According to a CMI and MarketingProfs study, 91% of B2B Marketers are using content marketing and that means a few things:
First, it means content marketing has gained critical mass within the popular marketing mix and any company in a competitive industry would be hard pressed to attract business without it.
Second, it means competition to stand out with your brand’s content is only going to get harder as more companies adopt content marketing best practices and mature in their skills.
As companies evolve from simply recognizing the important role of content and experimenting with it, to achieving content creation competency and quality, the need to optimize content marketing skills becomes increasingly important. But where can B2B marketers find new ideas and expand their opportunities to grow content marketing capabilities?
The good news is that B2B Marketing innovation is alive and well and can be found in many places. One place I like to look is case studies and awards for successful B2B marketing work.
A few weeks ago I presented at DemandGen Report’s B2B Content2Conversion conference along with tier one B2B marketers like Michael Brenner from SAP, Jill Rowley from Oracle / Eloqua, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute and many others.
On top of hearing strategy and practical tactics from speakers, there was a Killer Content Marketing Awards presentation that highlighted some incredible creative, execution and most of all, performance of B2B content marketing programs.
SunGard – Created awareness amongst IT professionals for SunGard Cloud offerings with a zombie themed campaign. The zombie themed effort resulted in exceeding download rates by 300%, a 5.7% email open rate and 20+ leads.
Limelight Networks – Implemented a “For Dummies” themed education campaign drawing attention to success and failures for companies and their digital presence. The campaign gained exposure through nearly 10,000 social media and news release views and $200k+ worth of sales opportunities.
Logicalis – Using content assets such as emails, microsite and ebook, Logicalis developed a thought leadership effort that supported sales teams by enabling custom messaging based on the prospects interaction with the campaign. With a target audience of about 2,000, nearly $8 million in new pipeline business was closed.
Sales Benchmark Index – Targeting prospects that were newly hired VPs of Sales, this campaign focused on providing a toolkit that identified corporate pains when VPs of Sales fail as well as case studies of successes. The promoted ebook was downloaded by target VPs 5,781 times.
Lattice Engines – Partnered with a research firm to create a study showing the impact big data has on sales. A robust mix of content marketing tactics were used to promote the report including: ebook, blog posts, guest articles, video interviews, Slideshare and an infographic. The report was downloaded 500 times, covered by 15 blogs and industry media sites and 1,500 views of the ebook.
Optum – Created an integrated marketing campaign to support the launch of a new solution, support sales and build thought leadership. The content marketing mix included: advertorials, display ads, email, direct mail and a campaign website. The successful campaign earned a 23.5 lead to conversion rate, 475% increase in website traffic, 2,500+ resource downloads, 28% increase in YoY blog followers and $52 million in contract value of new business with less than $ 1million invested.
ADP – Developed a content marketing campaign to connect and engage with their target audience on a ADP solution using white papers and a diagnostic assessment tool. The campaign generated over $1 million in new sales opportunities with several deals closed within the first 3 months of launch.
Demandbase – This education campaign was designed to help B2B marketers make the right content technology investment by using a white paper, infographic, webinar, Slideshare and a live presentation to spotlight tools that can maximize the power of content. The results of the campaign included 1,700 leads, 125 webinar participants, 5,000 views on Slideshare and $1 million in new business.
Xerox – Created a targeted “Get Optimistic” campaign to connect with 30 top accounts and partnered with Forbes to create a magazine that offered relevant business tips. 70% of targeted companies interacted with the microsite, readership increased 300-400% over previous email campaigns, added 20,000 new contacts, generated 1,000+ scheduled appointments, and get this: yielded $1.3 BILLION in pipeline revenue. Yes, BILLION.
OpenText – Created a personalized new customer onboarding site offering a variety of assets (white papers, checklists, product pages, ebooks, case studies) and content to welcome new clients and provide upsell, cross-sell opportunities. The campaign also included a two phase nurturing program. 1,700 new contacts were identified along with 31 new opportunities worth $1.8 million.
Crowe Horwath – Using 48 pieces of content in 4 different topic areas, this campaign targeted C-level prospects in financial institutions with $1 billion or more in assets across the buying cycle. Content tactics included: executive briefs, case studies, infographics, checklists, Q and A, and Brainshark video. 778 contacts were engaged with a 70% open rate (vs. 10%), 2 engagement worth $250k in revenue.
One of the interesting things about these B2B content marketing campaigns is a fairly consistent LACK of attention to optimizing content assets (images & infographics, video, PDFs, etc) for search. Many of these campaign assets could continue to attract new prospects or at least attract more than they are if the assets were more visible for relevant keywords. Just using the titles of the files and documents was difficult to find many of these. Many of these content assets are near invisible when it comes to buyer-centric keywords.
Just remember marketers, when it comes to content, there’s no excuse not to socialize, advertise, publicize AND optimize. This approach represents a lot of what we do at TopRank Marketing.
Here’s the full deck for details on each Killer Content Marketing campaign plus performance data. Enjoy!
Another great post Lee! thanks for sharing the slide as well.
Lee Odden says
Thanks Sharel, I’m glad you found it useful.
Sarah Bauer says
The main takeaway from these examples: offer a robust mix of content marketing formats – provide new information in a variety of ways, to suit the preferences of individual users. Seems to have worked for these top dogs!
Lee Odden says
There’s definitely some planning and connected story telling going on between the mix of content formats.
Killer list, Lee! I’ll be stealing it . . . a lot . . .
Lee Odden says
thanks Lee this is really interesting, think my Chrome playing up as it doesn’t display any images on this post.
I love to see companies being original and coming up with great ideas. It can sometimes lead your thoughts to creating amazing campaigns yourself.
Lee Odden says
Exactly Kevin. That’s what I hope this post will help people see. Thanks.
Patrick McFadden says
Great information! When I look into the future I see that there will be more information, noise, channels, videos, books, and clutter, but what will be the only thing that will break through? Quality content. The creme always rises to the top.
Lee Odden says
Thank you Patrick. Quality and visibility are key.
Goran Maric says
Great examples how to use content marketing in B2B marketing!
Lee Odden says
Thanks, glad you liked it Goran.
Carl Hartman says
Wow, this is what you consider content marketing. As I suspected, this is just the same old stuff agencies have been peddling for many years with a new wrapper. “Hey, let’s call it content marketing now and milk even more money from our customers.” Really, this isn’t content marketing. Glad we are so far ahead of the curve.
I’m interested in hearing what you consider content marketing, if this doesn’t fit the bill?
Lee, great list. You mention a lot of ROI metrics from the email campaigns. You don’t happen to have examples or screenshots of the actual emails these companies sent, do you?
Affiliate Networks24 says
This is great examples, as you say if they also made them SEO friendly or viral they can deliver more over long time.
thanks for sharing your views its informative