Content marketing helps B2Bs make meaningful impressions on their audiences and stand out from the competition. It works in concert with SEO and earned media, boosting your credibility and playing an active role in the buyer journey.
So what does that have to do with your brand’s go-to-market strategy?
With a go-to-market strategy, organizations must develop a product that will drive demand and lead to sales.
Product development has traditionally followed a linear path—beginning with research to identify user needs, followed by building and validating a prototype, and finally, marketing the product through various channels like lead funnels and advertising. However, this model often leads to late-stage revelations about market demand and consumer interest.
Content-led product development flips this model on its head. It starts by researching keyword opportunities to gauge market interest, then uses content to collect sign-ups and validate demand before even building the product. Finally, beta testers are involved to validate the product’s effectiveness.
With a firm strategy in place, organizations leverage B2B content marketing to draw attention and generate leads. Content-led product development lets you connect with your audience early on in the process to deliver the solutions they actually want instead of wasting valuable time and resources to convince them later.
What is a Go-to-Market Strategy?
Research and target audiences are necessary to effectively bring a product to market. They determine the role of content planning in creating, distributing, and measuring success.
The research stage may identify a gap in the market or increased interest in a product, but failure to deliver the right solution will be disastrous. Without understanding and identifying the right audience, your product will flounder, and your brand will suffer as a result.
But with two approaches to product development, how can brands decide on the best method?
Let’s pretend the traditional and content-forward strategies represent two different cookie recipes. Both approaches begin by sourcing and laying out your ingredients. With the traditional model, you would dive into the baking process without reading through the instructions first. You might not run into any problems, but what if you’re on a time crunch and the recipe calls for room-temperature butter or freezing the dough overnight?
These instructions might not ruin your cookies, but they do impact the final product and you’re less likely to get the results you want. If the content-led approach is our second option, it would ask you to read through the instructions before starting. This gives you time to plan accordingly or choose a different recipe. It also helps you to avoid surprises and know exactly what you’re getting into before you even begin.
The same can be said of product development. The traditional approach assumes it knows what the consumer needs and builds according to those expectations without securing interest and verifying demand. On the other hand, the content-led strategy uses intel collected during the research stage to inform its content and assess interest before committing to the costly process of creating a product.
In the end, leading with content will deliver better results.
Related Reading: Digital Marketing Strategies for B2Bs
Advantages of Content-Led Strategy
Opting for a content-led strategy provides early validation of market demand, reducing the risk of late-stage setbacks and failures. But it also serves as an organic lead funnel, enabling a more cost-effective customer acquisition strategy. From the onset of product development, this approach fosters a deeper connection with customers, paving the way for sustained engagement.
But content can only perform well when it is deployed in right avenues.
Examples of Content Marketing
Articles, blogs, social media posts, emails, videos, white papers, thought leadership, and ebooks.
Content marketing is a way for your brand to connect with consumers to share product information. Whether short- or long-form content, creating high-quality, valuable content is essential to educate, engage, and nurture potential customers. This is your opportunity to identify their pain points, provide a relevant solution, and drive sales.
With various content types to choose from, B2B brands must identify the right mediums to share information. Wyzowl conducted a report to find buyer preferences when it comes to content marketing and found the following results:
- 69% of buyers prefer to learn about a product or service from a short video
- 18% prefer text-based formats like blog posts, websites, or articles
- 4% of buyers prefer infographics
- 3% prefer to download an ebook or report
- 3% prefer webinars
- 2% prefer to receive a sales call or demo
Part of the research phase of your GTM strategy will uncover consumer preferences surrounding content. Use this information to guide your content strategy.
Do you need help outlining a blog post? Use AI.
Are you looking for a specific image or infographic? Use AI.
Would you like to automate social media posts? Use AI.
Curious about your lead generation? You guessed it—use AI.
It sounds too good to be true, but AI can be added to almost any element of your marketing strategy. AI-powered tools reduce redundancy, minimize time spent on busy work, and collect valuable data and analytics to help with personalization, segmentation, and reporting. With AI, you can get a clearer, more accurate picture of market demand to drive your GTM strategy.
Beyond providing technical insights to power your marketing efforts, AI can also be used in content creation to ideate, inspire, refine, and refresh. Generative AI like ChatGPT can streamline your content creation process and work as a starting point for a new campaign or help you workshop tricky copy. Why not kick off a brainstorming session by prompting ChatGPT questions about potential blog posts, white paper outlines, video storyboards, and newsletter topics? Just be sure to leverage the strengths of your team to humanize and develop the responses to fit your brand.
Related Reading: The Pros and Cons of AI in Marketing
Lean into the Creator Economy
Building on the popularity of influencer marketing, the creator economy is booming. With an emphasis on creativity and authenticity, creators differ from influencers in that their content prioritizes a seamless, organic integration with the products they promote—and brands are backing creators to the tune of $250 billion.
Understanding how to leverage creators means finding the right people to promote your product in ways that naturally align with their digital presence. Doing so will not only tap into their audience to attract new customers, it will provide additional credibility for your brand.
Tap into Your Networks
For all the challenges it presents, social media is a powerful tool in any B2B brand’s marketing stack. This is because social media gives you the unique opportunity to build brand awareness, encourage engagement, build and manage customer relationships, and establish trust. Social media lets you share your brand’s messaging and directly engage with an audience. Whether you focus on paid ads, organic posts, or a combination, social media is a cost-effective resource accessible on almost any budget.
But social media isn’t the only network worth investing in. Build media relationships to promote thought leadership and present your product to additional audiences. With the right press coverage, you can reach various industries and markets. Plus, landing coverage boosts your SEO ranking and builds your brand reputation.
The bottom line? Invest in relationships.
Lead the Customer Journey
The path customers take to discover, research, and make a purchase is called the buyer journey. While it isn’t linear—it’s actually quite messy—it reveals patterns that can help your brand connect with consumers and close deals.
Upon considering a purchase, consumers enter an “infinite loop,” alternating between exploring and evaluating options. Their decision is influenced by search engine results, social media, dark social, and a whole host of other content marketing channels.
Like a GTM strategy, the journey always begins in search of a solution. This need places consumers on the path of discovery, where brand awareness sparks interest and leads to preliminary research conducted online and by word of mouth. Once consumers have a better understanding of the potential solutions available to them, they begin to dive more deeply, searching with intention to narrow their options and make a selection.
Exploring. Evaluating. Exploring. Evaluating. It’s a cycle.
Pricing, features, and reviews factor into the final decision. Brands that share information frequently, have a prominent digital presence, and make their products and content easily accessible will stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Content marketing is pivotal in modern product development and is central to a robust go-to-market strategy. By reversing the traditional model and placing marketing—particularly content marketing—at the forefront, businesses can validate market demand early on, build more engaged communities, and realize more successful product launches.
Need help kick-starting your go-to-market strategy? Reach out.