A guide to selling content marketing to the top levels of your organisation
If your organisation is not already using content marketing to reach your audiences, it is time to show them the light. It is not always easy to convince management that it is a worthy and necessary investment and unlike traditional advertising campaigns, content marketing does not yield trackable results over night. Businesses need to be willing to give the strategy time to develop before the results of your efforts are clear. This form of marketing is more of a marathon than a sprint, and it should yield better long-term results.
In order for content marketing to have a real chance, you need more than a budget from management, you need their full buy-in. You need the cooperation of the whole company across different departments and be able to run with your plan over a long period of time. It is key to have the freedom to make changes and feel things out, without the fear of losing your budget.
So, how do you convince upper management that they need to incorporate content marketing into their overall organisational strategy?
Here are some insights that might help.
Content marketing works
It is time to present some facts that will show execs the proven value of a solid content marketing campaign.
We have assembled some compelling statistics below for you to share, but there are plenty more you can find that will fit your specific pitch.
- According to CMI, 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing.
- Explain to management that they do not want to be left out in the cold, part of the 9% of companies not participating in content marketing. Being part of something that has momentum is a powerful persuader.
- According to MarketingMag.com, content marketing will be a $300 billion industry by 2019 – which means it will more than double in under 4 years
- With this much money being invested, at such a quick rate in content marketing, this is more proof that people believe in its power.
- Conductor Spotlight found that consumers are 131% more likely to buy after reading educational content from a brand.
- Providing this content is paramount to getting your company in front of potential buyers. After all, your competitors are already doing it, if you do not start now you will be left behind.
- Oracle tells us that content marketing generates 3x the leads per dollar spent when compared to paid search marketing.
- This just makes fiscal sense. The ROI on B2B content marketing is much higher than that of traditional advertisement. Who does not want more bang for their buck?
- Over 80% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after reading custom content.
- Fostering relationships with potential customers will help convert them to leads.
- 74% of companies agreed that their lead quality increased after implementing a content marketing strategy according to Curata.
- Ultimately it is great to educate your audience and establish yourself as a trusted partner, but you want quality leads that convert to sales.
Digital has changed marketing dramatically
The increasing adoption of online research and purchases have changed the buyers’ journey both in the B2C and B2B sectors. Marketing has adapted along with these new trends in order to keep pace with the buyers’ journey. Today, people are going out on their own to find support and information before even speaking to a company representative. You can no longer only talk about how great your product or service is – you need to appeal to people in other ways – with real information they can use in their daily lives. People crave information and education and want to feel that they are making an unbiased and informed decision, especially when it comes to B2B purchasing, as these purchases tend to be quite costly.
Gartner research finds that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase‚ they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers. When buyers are comparing multiple suppliers‚ the amount of time spent with any one sales rep may be only 5% or 6%.
Due to these facts, there needs to be a shift in marketing to incorporate content outreach to appeal to buyers at every stage of the purchase cycle. Which leads us to the next area you should cover with management.
Share real world examples of success
There are many examples of B2B companies that have killed it with the content they produce and there is nothing more compelling than knowing a strategy has worked for other successful companies. Below are a few good examples, we also discussed several others in a previous post we created, which you can read here. There are also countless other illustrations out there for you to draw from. Be sure to include some examples that fit your specific industry in your management presentation.
Shutterstock attracted 6 billion site visits, 5,300 shares on social media, and mentions in over 100 articles from just one infographic.
Computer manufacturing company, Lenovo, created TechRevolution for its B2B audience, a digital content hub that delivers the latest tech news to ‘hard to reach’ IT decision makers across Asia Pacific. Through this platform, Lenovo has driven brand awareness by delivering timely and relevant marketing content, which it can then share across multiple channels. The company website is now established as a thought leadership hub as a result, which currently features 252 articles with 34 million impressions, 308,000 link clicks, 170,000 new web users and $30 million attributable sales.
HubSpot’s inbound marketing audience is small businesses. It has some serious competition from companies like Marketo and Pardot. So, its team developed a content marketing strategy focused on educating its audience by creating the following informative collateral:
- Case studies
These materials were designed to teach inbound beginners the basics of social media and email marketing. The strategy helped take a company that started in 2006 with less than $80 million, to a 2016 valuation in excess of $1 billion.
Show the ROI of content marketing
Let us face it, upper management has their eye on the prize, the bottom line. At this point, they have seen that content marketing is effective, but they want confidence that your content marketing plan will deliver ROI. Just between us, many marketers struggle with ROI tracking. According to a B2B Content Marketing Report published by the Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn, 38% of marketers cite measuring content effectiveness as one of their greatest challenges. But do not fear, we are going to cover one way to handle this issue effectively, now.
It is time to explain to the execs that analysing the ROI of your online content is a little different than measuring the ROI of a banner ad or a TV advertising campaign. This is because, once you publish your content, it may take several weeks or even months for search engines to discover it. After it appears in search engines your readers will then need to find it. Unless you have already built up your blog readership, you must allow for lag time when measuring content marketing ROI.
To measure ROI, you need to calculate how much is spent to produce a piece of copy. Salary, resource acquisition and the cost to promote the content should be factored in. After you have that figure, it is time to work out any sales you can attribute to that piece of content, which is a bit more difficult. This may require back-end tracking to analyse the amount of click throughs to your content – then tracking to see if that person continued to your site to learn more about your offering, and then if they continued on to purchasing. After this is discovered, subtract the cost from the revenue and you have your ROI. There is an in-depth article that we found for your reference from optinmonster, that you can read for more information.
In addition to the pound for pound return, there are several key content marketing metrics that matter when we talk about return on investment, including: lead quality increase, web traffic, social media engagement, customer retention and positive perception. It is your goal to inform management that content marketing helps to drive success in each of these areas, which will over time lead to that bottom-line increase.
For a bit more supporting evidence on the value of content marketing, you can show that it will:
Content marketing is 62% less expensive than outbound marketing, yet it generates 3-times as many leads. An increase in leads will eventually bring in more sales, instantly gaining the appeal of management teams.
Help retain customers:
80% of a company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of their existing customers, as was found by Gartner Group, failing to keep your current customers around can lead to financial losses. The best way to keep current customers coming back for more is to speak to them personally, another facet of content marketing.
Drive positive brand perceptions:
General Electric (GE) partnered with BuzzFeed to create branded content which lead to significantly higher brand perception, when compared to the performance of display ads. The majority of users who saw GE’s branded content, viewed GE as a “creative,” “inspiring” and “innovative” powerhouse, which resulted in a 138% brand lift on social media.
So, that was a lot of information to take onboard, but hopefully the facts and ideas in this article will arm you with the data you need create a powerful presentation to sell content marketing to the top levels of your organisation.
If you would like to discuss anything contained in this article or want to turn the creation of this presentation over to a partner – get in touch at [email protected]