One of the biggest challenges in B2B marketing today is defining where or how a content marketing strategy fits into the overall marketing plan. One area where marketers must think differently about content marketing –even if you are still in the initial stages of it - is to build on your assets, according to Robert Rose, chief strategist at the Content Marketing Institute who spoke at the ANA/BMA 16: Masters of B2B Marketering in Chicago this month. Content is not really useful as a marketing tool, Rose notes, if you have a disconnected pile of assets. But, if you have a pile of connected raw materials so you can build something - that is an integrated content marketing strategy that supports data, value, pdfs, case studies and other material.
“We need to have business value,” Rose said. “In every successful implementation of content marketing that I have seen it is the collection of assets that leads to success. No one says that one blog, or one white paper is the game changer but it is the collection of assets that drives the success of a content marketing campaign.”
Rose notes that it is important for marketers to stop trying to address every micro-decision and every step with content. He says that instead it is important to create experiences so the customer wants your content and brand. Marketers must try to drive growth through a much more integrated, strategic process.
Rose remarked that successful content marketing does include companies who are aiming at becoming the leading publisher of content in the B2B space. Rose cited some examples of the strategic value of this. “L’Oreal launched a site called FabBeauty that is geared towards salon owners. It is an unbranded online magazine directed at beauty salon owners without a single L’Oreal logo on it.” Rose notes that an unbranded site that demonstrates leadership to salon owners, is a great strategy that illustrates to the customer that it is not about L’Oreal but is about those who are building the industry. As another example, he cites the company Red Bull and the Marriott Hotels. “Red Bull Media House is a profit site and is the main arm of marketing for the company. The Marriott Hotels are all in for content marketing. They want to be the leading media company in the B2B space for travel.”
While Rose notes that content marketing exists as a business strategy and is working for some, it is not yet working for all and that marketers have learned how to operate content marketing drives. However he stresses that successful content marketing is not a super charged campaign or a super charged direct marketing push. It is not campaign marketing as such, he says but it is a different kind of activity.
"What if we look at content marketing as a business strategy or activity performed by marketers. Advertising is a tactic that we use and if we look at content marketing as an activity this does not change marketing’s purpose. We should begin with the end experience in mind and work toward creating the assets that will make something worth subscribing to,” Rose said.