There was a popular article on TechCrunch recently claiming marketers in the inbound and content marketing space have no idea what they are doing and don’t know marketing. For some, that might be true.
When you’re not viewing the world through the lens of a cynic, it’s amazing what you see. Marketers at companies all over the world are planning, implementing and optimizing customer and content centric marketing programs that are achieving results.
For example, each year at the Content 2 Conversion conference, the Killer Content Awards recognize B2B marketers implementing effective content marketing campaigns. And each year, we highlight many of those examples here.
While there are those vested in “being right” and debating the merits of the 4 P’s, there are companies creating useful information customers are looking for every day. Information that educates and helps buyers lead themselves to the conclusion to buy (60-90% of the way at least).
For examples that you can actually learn from, here are 38 B2B content marketing campaigns from major brands including American Express, Dell, Waste Management, Cox Media, Optum, Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, SAP, IBM, NASDAQ, Glassdoor, Demandbase, Oracle, LinkedIn, Thermo-Fisher Scientific, Salesforce, Zendesk, Comcast and more, each including: an approach, a link to the creative / content assets and provided results.
American Express Global Corporate Payments
Project: American Express partnered with the Global Business Travel Association to create a research report on the satisfaction of business travelers. Through the development of a content hub featuring original research, blog posts, listicles, infographics and event presentations, the goal was to educate companies and suppliers about expense management and technology.
- Reach of 100 million publications
- 1,500+ page visits
- 100% higher engagement rate on LinkedIn than Financial Services benchmark
Project: A survey of 100 retailers and 200 North American consumers provided data to create an ebook: Closing the Gap Between People’s Expectations and Retail Realities that uncovered how retailers engage with consumers across channels and how shoppers respond.
- 67% of all content downloads from the Magnetic website
- Media coverage in 5 major industry publications
Project: To position itself as a thought leader of VoC solutions, a white paper was developed helping to define and validate VoC with research, offering how-tos and tips for lowering costs.
- 2,500+ leads generated
- $1,000,000+ in net new pipeline generated in the first 30 days
- Largest attribution source for leads in 1H2015
- Cost per conversion of less than $1.30/each
Project: Dell developed a nurture program supported by more than 18,000 global module content elements featuring over 1,200 assets. The assets supported 22 solution topics across 10 global programs. All of this was designed to stand out against competitors, align content to customer journey stage and focus on decreasing end-user time investment.
- 35% higher average order value for nurtured vs. non-nurtured contacts
- 300% more contact engagement with nurture emails
Waste Management (PDF)
Project: To reach small businesses, monthly nurturing emails were created along with landing pages and microsite where interactions with content determined placement in an accelerated nurture with top 10 lists, how-to guides and other resources.
- 2% to 4% content adoption in first 3 months
- Onsite visits and trial offers scheduled by customer service reps
Clean Harbors (PDF)
Project: A content-based drip campaign including thought leadership content, industry trends, challenges and lessons learned was developed to cross-sell services to an existing customer base. Content types included: Articles, Fact Sheets, Podcasts, White papers, Infographics, Interactive checklists, case studies and real-world events.
- The cross-sell campaign connected the brand with a niche, target group of prospects
- Improved positioning of the brand as a knowledge leader in the Chemical and Petrochemical markets
Project: To increase engagement amongst prospective clients, a holiday advertising “countdown calendar” was created to help local businesses plan their marketing. Content types included: checklists, workbooks, videos, infographics, and graphic ebooks. Content was amplified with social ads and blog posts.
- Increased traffic to its web properties a
- 60% increase in client inquiries
- Top 10 assets for 2015
- Interactions and shares up 10% or more over prior month campaigns
Project: Exploring how companies can better engage employees a multi-touch campaign was launched including several guides, lists, and a SXSW panel. Amplification occurred through a blog, landing pages, social channels, emails, and guest blog post CTAs. Follow up content was automatically delivered based on reader behaviors and segmentation.
- 270 new sales-qualified leads (SQLs)
- 11% contact to SQL conversion rate
- 2,458 new contacts
- 18% view to contact conversion rate
- 13,939 views
Project: To show their target audience the potential benefits of the offering, a campaign including email, Uberflip, webinars, case studies, infographics, tip-sheets, videos and interactive content powered by SnapApp: calculators, quiz and a survey that worked with existing content.
- Warmer leads filling the pipeline
- 800 qualified leads for sales (141% of quota attainment)
- Sales can now use content collected through interactive channels as tools for the sales process
Project: An interactive content experience was created to help healthcare execs and sales people easily find the information they needed to understand changes in the health system. Assets included a web-based tool guiding virtual discussion, and a navigational infographic.
- 1,800 contacts have visited the site,
- 3% of site visitors have contacted Optum to engage further
The Mosaic Company
Project: To create awareness of a new offering, The Great Yield Mystery, a 10-episode fictional serialized audio drama (podcast) was created exploring causes of issues that the company’s offering solves. Prizes were given away to listeners.
- 1,586 podcast episode downloads
- 1,764 sessions on GreatYieldMystery.com Average of 2.13 pages per session Average two-minute session duration Total reach of 197,377 people
Booker (blog, videos)
Project: A series of 6 humorous videos were created featuring dogs using the company’s software ’s show SMBs how to grow their business.
- 500 inbound leads
- 100+ closed deals
Project: A mock movie trailer called, Fast Innovation and the Slow Waiter, featured CIOs and tech leaders from major companies discussing how they are leveraging technology to grow revenue with a “dim-witted waiter” aka Tim Washer. The humorous trailer linked to the full interviews with the executives.
- Video earned 1,331 views (5X the average)
Project: A series of sitcom-styled videos discussing customer problems followed by a series of ebooks mapping out solutions used plain language to engage buyers’ attention.
- 600,000 views of the video series
- 25 leads converted
Networked Insights/Walker Sands
Project: To monitor brand sponsors of the World Cup and those that newsjacked the event, reports were created to highlight winners and losers, hidden audiences, and how media habits changed during the event.
- 16 major media placements 71 million impressions
- 3,500+ social shares
- Attracted $1m+ in inbound leads from potential World Cup advertisers
Project: An information hub was created for CMOs to support their role in an entertaining and compelling way. Content types include research and interviews with 300 senior marketing executives, white papers, articles, infographics, SlideShare decks, webinars and videos. Continued engagement via social media, blog posts and emails extended the dialogue with CMOs.
- 2,000 site visits
- 1,400 unique users
- 435 leads
Bottomline Technologies (PDF)
Project: To create demand for a new solution a best practices guide was developed along with email promotions to the customer and prosper database.
- 1,476 emails opened
- 708 total clicks
- 48% click-to-open rate
Project: A website was developed to provide the target audience with original news and analysis that could provide an authentic understanding of the target audience challenges.
- News coverage in The New York Times, BBC and others
- Performance has exceeded expectations with continued growth in readership
iLEVEL Solutions, a division of Ipreo Private Capital Markets
Project: To create awareness, a robust brief that was previously published was condensed into an interactive infographic. A complex topic was made easy to consume on any device.
- 1,000 views
- 33% sustained increase in web traffic
- 10% increase in returning traffic
- 60% increase in time spent on site per visit
- 70% increase in the number of page views per visit
- 5 new opportunities worth $800,000
- Directly influenced 63 opportunities worth $6.2 million
Project: To develop awareness of it’s technology leadership an interactive infographic was developed using Ceros showing a timeline of innovations and milestones.
- 2,300 page views 1,630 unique visitors
- 3 minutes average time on the infographic
Project: An online platform was created using industry influencers to answer key questions via video interviews.
- 1,084 total registrations
- 9,143 contacts added to marketing automation database
- 626 leads with Future of Event Marketing as first point of conversion
- 257 marketing-qualified leads generated
Project: Using a top CEO list, inspirational advice and management best practices were curated into an ebook.
- 4,493 views on SlideShare
- 87,032 page views on Business Insider
- 70% click-to-download rate from internal email promotion
Project: To support crowdsourcing content from customers a Awards program was developed to leverage customer generated content: case studies, videos, tweets and LinkedIn posts.
- 80% of candidates who were nominated turned into public case studies
- 100% of drafted case studies turned into public case studies
- 95% of all winners renewed their contracts the following year
- 100% of winners engaged in other brand marketing activities
Project: An eBook was developed to educated prospects on Account Based Marketing. The eBook was repurposed to create an infographic, video, blog post and interactive quiz.
- 950 downloads
- 960% directly attributed ROI
- $8 million in pipeline revenue
Project: To support the sales team engage retail industry companies, decision makers were identified to receive relevant and timely content delivered through rep outreach, marketing emails, direct mail, a webinar and a survey. The program also included infographics, eBooks, reports and blog posts.
- 27 new opportunities created
- $600,000 in pipeline revenue
Project: To reach target accounts, an ABM Wild West themed campaign was developed alongside Dreamforce. A Most Wanted list of their 150 top prospects was created and case bounty given when someone brought the executive to the company’s booth.
- Influenced 22 opportunities worth $367,000
- Sourced 12 opportunities valued at $270,000
- Closed four deals
- Engaged approximately 50 accounts
- Generated 623 mentions across social networks before and during the event
Project: The “Awesome Office Show” podcast was created for CEOs and HR professionals featuring industry influencers.
- 20,000 downloads
- Top 50 Business Podcast on iTunes
- Featured in iTunes New & Noteworthy
Project: To highlight solutions and thought leadership a survey was conducted and findings were developed into a story that aligned with the brand’s messaging.
- 134,415 landing page views
- 8,923 marketing engaged leads
- 2,763 marketing qualified leads
Project: To educated their audience and promote team members as thought leaders, an infographic was developed.
- 2,333 page views
- 5,000 social shares
Project: A campaign highlighting the consequences of not using the right monitoring solution was developed featuring a cartoon character, “Franken-Monitor”. Assets included: a comic strip, infographic and research report.
- 100,000 total views
- 2,000-plus research report downloads
- 5,000 social shares
Oracle Marketing Cloud (PDF)
Project: An annual LookBook highlights the 20 best branding and marketing campaigns of the year across email, mobile, social, web and display.
- 3,500 downloads
- 1,581 new contacts
- 1,226 new marketing-qualified leads
Project: Partnering with industry thought leader, Brian Solis and cartoonist, Hugh MacLeod, an eBook, SlideShare presentation, infographic and blog posts combined to highlight the need for remarkable content.
- 9,200 E-book downloads
- 2,000 SlideShare views
- 1,000 cumulative blog post shares
Project: Partnering with industry experts to discuss social selling and best practices, an ebook was developed, “Join the Social Sales Revolution”. The eBook was amplified through a social campaign and a series of webinars.
- 5,000 landing page views
- 350 new leads
- 9% conversion rate
Thermo Fisher Scientific (PDF)
Project: To help a new sales effort, a brochure and sales battle card highlighting customers’ struggles, questions and concerns were created for the sales team. The sales support material also provided counters to objections, benefits and value points.
- 217 leads
- $800,000 opportunities added to the funnel
- 5 systems sold
Project: A 3-phased approach was launched to accelerate sales enablement. Phase 1 included research, aligning content and reviewing sales data. Phase 2 focused on repurposing content and developing a framework. Phase 3 involved administering sales enablement training tools and guides.
- 730% increase in deal closings with 5k companies
- 130% increase QoQ in outbound booking amount
Project: The company used Facebook to drive traffic to the main website and spark conversations about customer interests. Content assets included: Product demos, customer testimonial videos, customer success stories and awards webinars, infographics and blog content.
- 515% increase in “likes” 526% increase in stories created
- 78% increase in referrals to Makino’s web properties
Project: After losing access to the main blog, Medium was used to host content and reach new audiences. After the main blog access was regained, Medium used continues to engage the new audience.
- 20,000 followers on Medium added
- 900% increase in visits to the Medium channel since launch
Project: To highlight the value of their solutions to NASCAR drivers, a video was launched on YouTube and content was promoted to the brand community and social channels. Additional thought leader content including white papers and articles complemented the video content.
- 10,000 views (70% higher than the average)
- 18,000 organic impressions
Winning is not always about ROI. At least not today. For a group of award winners, the performance of a number of them can seem underwhelming. However, the reality is, not all content marketing needs or should be about lead generation and transactions. Not everyone is ready to buy every day and to expect that out of every piece of content is shortsighted.
A few trends: There are far more multi-format content campaigns being run as well as an increase in technology and data to customize experiences. One of the main missing links overall is the lack of amplification outside of advertising. So many of these programs would see much greater relevant audiences if amplification was: 1. Designed during the content planning 2. Included more than the brand’s own networks.
All the same, these are examples with explanations for their purpose and virtually all of them have links to assets so you can see the content either in its native form or as a pdf. That information alone, can be useful to inspire ideas for your B2B content planning into the second half of 2016.