In baseball, it’s technically true that games in April matter just as much as those in September. Each win and loss ultimately carries the same weight, no matter when it’s recorded.
Still: every player, coach, and person involved will tell you they feel the added pressure of late-season games in a close pennant race. More than ever, decisions are scrutinized and moments are magnified. It’s where the stars take center stage.
The approaching end of the year invokes similar vibes for marketing leaders – especially here in the year 2022, as we gaze ahead into an uncertain future, burdened with the likelihood of a looming recession.
Now is the time to play your best cards, make the most out of the remaining budget, and launch into 2023 with momentum. Much like a baseball team scrambling for a postseason berth, the pressure is on and focus needs to be dialed up.
Here are three pointers to help you make your push and finish strong.
Home Stretch: 3 Key Content Marketing Priorities
It’s no secret: the bar is raised for B2B content experiences. Marketers must elevate their craft in kind to meet it. Here’s where the industry is setting its sights to keep brands growing and demand flowing.
1 — Take me out with the crowd: Tune into your audience
In a recent editorial at CMSwire, Integrate’s director of content strategy Marcia Trask went to bat for a buyer-driven approach, challenging B2B marketers to better adapt to shifting dynamics.
“Despite all the significant changes to buyer behavior, the B2B marketing approach has remained essentially the same,” Trask wrote. “In the current purchasing climate, this is a big miss. Marketers need to pay attention to buyers, empathize with their problems or opportunities, speak their language, understand the underlying business or technical needs to be addressed and articulate how their solutions provide value to the purchasing organizations.”
She urges B2B marketers to take a step back and connect the dots by asking themselves the right questions:
- To whom do you sell?
- Why do they buy?
- Who makes the decision?
- How do you reach them?
- What do you deliver?
Answer them as honestly, objectively, and thoroughly as you can. Simply working through these thought processes can help you get realigned with your audience and its current state.
When addressing 3 Trends That Will Shape B2B CMOs’ 2023 Planning at Forbes earlier this month, Forrester remarked that “CMOs must insist on rigor to connect marketing efforts designed to drive reputation, create demand, drive post-sale engagement, and provide a personalized experience.”
2 — Moneyball: Harness data to gain an edge
Once the final stretch of the season comes around, data becomes all the more powerful to a baseball team. By now, managers have almost a full season’s worth of information to guide their decisions. And they need it, because the stakes are high.
Marketing leaders can’t afford to lean solely on guesswork or intuition when planning for what’s ahead. The ability to activate data in the right ways is a prime differentiator for B2B companies.
New research from Anteriad found that marketers with data insights are 3X more likely to have increased revenue. And yet … Gartner now predicts that 60% of CMOs will cut marketing analytics teams by 2023. It’s a conundrum, because the coming deprecation of third-party cookies will call for greater expertise and data innovation than ever.
As one example of a more evolved and data-driven approach to content, look no further than Brightcove* CMO Jennifer Griffin Smith’s presentation at INBOUND 2022, as recapped by our Lee Odden.
She advocated for a more “media-company-centric measurement model” that derives greater insight and value from video content engagement. Examples of core metrics under such a model include Net View Share, Attention Index, and First Watched.
That’s first-party data management built for the new age.“Marketing leaders can’t afford to lean solely on guesswork or intuition when planning for what’s ahead. The ability to activate data in the right ways is a prime differentiator for B2B companies.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN Click To Tweet
3 — Rally time: Don’t let up with your strategic content efforts
The whispers of an economic downturn will likely only grow louder in the coming months, if forecasts and prognostications prove true. Last month, Metadata.io’s VP of Marketing Jason Widup offered advice to his peers on how to show your B2B marketing value in a down economy.
His first tip? “Don’t freak out.”
One thing the B2B marketing industry has learned, pretty convincingly, from past recessions is that the negative impact of pulling back spend (or “going dark”) becomes greater, as does the positive impact of sustaining. This owes to a simple competitive reality: when others are reactively inclined to protect budget – or “freak out” – there’s more opportunity to gain ground.
As Widup explained, “The companies who don’t make knee-jerk reactions are positioned well to catapult out of tough times because everyone around them is pulling back, which creates more space in the areas you’re advertising in to get in front of the right people at a lower cost. Chances are not only will your marketing performance get better, but you’ll also come out leaner.”
Consistency has always been key to effective content, and marketers should resist any pressure to pull back with that in mind. These can be pivotal moments for attracting eyeballs, gaining mindshare, and growing loyalty.
Marketers will be playing under the big lights here in the final stretch of 2023. If you tune in to your audience and its changing needs, embrace a culture of data, and keep showing up in the right places with your content, then you’ll be poised to meet the challenge and wow the crowd.
Learn more about TopRank Marketing’s content marketing services and how we can help your brand score big.
*Brightcove is a TopRank Marketing Client