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Gini Dietrich

Content Development for B2B Companies

By: Gini Dietrich | July 7, 2011 | 
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It’s Facebook question of the week time (clap, clap, clap)! You guys listened so well last week.

Lots of great questions, which has the next few weeks full.

But don’t let that stop you from asking a question. It’s OK. Head over there now. We’ll wait. Except for you, Danny Brown. You’re banned.

Did you do it? No fibbing now. I can tell whether or not you’ve left a question. It’s funny how that wall works. It tells me all!

OK. Thank you!

Are you ready for this week’s Facebook question? It’s a good one!

Tom DelMonte, senior director of services marketing at SAP, asks,

In the B2B space where purchases are done by committee and are in the millions of dollars/euros, what types of ‘content’ do you find works best when trying to engage socially? Industry trends? Thought Leadership? I find “plugging our stuff” is not genuine.

This is a really good conversation to have. Sean McGinnis responded to Tom on the Facebook wall, after he asked the question, and a short discussion was had. But we didn’t really answer his question there because I wanted to save it for the video.

But content for B2B companies can no longer be ignored. I believe we’ll all become media companies, at some point, and the faster you learn what types of content are valuable to your audiences, the better.

I answer his question in the video below (if you can’t view the video in your Reader, click here and it will magically appear), based on our own experience with our financial services and manufacturing clients. You really don’t get more B2B than that and we’ve had some pretty big success in using content for inbound marketing and generating qualified leads.

What else would you tell Tom? Do you agree or disagree with me? Are there other ideas you’ve found that work well?

Have at it!

You have one more week to sign up for Blog Style Guidelines: Mastering the Lists. Hurry! You don’t want to hurt Nate Riggs’s feelings, do you?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

81 comments
smotm
smotm

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LisaAndrews
LisaAndrews

It's nice to see you explaining on the video as it helps me understand well plus you look great.

MimiMeredith
MimiMeredith

Gini, it's been awesome to see your video q & a grow! You provide incredible resources and guidance all for goodness sake...okay, maybe to grow your influence and build your client base, but your generosity amazes me! Thank you for that.

I have nothing more to add to all the great comments already provided, but I did want to say that I LOVE those earrings!

Leon
Leon

G'Day Gini

Would you believe that I'm listening to some wonderful Bollie Holiday/Teddy Wilson music as I write this? Anyway.....I'm not sure if I'm really answering Tom's question. But to anybody who's involved in big ticket/long term sales transactions, there's one name that's most important: Neil Rackham of Huthwaite. --no affiliatelinks, no payola, no trips to Aspen or The Bahamas.

In empirical research conducted by a team who sat and recorded what successful salespeople did in these sorts of sales, Rackham and his team established that big ticket/long term sales required particular skills and strategies that were different from conventional sales processes.

If Tom wants to know more he can use that well known search engine thingo. I'm off now before someone accuses me of something I can't pronounce.

Avagoodweegend.

Regards

Leon

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV

As a company in B2B - specifically in tech - I agree that we have ignored this as a means of selling and it will need to be addressed. We may have some time before it catches up but the sooner we get on it the better.

Nicely done Gini.

marianne.worley
marianne.worley

I've spent much of my career in the high-tech, B2B sphere, where sales cycles are huge and 1 deal can make or break a quarter. When I first got started in marketing, I noticed what we were always telling our prospects and customers 2 things: how great our company was and how great our products were. What they really want to know is how we can solve their problems.

Now, B2B companies have a tremendous opportunity to share content that was once tightly held. Here are some of the things I'd like to see B2Bs share more often: Customer success stories, industry trends and analysis, company AND competitor news, and future plans.

Ryan Critchett
Ryan Critchett

Ah.. the ultimate heartbreak. No one gives a crap about your stuff... UNTIL you build substance.

Good points, I especially align with giving industry insights ON VIDEO. Such a "trust receptor" link.

Gini, I really like how you do Q&A. That's massively underrated and is an incredible "get in the trenches" way of going about social business.

Danny's question! Funny guy. Makes me wonder, who does paint that on there!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Unlike Advertising which seems to have trade shows like every week, in B2B Manufacturing there is usually 1 a year. And it is normally staffed by Sales people and walked by Engineers and sometimes buyers.And this really leaves your sales team or engineers being the ones discussing B2B commerce and after something is chosen by the engineers the purchasing group gets involved only then and basically to beat you up on price and hammer out the terms.

But here is where content and inbound marketing can work wonders. What if the procurement group looked at you as more than just a SKU number to buy and instead saw the solutions your product is providing to them or other customers. Or proof of quality and process. Wouldn't you feel better paying a premium if you saw the part made in a US factory by craftspeople vs coming from china?

And what about when your competitor craps out on a customer. They have a major quality problem and you had never been able to get in to see the right people at one of their big accounts. I have spoken with, helped, etc procurement people experiencing so much pain when deliveries are late or quality dives to find a replacement at any cost. And if they are searching the web just think how some content could easily open a door that cold calls, telemarketing, and camping out in lobbies hoping to tackle the right person (I have done this) couldn't get you.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

When is the Google + question of the week happening? And will it be on Tuesdays?

TheJackB
TheJackB

I think that you can plug your stuff if you do so by providing customer experiences with your products and services and maybe a comment about industry trends. It is a healthy mix of sales and marketing.

P.S. Gini, you are supposed to film your books for people like me who are exceptionally interested in what stands upon those shelves behind you.

John Falchetto
John Falchetto

Ah the B2B and B2C debate.

I always saw them as one and the same. Call me slow but I don't get the 'we only sell to corporations not people' approach. Really, so there is nobody on the other side signing off on bids, quotes, invoices and purchase orders? Robots?

Seriously, there is always a decision maker and that person is a consumer. Perhaps not in the retail sense but he/she makes the decision to buy or not.

Oh and yes speak to your clients, not your colleagues, which i think many who work in the 'B2B' industry seem to do a lot of.

ryanleecox
ryanleecox

@ginidietrich I have a friend that has a bad #custserv issue from AirTran, Southwest ... what is your suggestion for best course of action?

jackielamp
jackielamp

I like everyone's ideas and I can see the value in them, but my question is: How do you get people to actually watch the video of clients in action? Or read the weekly insights? I could see why customers would have an interest, but what about those who aren't customers?

I guess I'm wondering how you expand past your customer base to gain interest from those who don't already have an affiliation with your company...

Any thoughts or suggestions?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@danielnewmanUV And you guys have some pretty cool technology that will solve A LOT of problems for companies. You should be all over it!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Ryan Critchett Come on! Don't encourage him! It turns out they were hand stenciled until WWII when labor shortages forced them to automate the process. So put that in your pipe and smoke it!

glenn_ferrell
glenn_ferrell

@HowieG I like your connection between "proof of quality and process" and procurement folks. I think you have something here. Procurement many times does not understand the needs and pain points of their external customers but they sure understand (and many times have performance metrics) related to internal customers.

The challenge for you is to connect - through keyphrase or whatever -- those needs and pain points to your products. A post on how to create those connections would be something I'd like to read !

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@HowieG Kind of hard to have a G+ question of the week when they won't let anyone in there.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@John Falchetto Totally agree. It makes me nuts when business leaders tell me they're not selling to consumers. Oh. But you are. You absolutely are.

RobertDempsey
RobertDempsey

@jackielamp I agree with @John Fitzgerald and @ginidietrich . I'd also add a few more methods:

1. This type of content would (should) reside on the company blog on a webpage optimized for a keyword or phrase that is relevant to the content, which should also be a phrase that the customer would use.

2. You could also put the video on YouTube and optimize it for search so that Google will rank it, again with phrases that potential customers would use.

3. As Gini mentioned, you can use it in email marketing, specifically a lead nurturing campaign, or just as a piece of content you can send a prospect that has questions or it might help to sell.

4. Put it on your Facebook page, link to it on LinkedIn, spread it around on other social networks.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@jackielamp Use email marketing, social networks, and now G+ to find those prospects and use the content to attract them. This isn't unlike anything you do now...you're just now working with marketing to find the right people to talk with.

John Fitzgerald
John Fitzgerald

@jackielamp Great question(s). I'd start by treating the video as a story and not as an advertisement. Don't tell people why they should buy, tell them why your client sells. I go into this in some more detail in a guest post later today, but think of it like a movie - the motivations of the protagonist are more than enough to get people rooting for him or her. The protagonist just does his/her thing and you become interested because it's real. It's genuine.

Focusing on the motivations driving the founder/owner increases interest among their fans/customers. That interest will draw in the casual fan/customer. And so on... Interest begets interest. Or something like that...

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV

@ginidietrich I am - need to stop reading your blog so I can spend more time generating content. Thanks for the great advice as always!!!!

JuliaStewartPR
JuliaStewartPR

@ginidietrich @TheJackB @faybiz @juliastewartpr Yay, can't wait to learn more about the books! And the sock monkey, don't forget him. Thanks for remembering. Seriously, I second TheJackB's comment re: using customer experiences to work in references to your own stuff. Do it via video, and you've covered Gini's base too - best of both worlds.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@ginidietrich @John Falchetto yes and no. b2b often has direct sales people and often minimal advertising. but b2c often has way more advertising than direct sales. b2c can't afford to sell to people. they sell to businesses that sell to people. so there is a difference for the final sale.

boeing can afford a sales rep wining, dining, trips to paris and strip clubs to sell a new plane to a sheik. pepsi can't afford to do that for mt 20 cases of diet pepsi i drink a year.

jackielamp
jackielamp

@John Fitzgerald I like the idea of thinking of it like a movie. It probably keeps people coming back and hopefully entices them to share your content with the casual fan/customer.

It's also a way to turn it into a series instead of a one-off...

Thanks for the feedback!

TheJackB
TheJackB

@faybiz @juliastewartpr @ginidietrich Wait, are we on the verge of seeing the Gini Dietrich Library Dance? This could be interesting.

TheJackB
TheJackB

@HowieG @ginidietrich @John Falchetto No, and Pepsi won't provide you with as much support to close the deal as Boeing.

Very different approach between the two in part because B2B tends to be far more sophisticated than B2C.

jackielamp
jackielamp

@deleted_91832_Sean McGinnis @ginidietrich All good points. I think I'm just going to quote both of you and pretend like it was me who came up with the ideas so I can seem super smart! :)

Kidding. Kidding. Thank you for sharing your wisdom though!

Trackbacks

  1. […] props today for public relations expert and blogging maven Gini Dietrich. She wrote about how all businesses these days have become media companies… and she’s […]

  2. […] people I know including Marcus Sheridan and John Falchetto agree, and we had fun debating it on Gini Dietrich’s content development blog post. So the question is, is there any magic sauce you can use when marketing for B2B leads? […]