Fundamentally by its very nature, there will always be a single truly best answer to any question.
So how is best-answer B2B marketing content any different in 2022 than it’s previously been?
Providing that best solution — or to use the term our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden has been using since at least 2011 — being the best answer, may indeed be a singular solution, however the effort that B2B marketers need to make in 2022 to achieve it has changed in several important ways.
Let’s take a look at the key ways that being the best answer in B2B marketing has changed in 2022, and what steps marketers can take to earn best-answer status when it comes to the questions buyers and customers are seeking.
1 — Expanded Digital Touch-Points & Channels
Best-answer B2B content doesn’t only involve providing the best information needed to solve customer questions, because it can’t truly be the best answer if the customer never finds it.
Today’s B2B landscape is undoubtedly more a digital one than ever before, with few fewer in-person and live two-way conversations. These have been significantly replaced by greater time spent on information gathering by buyers and customers, as well as an expanding number of touch-points in more digital channels than ever before.
Information gathering transactions that were formerly face-to-face have increasingly moved to all-digital destinations, with just a few including:
- Brand websites
- Search engines
- Mainstream social media platforms
- Specialty social platforms
- Informal third-party review sites
For today’s B2B content to win out and become a genuine best-answer solution, it can’t exist only in one online location, however, and certainly not just in the echo-chamber of a brand’s own website.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that all best-answer content needs to have at least one element on every single digital platform and channel, however. Although that may someday be the case, today’s best-answer content is presented on the majority of digital channels where B2B customers are seeking specific answers.
Best-answer content also consists of more touch-points along the way, no matter what the digital destinations may be.
Winning content gets that way not only because it provides the best information in the places where people are looking, but also because top content is now often nurtured at each step of the buyer journey. A digital buying journey that includes even one helpful online interaction along the way will pay dividends when decisions are eventually made, and competitors haven’t offered a single nurturing touch-point.“A digital buying journey that includes even one helpful online interaction along the way will pay dividends when decisions are eventually made, and competitors haven't offered a single nurturing touch-point.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet
2 — More Subject Matter Expert Contributions & Collaboration
Best-answer B2B content in 2022 incorporates rich, well-rounded insight from subject matter experts and collaboration with relevant influencers.
Today’s best-answer content is also more robust than ever, due to increased competition and a general rise in the level of sophistication being offered in each digital channel.
Being the best answer in 2022 brings in the voices and stories of B2B industry experts to help vouch for the quality and authoritativeness of particular content.
One particularly powerful advantage that B2B influence holds over B2C’s traditional paid influencer approach is that influence in B2B is more likely to involve passionate industry experts sharing genuine insight about a particular solution that is done in earnest, rather than in exchange for monetary compensation.“Influence in B2B is more likely to involve passionate industry experts sharing genuine insight about a particular solution that is done in earnest, rather than in exchange for monetary compensation.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet
3 — Elevated Trustworthiness & Authenticity
It’s no secret that trust in marketing has fallen over time, as greater portions of the digital B2B buying journey are conducted solely online today.
Thankfully, this distrust and general skepticism in marketing can sometimes make it easier for truly best-answer B2B content to stand out in the often stormy and unfortunately vast seas of marketing mediocrity.
Authenticity and trustworthiness are hallmarks of best-answer B2B content, and savvy marketers do all they can to expertly bake in as much of both as possible in their efforts.
2022’s best-answer B2B content takes this into account, and uses solutions that go well beyond what traditional paid-only methods can expect to achieve.
For a look at how top marketers are building trust using authentic voices, our own senior content marketing manager Nick Nelson recently looked at what B2B marketers can learn from the late football broadcaster John Madden, in “Broadcast Your B2B Marketing with a Brand Voice that Rings True.”“If you want to be a trustworthy company, it can’t be just a marketing philosophy. It has to be a business philosophy.” — Margaret Magnarelli @mmagnarelli of @MorganStanley Click To Tweet
4 — Best-Answer Is Experiential
Best-answer B2B content in 2022 doesn’t just provide information about the right customer solution in the right place at the right time. It now also even needs to go beyond including authentic and trusted expert voices.
To be the best answer in B2B in 2022, winning content must also be presented skillfully in the right formats, so that it is:
- Easy to digest, comprehend, and compare
- Pleasing to interact with
- Simple to share
Just as best-answer B2B content needs to be available on the digital platforms where customers are researching and seeking answers, it also needs to be offered in the formats that customers will take the time to interact with.
Part of the beauty of the digital age we live in is the relative ease with which great information and answers can be presented in multiple formats, so that while old-school Steve can still download his white paper or case study on Slideshare or LinkedIn, Gen Z Caleb can also interact with the same information as part of an interactive Ceros or Optimizely experience.“It’s critical for B2B marketers to think beyond traditional static content and blog posts as ways to make their brand voices heard.” – Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN Click To Tweet
Fly High & Elevate With Best Answer B2B Content
By expanding digital channel touch-points, collaborating with experts, elevating with authenticity, and presenting in experiential formats, being the best-answer for B2B content in 2022 is an achievable outcome for those marketers willing to go the extra distance needed to win in today’s competitive landscape.
We hope that our look at best-answer B2B content, what has changed, and what has remained true, will help inspire and energize your own efforts in 2022 and far into the future.
Building best-answer B2B marketing that elevates, gives voice to talent, and humanizes with authenticity takes considerable time and effort, which is why an increasing number of firms are choosing to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us to learn how we can help, as we’ve done for over 20 years for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.