Discover the thought process of the B2B content strategy that you can use to reach and resonate with your business audience. When it comes to B2B marketing, organizations that can address the complex process and outcomes of the customer journey will both win and retain customers. Content is at the heart of this customer journey, addressing the needs of diverse stakeholders, each needing clear information and a burden of value depending on their goals and responsibilities.

Adding to the complexity is the ever-changing number of teams, tools, and channels that need to touch each of these stakeholders—which means different groups are facilitating different stages of the journey. To move prospects through each step of a longer sales cycle, B2B marketers need to use the right content at the right time. A B2B content journey map might look like this:

The mapped journey that extends across all functions within marketing is rare. It’s common for each process to work with little insight into the planning, production, and measurement of the content served, resulting in content chaos.

Content Disorder

Without a strategy for coordinating teams, tools, and channels, seeing the larger picture of your marketing impact is almost impossible. At the moment, content creation across departments leads to duplicate, off-brand, or unnecessary content.

The reality is that marketing content needs to be managed as a part of a connected marketing strategy that bridges the needs of each decision-maker at every stage of the process. Doing this effectively requires a change in how you organize your marketing initiatives, and content is at the center of that effort.

Escaping the Disorder

B2B organizations must create aligned processes around organization-wide goals. They have to understand content needs, efficiently meet them, and measure the results. Effectively meeting content needs—and delivering effective marketing—requires strategic alignment and involvement across all departments.

A closed-loop strategy creates impactful, usable content that supports all of your channels and teams, delivers valuable and essential information for prospects, and increases deal velocity.

This process comes down to four key capabilities:

In this guide, these four capabilities are outlined and simplified to help build a B2B marketing strategy that unifies your organization around shared objectives, delivers relevant and valuable content for every team and stage in the customer journey, and helps you meet your goals. It’s the beginning—the foundation—for a robust, efficient, and winning B2B marketing strategy.

Alignment is the first, and perhaps most foundational, capability for building a successful B2B Content Strategy and operation—and thus, marketing strategy. Without alignment, your team is stuck in silos, creating the best-misaligned content, and at worst, duplicative and ineffective.

Alignment

But alignment is more than just knowing what a different team is working on. Accurate functional alignment defines tools, groups, and technology in a categorical and structured way, creating consistency and unity across an organization. Here’s how to build alignment in your organization for a clear and consistent content experience, from content creators to internal consumers to your prospects and customers.

Budget

First, to get the dollar signs aligned for a killer B2B Content Strategy and execution, assess your goals and objectives. Then, evaluate the people, tools, and channels you need to meet these goals. This includes resources to collaborate internally, execute efficiently, deliver content strategically, and measure the revenue impact of your initiatives.

Technology

Here are the must-haves for your B2B marketing technology stack and the foundation for creating content that is valuable, trackable, and persona-based:

Once these core platforms are in place, identify the gaps that prevent you from planning, executing, and measuring success efficiently.

Channels

You also need to invest in the appropriate channels for delivering content. Some of the most critical media for B2B marketers to consider supporting are:

  • SEM/Retargeting
  • Content recommendation platforms
  • Email advertising
  • Social media advertising
  • Content syndication

 Even though specific strategies are consistent across organizations, your company’s products and target audience are unique. Make sure you test and constantly evaluate the effectiveness of these channels, so your marketing spend is adding value.

Additional Resources

To make content ideas a reality, it’s essential to budget resources for freelancers or contractors who specialize in various stages of content execution and use them to remove bottlenecks and fill critical content gaps.

Here are some contracted resources to consider factoring into your marketing budget:

  • Writers and copy editors
  • Graphic designers
  • Digital/interactive designers
  • Videographers
  • SEO specialists
  • Data and analysis specialists

Cross-Functional Involvement

The best B2B marketing strategies are built upon cross-functional, collaborative efforts across marketing teams and departments. Here are the primary stakeholders that should weigh in on your process:

  • Product marketing
  • Field marketing
  • Marketing and sales operations
  • Demand generation
  • Digital and SEO
  • Social/PR

Define the Customer Journey

If you’re not producing relevant, persona-based content that captivates potential buyers at every stage of the journey, you’re wasting your time.

To have a truly closed-loop marketing approach, marketing, sales, and support teams all need to have a stake in your company’s revenue goals. Therefore, each of these departments and the units within them must be aligned across the customer journey, equipped with relevant and valuable content at each stage, and have a stake in your company’s revenue goals.

 Categorization matters

The primary step toward tackling this challenge is to get consensus across the company about the definition of each stage in the customer journey. Below is an example of the customer journey. Use this as your template, and incorporate your own sales stages and goals into your strategy. Take note that the definitions you agree upon should be used across the entire organization.

Persona Development

B2B marketers have to address several personas within a single sale. Each persona has unique information needs, goals, and concerns related to the purchase and often joins the decision-making process at different stages.

Building Personas

Whether you’re grasping to understand what your product has to offer a specific user, how your target customers consume information, or what customer success stories you need to tell, strategic interviews are vital in developing valuable, persona-based content.

Here are some key interviews to consider scheduling as you develop personas:

  • Your sales representatives
  • Your customer service representatives
  • Your account managers
  • Your customers

 Crowdsource Ideas

Only 50% of marketers believe they have enough content ideas to fuel their content operations. Marketing should not be the only team carrying the ideation responsibilities for your company. Your internal subject-matter experts, sales reps, and customer service teams are brimming with buyer-centric ideas; they need to be mined appropriately.

Getting your team committed and excited about content promotes collaboration, which spotlights what content your company needs to create to close deals and keep customers happy. Here are three ways to start regularly crowdsourcing ideas:

Find an executive sponsor

Find someone who can relay content ideas up the ladder to an executive while also establishing credibility and authority to the tactical executors. Perhaps this is your CMO or another executive that reports to the CEO. The goal is to get buy-in with the management, so it doesn’t feel like a challenging battle every time you rally for ideation.

Establish a content committee

Identify key stakeholders and subject-matter experts across your company and establish an official “content committee.” Consider pulling in representatives from the following teams to gain additional insight into themes that will resonate with prospects and customers:

  • Sales/business development
  • Customer support
  • Customer success
  • Product marketing
  • Field marketing
  • Demand generation
  • Marcomm/PR
  • Social and community

Brainstorm, then cluster ideas into themes.

Marketing must always be agile, and one-off content assets add to the pile of new content when they aren’t aligned with your organization’s strategic goals. Accordingly, the content committee should represent buyer-facing teams, such as sales, support, and services. They will be able to source ideas for content from customer feedback or insights. But don’t try to handle these requests one by one and fall into the trap of “random content production.” Instead, group ideas into big themes can be approached strategically and aligned with larger business goals.

 Build Timelines

Launching new messaging or products into the world isn’t an ad hoc, siloed act. A seamless, successful marketing campaign is the result of department-wide visibility into timelines and responsibilities, in addition to streamlined workflows. Here’s a step-by-step timeline:

Step 1: Set your major asset deadline

Start with the go-live or launch date of the significant asset from which your other assets will build. Alpha Cube’s content strategy uses the pillar model to create and build your campaigns around one major purchase, such as an eBook, and build supporting assets from the pillar. You’ll work backward to fill in the supporting content deadlines relevant to your pillar launch date.

Step 2: Set deadlines for supporting assets

Next, think through each supporting asset of your pillar launch and assign a deadline for each. Here is an accessible template for setting deadlines for assets supporting your pillar campaign:

  • Funnel-Driver: Top-of-funnel, a high engaging asset such as infographics, videos, or blog posts.
  • Gated Asset: The conversion piece behind a landing page that brings new leads into the system
  • Database for your team to determine whether or not they are sales qualified.
  • If this is the first asset that the new lead has interacted with, your team should follow up with drip emails to nurture them with additional relevant content. This builds trust and offers more opportunities for interaction.
  • Product Piece: Solution-based pieces such as short demo videos or case studies to drive leads to engage with sales.

Step 3: Assign content tasks and workflows

Assign a deadline and owner to every task to ensure that internal stakeholders know their responsibilities. Identify each job that needs to happen—and who is responsible for completing it—before and after the date of your pillar launch.

 Step 4: Schedule collaborative meetings in advance

Pre-production

  • Content brainstorm
  • Meet with PR and social teams
  • Plan SEO strategy for the launch
  • Meet with the design team to determine the visual direction
  • Determine digital strategy with marketing ops (e.g., landing pages, automated email campaigns, etc.)

Post-production

  • Update sales and customer support with relevant assets and email templates
  • Formal review of campaign metrics post-launch

The content marketing industry is on a steady growth curve. If you’re ready to launch your own B2B content strategy for your Brand, bookmark this article and refer to it whenever you need a bolt of ideas.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or need help with your next content marketing and growth strategies.