Last week I had the privilege to visit the Google office in New York City accompanied by about 30 of my peers from The Netherlands. Google’s DoubleClick platform has its heritage in this huge office and in two days we were updated with regards to their vision, roadmaps and developments on programmatic marketing. A concept how to embrace things like social, analytics and big data for marketing purposes. It is no secret and no surprise that with todays available technology the way how to practice marketing and build a brand dramatically changes. However in my opinion the essence of the marketing engagement game hasn’t changed at all. Being utmost relevant in a certain context should still be the core of each and every marketing engine. Tools and meanings have changed that allows every marketer to act more efficient and ultra targetted. For us as a business software provider in the cloud, content marketing plays a key role. Off course aiming for the right persona’s through the right mediachannels is step 1, but once reached and catched their attention we need to start build trust by showing in different ways we can help small business owners to support their ambitions and solve their pains. Content is great meaning for that purpose.
B2c and B2B: different challenges
About two third of the group of my Dutch peers were CMO’s of B2C companies like Coolblue, Vacansoleil, Bol.com, Beate Ushe, Funda, online airline ticketing, Rituals and many others. About one third B2B companies like us e.g. ING and Randstad. All discussions were moderated by the Dutch Google team introducing us to their colleagues like Stephen Yap, Peter Crofut, Jonathan Bellack, Paul Pellman and many others. Off course discussions were mainly about how to serve your message to your audiences in the most effective way, meaning how to get the most level of engagement out of it by smart and programmatic media buying. DoubleClick is the platform offered by Google to advertisers and publishers to do so. AdWords and Display can be published in such a way to get the attention of your audience when it matters to them. Basically in my opinion there were two types areas that we discussed:
- how to use the online mediachannel in its most effective way
- once you got someone’s attention and click, how to move on?
During these discussion I came to realize that in general CMO’s of B2C companies were mainly focussing and engaged in discussions about the online mediachannel. The attending B2B companies were mainly putting emphasize on the content which needs to be brought up, once attention of the audience is there, in order to convert into the next stage of the buying journey. Still to me it felt that for the B2C companies this was their only place where they could make a difference. Item 1 for me covers reach and first step of attention. Step 2 to me is nurture your audience by content rich, automated demand generation flows. Also within step 1 there are ways to do nurture like activities by remarketing an retargeting tactics. Still to me it felt that for the B2C companies this was their only place where they could make a difference. In other words if message 1 doesnt resonate, serve message 2 in order to convert straight ahaid into a sales qualified lead or sale. Commodity of goods and extremely high competition drive marketers to do so.
If I take our example of business software it is ‘fairly easy’ to create a second step of engagement based on content that goes beyond serving an appealing message. That’s where the content comes in place and the nature of our products makes it easy to generate tons of value content about how we can support small business owners. Many themes and formats are very usefull to bring our message via infographics, whitepapers, ebooks, blogs, videoclips and animations. I realize that this is completely not the case when you are talking about an airline ticket, holidays or kids toys you want to sell. Having content rich nurture flows you can debate whether that makes sense. So obviously as a B2C marketer you pay more attention on getting your message out to your audience and try to sell right away. No whitepapers, ebooks or other value content at all.
A simple brochure or website at that moment is THE guidance of life that matters above all
When does content marketing matter?
So having said that, doesn’t content marketing matter to B2C marketers at all? Does it make any sense to apply this in their industry? To say it is useless for them is a bit of a shortcut. To give an example. I am an enthusiastic amateur triathlete. When buying gear like a bike or a wet suit that really matters to me. No commodity at all and in certain stages of my sporting career buying a bike at that moment is THE most important event to me in the universe. To distinguish your message only in the first step within the online mediachannel by AdWords or Display for a sale is hardIt is B2C and that simple brochure or website at that moment is THE guidance of life that matters above all. So content in such an occasion is key for engaging with your buying audience. So the question is until what extend does the product or service plays a certain role in someones life? And that by itself describes the challenge for a B2C marketer to make it the center of the universe once buying intentions are there. To distinguish your message only in the first step within the online mediachannel by AdWords or Display for a sale is hard, very hard. Trying to deepen that level of engagement by appealing content could be the solution for that.
What can we learn from each other?
Looking at the DoubleClick platform, the roadmap, developments in that space and how this is practiuced by B2C advertisers and publishers I think we on the B2B side can learn from that. Analyzing CRM customer data, derive look-a-like profiles from that data and apply in realtime on audiences that pass by your websites are things we are just touching the surface. The way we create, produce and publish hundreds of pieces of value content in a highly automated way is something I think B2C marketers can learn from us. Thats the reason why I will always encourage my team to approach peers pro-actively in any way to learn, see, adopt and improve their skills as a marketer. It is a great way to get inspired and think out of the box once you think you might get stucked. Thanks to Google and all other attendees during this summit. It was of great value to me and I am looking forward seeing each other in a few months from now. Content marketing matters and in my opinion the ultimate marriage with programmatic marketing for B2B as well as B2C marketing.