for sharing these stories and case studies with prospects and customers. Content lives at www.salesforce.com/customers HOW SALESFORCE, THE LEADING CRM ON DEMAND SOLUTION, HAS HELPED ITS CUSTOMERS MEET AND EXCEED BUSINESS GOALS. “ “
  24. 24. Readers are able to filter through the comprehensive collection by industry, product or business size to find the best match for their use case. Communications Financial Services Government Healthcare + Life Sciences High Tech Manufacturing Media Nonprofit + Higher Ed Retail Services Travel + Transportation Salesforce1 Mobile App Sales Cloud Service Cloud Marketing Cloud Salesforce1 Platform Salesforce Chatter Community Cloud Data.com Desk.com Salesforce Work.com 1-99 Employees 100 – 999 Employees 1000+ Employees INDUSTRY PRODUCT BUSINESS SIZE
  25. 25. The brand’s collection of case studies not only covers vast depth and breadth, but the content itself is compelling and comprehensive.
  26. 26. The Salesforce case study formula: DETAILED USE CASE SYSTEM SCREENSHOTS LISTED PRODUCTS USED CUSTOMER QUOTE CUSTOMER VIDEO
  27. 27. The Salesforce case study formula: DETAILED USE CASE SYSTEM SCREENSHOTS LISTED PRODUCTS USED CUSTOMER QUOTE CUSTOMER VIDEO
  28. 28. The Salesforce case study formula: DETAILED USE CASE SYSTEM SCREENSHOTS LISTED PRODUCTS USED CUSTOMER QUOTE CUSTOMER VIDEO
  29. 29. The Salesforce case study formula: DETAILED USE CASE SYSTEM SCREENSHOTS LISTED PRODUCTS USED CUSTOMER QUOTE CUSTOMER VIDEO
  30. 30. The Salesforce case study formula: DETAILED USE CASE SYSTEM SCREENSHOTS LISTED PRODUCTS USED CUSTOMER QUOTE CUSTOMER VIDEO
  31. 31. While powering this extensive catalog is no easy task, the team has developed a "content engine" system that starts with a central focus.
  32. 32. “We start with an ebook. From there we publish the content by recycling and reusing it on multiple media. - AMANDA NELSON - Content Marketing Manager Salesforce ”
  33. 33. Start by creating an eBook Read the eBook aloud and make it an audio book Interview a customer for a quote in the eBook and put that up as a video Take the audio from the video and make a podcast Create a presentation from the eBook with highlights A sample “content engine.” Source: CMI, How to Keep Your Compelling Content Engine Fueled and Running Smoothly, 2012
  34. 34. Community Manager Distributes content across social channels, engages online communities, and contributes to content projects. Content Marketer / Editor Strategizes, writes, and oversees content projects to ensure brand consistency and alignment with business objectives. Contributors Any content creator- blogger, photographer, designer — who contributes to your project. Designer Brings content to life through the user experience and rich visuals. SEO / Paid Specialist Manages the paid distribution of content online. Analytics Defines best/ worst performers, conversion optimization and measurement communications. Curation Finds and re- purposes the best content from your business and from around the web. The content engine is also powered by a team of dedicated marketers with various roles and responsibilities.
  35. 35. As a result of this strategy, the team has seen about a 300% year-over-year increase in eBook shares and downloads and 150% increase in blog post social shares.
  36. 36. Educational content
  37. 37. Zuora Academy ZUORA
  38. 38. Zuora is a cloud-based software company that provides everything needed to run a subscription-based business.
  39. 39. “ - GABE WEISERT - Content Marketing Manager Zuora ” We’re selling a business model, transitioning from selling a product outright to subscription.
  40. 40. To support this mission, Zuora founded an Academy as a central source for helpful, how-to information about running this type of business.
  41. 41. The Academy includes informative content, ranging from foundational overviews to industry deep-dives, for a variety of roles including marketing, finance, technology and operations. Content lives at www.zuora.com/academy WELCOME TO THE ACADEMY, WHERE OUR MISSION IS TO HELP YOU BUILD AND RUN AN AMAZING SUBSCRIPTION BUSINESS. “ “
  42. 42. “ - GABE WEISERT - Content Marketing Manager Zuora ” The goal is to teach people, and we definitely try to do that in the most entertaining, compelling way possible.
  43. 43. With customer success managers and finance decision makers being Zuora’s main target audiences, the content focuses around pain points felt in those organizations, such as customer retention, fighting churn and billing, rather than Zuora product offerings.
  44. 44. Customer Success content CUSTOMER SUCCESS IN THE ORG CHART: 4 SCENARIOS HOW ZUORA BUILT CUSTOMER SUCCESS 3 REASONS WHY SALES IS NOT CUSTOMER SUCCESS
  45. 45. Finance content 4 WAYS SUBSCRIPTION SUBLEDGERS CAN HELP YOU CLOSE YOUR BOOKS DEFINING A WINNING SUBSCRIPTION PRICING MODEL SCALING SUBSCRIPTION SALES & BILLING OPERATIONS
  46. 46. To create the content, the team interviews a variety of resources, including Zuora customers and finance and marketing professionals.
  47. 47. “ - GABE WEISERT - Content Marketing Manager Zuora ” Everyone loves to talk, nobody likes to write. A lot of times we’ll hold 30 minute interviews, record the transcript and edit that so we still get a sense of their personality.
  48. 48. Lead generation is also a main key performance indicator at the center of the Academy’s strategy.
  49. 49. The team has successfully approached this objective by un-gating all copy, but gating the option to download PDF versions.
  50. 50. With this strategy, anyone can easily access Zuora's helpful content, but only the contact information for prospects with strong interest is captured.
  51. 51. Finally, while creating quality content is the backbone of the Academy’s strategy, the team has noticed common trends in its best- performing pieces.
  52. 52. “ - GABE WEISERT - Content Marketing Manager Zuora ” Titles are super important. Odd numbers, how- to’s, talking about things that didn’t go well, mistakes to avoid, etc. These are all things that consistently perform for us.
  53. 53. Content that solves a problem
  54. 54. Counter Culture SHOPKEEP
  55. 55. Founded in 2008, ShopKeep is a cloud- based, mobile point of sale solution for small and medium-sized businesses.
  56. 56. The company’s mission has always been to help local brick and mortar businesses succeed, and a big part of that meant providing useful content.
  57. 57. “From the start, we wanted to be more of a partner. We wanted to be a company that helps our customers succeed. - PAUL NUGENT - Director of Content ShopKeep ”
  58. 58. In 2013, the company launched Counter Culture, a news and advice center dedicated to helping small businesses succeed. Content lives at www.shopkeep.com/counter-culture
  59. 59. Formulating the content strategy took about two months, and the team went straight to the source to find out what their audience wanted.
  60. 60. “We interviewed merchants, did site visits and hosted phone calls with small business owners. We asked about their pain points and areas of concern. - PAUL NUGENT - Director of Content ShopKeep ”
  61. 61. Content is organized by important topics universally relevant to small businesses, including inspiration, money, operations, planning and technology.
  62. 62. Inspiration 10 WAYS SMALL BUSINESSES BENEFIT THE LOCAL COMMUNITY HOW TO DEFINE YOUR BRAND AND CREATE A KILLER SMALL BUSINESS LOGO TOP TEN THINGS TO GET RIGHT WHEN OPENING A COFFEE SHOP SMALL BUSINESS IS AWESOME. THIS IS WHY.
  63. 63. Money A 6 STEP GUIDE FOR DECIDING HOW MUCH TO PAY YOUR STAFF MOST IMPORTANT TAX WRITE-OFFS FOR INDEPENDENT BUSINESS OWNERS 8 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS CASH FLOW THE LANGUAGE OF BUSINESS IS DOLLARS AND CENTS. CONSIDER THIS YOUR ROSETTA STONE.
  64. 64. Planning THE 7 BEST FREE RESOURCES FOR PLANNING YOUR NEW BUSINESS WHAT SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FINDING A COMMERCIAL SPACE 4 THINGS YOUR PROBABLY HAVEN’T CONSIDERED ABOUT CHOOSING A RETAIL LOCATION BECAUSE THE BOY SCOUTS WERE RIGHT: FAIL TO PREPARE AND YOU BETTER PREPARE TO FAIL.
  65. 65. Technology 10 REASONS THE IPAD IS THE PERFECT TOOL FOR SMALL BUSINESS YOUR COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS 4 TECHNOLOGIES THAT WILL IMPROVE YOUR RESTAURANT OPERATIONS IT’S TIME TO EMBRACE THE TECH YOU NEED TO SUCCEED.
  66. 66. ShopKeep also leverages the expertise of other small business owners as guest bloggers, using Counter Culture as a platform for knowledge exchange.
  67. 67. “Small business owners don’t always want to hear what we have to say. They want to hear what other small business owners have to say. - PAUL NUGENT - Director of Content ShopKeep ”
  68. 68. “Why You Need to Track Industry Trends in Retail” Tips on how boutique owner, Mackenzi Farquer, keeps up to date on fashion trends. I SPEND A SIGNIFICANT TIME READING CERTAIN PUBLICATIONS, ATTENDING INDUSTRY EVENTS, TRADE SHOWS, YOU NAME IT – ALL TO STAY ON TOP OF WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE SPACE. “ “
  69. 69. “Ponshop Studio’s Gabriel Pons on Transitioning from Corporate to Small Business” Advice on how to prepare for a career change for running a small business. YOU HAVE TO GO WITH YOUR HEART, BUT YOU ALSO NEED TO PREPARE YOURSELF AS BEST AS YOU CAN. YOU’LL BE DOING A LOT OF LEARNING AS YOU GO, BUT IT HELPS TO DO PRIOR RESEARCH AND SPEAK WITH OTHERS WHO ARE CURRENTLY GOING THROUGH IT. “ “
  70. 70. In order to drive consistent engagement, Counter Culture delivers a weekly digest to its subscribed readers.
  71. 71. Staying true to keeping its readers as the focus, however, the digest doesn’t only include Counter Culture content.
  72. 72. Rather, the team includes anything they see around the web that week that they feel is valuable for their audience, regardless of the source.
  73. 73. Overtime, the strategy has evolved to include prioritizing SEO and including middle and bottom of the funnel content.
  74. 74. “ - PAUL NUGENT - Director of Content ShopKeep ” We’re starting to write more helpful content on Point of Sale topics, such as how to run employee shift reports to help us rank when a potential prospect is organically searching for that information.
  75. 75. Content customized to different buying stages
  76. 76. Business Innovation SAP
  77. 77. In 2012, SAP began a marketing initiative that put content at the forefront with the SAP Business Innovation blog.
  78. 78. The site’s business goals were to create an affinity for SAP products, establish the brand as a thought leader by answering early-stage buyer questions, and drive calls-to-action.
  79. 79. To formulate the strategy, the team began with a content audit to see the difference in organic search traffic, between unbranded terms, like "big data" versus SAP branded terms that included product names like "HANA."
  80. 80. CLUSTER BRAND OR NON-BRAND TOTAL MONTHLY SEARCHES (EST.) Analytics Brand 458 3000xAnalytics Non-Brand 1,520,761 Cloud Brand 398 1000xCloud Non-Brand 578,460 Data Brand 28,884 17xData Non-Brand 470,967 Mobility Brand 12,488 28xMobility Non-Brand 345,598 BI Brand 532,486 -2xBI Non-Brand 277,156 CRM/Sales Brand 156,028 40xCRM/Sales Non-Brand 6,313,329 ERP Brand 777,092 -2xERP Non-Brand 324,595 HCM Brand 55,536 7xHCM Non-Brand 379,954 Accounting. Finance Brand 30,497 24xAccounting. Finance Non-Brand 720,493 TOTAL Brand 1,688,883 13xTOTAL Non-Brand 13,616,715 The team found there were many more search queries across nearly every one of the categories for unbranded search terms.
  81. 81. They then looked at how much traffic SAP received from these non-branded searches, and found that 99.9% of SAP's traffic came from branded search terms.
  82. 82. This meant almost all their traffic was from late-stage prospects already considering to purchase SAP and virtually none of their traffic was from early-stage prospects looking for potential solutions.
  83. 83. This was especially a problem because SAP was vastly expanding its portfolio to include new solutions and were looking to grow awareness and penetrate those markets.
  84. 84. The final step was to look at the existing catalog of content by buyer stage.
  85. 85. They found that 94% of their content was middle-stage or late-stage content, which mirrored the type of traffic they were receiving. EARLY-STAGE CONTENT 6% MIDDLE-STAGE CONTENT 28% LATE-STAGE CONTENT 66%
  86. 86. Based on this data, the team knew they needed to focus on reaching early-stage buyers, especially in these newer solution categories.
  87. 87. Today, Business Innovation helps help executives develop a deeper understanding of the trends affecting the future of business through fact-based executive research, supplemented by the latest thinking from expert bloggers. Site lives at www.blog.sap.com/innovation
  88. 88. The sites over 11,000 blog posts are easy to navigate with categories including future of business, technologies, line of business, industries and SMB.
  89. 89. Content is also customized for every buyer, no matter where they are in their journey.
  90. 90. Content across the buyer journey Early-Stage Content Quality, licensed content around broader, shareable topics that drives visibility and engagement: blog posts Awareness
  91. 91. Content across the buyer journey Early-Stage Content Quality, licensed content around broader, shareable topics that drives visibility and engagement: blog posts Middle-Stage Content A combination of licensed and custom content that hits on niche topics specific to SAP’s offering and solutions: white papers, case studies, video and infographics Awareness Evaluation
  92. 92. Content across the buyer journey Early-Stage Content Quality, licensed content around broader, shareable topics that drives visibility and engagement: blog posts Middle-Stage Content A combination of licensed and custom content that hits on niche topics specific to SAP’s offering and solutions: white papers, case studies, video and infographics Late-Stage Content Custom content promoting SAP’s products and services: technology guides and case studies Awareness Evaluation Purchase
  93. 93. Content across the buyer journey Early-Stage Content Quality, licensed content around broader, shareable topics that drives visibility and engagement: blog posts Middle-Stage Content A combination of licensed and custom content that hits on niche topics specific to SAP’s offering and solutions: white papers, case studies, video and infographics Late-Stage Content Custom content promoting SAP’s products and services: technology guides and case studies Customer Stage Content Consistent cadence and mix of content as well as personalized recommendations: white papers, case studies, technology guides Awareness Retain Evaluation Purchase
  94. 94. EARLY-STAGE Content Authenticity Isn’t a Strategy – It’s About Real Customer Conversations [Blog Post] 7 Ways Managers can Keep Their Employees Happier in 2015 [Blog Post] Is Your Brand Telling Meaningful Stories? [Blog Post]
  95. 95. Why Simplification Initiatives Succeed Only When Executives Lead [White Paper] 5 Steps to Increase Your Visual Content Engagement [Infographic] Life in the Networked Economy [Video] MIDDLE-STAGE Content Savannah Cement Innovates with High- Speed Analytics [Case Studies]
  96. 96. LATE-STAGE Content SAP HANA Revs Up Reporting [TECHNOLOGY GUIDE] How Cloud Enables a Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy On the Web [TECHNOLOGY GUIDE] Nespresso: Selling the Perfect Coffee Experience with SAP Cloud for Sales [CASE STUDY]
  97. 97. CUSTOMER-STAGE Content Will Internet of Things Impact the Workplace? [BLOG POST] How to Translate Customer Loyalty Into Repeat Sales [VIDEO] How to Deliver a Coordinated Customer Experience Across Every Channel [E-BOOK]
  98. 98. 3 MILLION 5.08 MINUTES 1.8 THOUSAND The new strategy proved to be a success with leaps in traffic, engagement and publicity. Within a year the site received: PAGE VIEWS TIME ON SITE REACH ENGAGEMENT CONVERSION CONVERSIONS RECOGNITION PUBLICITY
  99. 99. Want to learn more? Our team of strategists can help your brand build a marketing growth engine. From ongoing support and program management, to customized strategy sessions and workshops, we’ll set your brand up for success.
  100. 100. NewsCred is the most comprehensive content marketing solution. SOFTWARE SERVICESCONTENT Content Production Workflows & Governance Global Asset Management Publishing & Distribution Analytics Global Implementation 24/7 Support & Training Strategy Workshops Editorial Consulting 5,000 Licensed Publishers Original Content Network Rights-cleared UGC
  101. 101. Get in touch! STRATEGY@NEWSCRED.COM

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