With 2014 now less than a month away, most B2B marketers are well into their planning for next year. For most marketers, the ultimate question is: What can we do to boost the effectiveness of our marketing efforts in 2014?
This is the second of two posts that are describing two key actions that marketers can take to improve marketing effectiveness in 2014. In my last post, I discussed why most B2B companies need to implement marketing automation and CRM technologies. In this post, I'll describe how marketing content needs to change in 2014.
More than nine out of ten B2B marketers now say they are using some form of content marketing, according to research by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. The irony is that the popularity of content marketing is creating a new challenge for marketers. As more companies implement content marketing and publish more content, it's becoming more difficult to make your content stand out.
The key to content marketing success in 2014 will be to make your content useful. The concept of utilitarian marketing - marketing that is truly useful to the recipient - has gained increased attention in recent months largely due to the publication of two books - Youtility by Jay Baer, and Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel.
In Youtility, Jay Baer argues that there are only two ways for companies to break through the marketing and advertising clutter that engulfs today's consumers and business buyers. They can be amazing or they can be useful. Being amazing works, Baer says, but it is more difficult to do and provides less predictable results than being useful.
Being useful is what Baer means by "Youtility," which he defines as follows:
"Youtility is marketing upside down. Instead of marketing that's needed by companies, Youtility is marketing that's wanted by customers. Youtility is massively useful information, provided for free, that creates long-term trust and kinship between your company and your customers."
In Ctrl Alt Delete, Mitch Joel contends that what he calls utilitarianism marketing will be the "next great business disrupter." Joel describes utilitarianism marketing as follows:
"What is utilitarianism marketing? It's not about advertising, it's not about messaging, and it's not about immediate conversations. It's about providing a true value and utility: something consumers not only would want to use - constantly and consistently - but would derive so much value from it that it would be given front-and-center attention in their lives."
In the CMI/MarketingProfs study mentioned earlier, 73% of B2B marketers surveyed said they are currently producing more content than they were twelve months earlier. There is every reason to think that companies will produce more content in 2014 than they did in 2013. With so much content available, potential buyers have little patience for content that doesn't provide real value and utility. If they don't see value in your content, they'll simply move on to someone else's.
There are several actions you can take to improve the effectiveness of your marketing in 2014, but nothing is more important than producing content that is truly useful to your customers and prospects.
Read Part 1 of the series here.