By Vaibhav Tewari , Chief Marketing Officer, Microland
Microland, headquartered in Bangalore, is an IT infrastructure services provider, offering services across Infrastructure Management, Infrastructure Modernization, End User Services, Cloud Computing, Virtualization, Collaboration and Mobility.
Technology has been fast transforming every single function in an organization, while most of the obvious ones related to infrastructure and employees get talked about a lot; Marketing function too has been getting fully transformed with the usage of technology. Customer connect has never been so easy and so real-time in the past. The importance of being connected and having the right content created and delivered has been growing by leaps and bounds.
With the mix of social media and digital marketing coming into play, completely untapped and high potential channels of communication have opened up as well. While the importance of this has been chronicled well in the B2C context, B2B marketers too are in an enviable position now to leverage good content across the channels. In this new connected world, content has become the most potent tool to reach out to your customers from the B2B perspective.
Thought leadership and knowledge are very strong differentiators in B2B context and propagating this positioning through the right channels is equally important. While most of the leading companies in any space may have similar value propositions and presentations, well-constructed content to augment a company's position as an expert has its weight worth in gold. In today's time of information overload and seemingly similarity of messaging, it is important to showcase a company's knowledge and expertise and create the right differentiators with the target audience. Some ways in which content can be leveraged well are as follows-
A well written white paper with the focus on solving the business and technology problem for the target market, works well. Ideally the focus should be on the business benefits with the company message woven in a subtle way in the right context. Many times, though companies end up focusing a lot on their solution and end up making it as marketing collateral, which may not be a good idea. It is better to keep the message as neutral as possible. It makes the paper more credible and works well with the target audience.
These can be targeted both at existing customers and the new prospects. Here again the content has to be packaged well to solve the business problems. The business problem being solved has to be as prominent as how it is being solved. The trap many case studies fall under is the excessive focus on 'how'. This ends up focusing too much on how the problem was solved and in turn do not connect with the audience.
This is a very powerful channel to connect with your target audience. Well-designed Facebook and LinkedIn pages can add to a company's positioning tremendously. Targeted messages with the right hooks can make the engagement very powerful. Very technical topics too can be made very engaging. Daily tips, best practices and quizzes are some of the tools which can be employed with high effectiveness. These can be used to promote your website and related content too. Humor is important too; jokes on your focus topics are a good idea to try once in a while. For example, an event can be promoted using both LinkedIn groups and FB pages. Regular updates, registrations can be driven through these channels.
Twitter is another interesting channel which can be leveraged to communicate with the target audience. However this could be best utilized as a teaser or trailer, especially from a thought leadership perspective. This could be used for sharing tips, sharing announcements or news items etc. For example, you could leverage Twitter to announce the launch of an event; it could be leveraged to share updates etc.
The most important point to keep in mind is that content written for Social media should be presented in such a way that it can easily become viral.
Podcasts is another interesting idea to demonstrate knowledge and disseminate interesting information. Many companies have been using it very effectively. This can be in different formats, formal or informal or in different sizes too like a 2-3 minutes one or detailed ones for 10-12 minutes depending on the target audience.
To summarize, content has become the king, especially to position a company as the thought leader in its chosen field. But packaging the content too has become a complex art given the various options available in front of a Marketer. Ability to package and market the content in all byte sizes to maximum effect across different channels makes one a deft Marketer. Connecting with customers has never been so exciting.