Every business does content marketing. But not all of them do it right. This also happens because sometimes we all get too carried away with what we know and tend to ignore certain details. We also sometimes fail to stay updated on the latest industry trends. All these have led to B2B marketers approaching content marketing the wrong way. Hence, I thought it makes sense to take a step back and look at some of the most common mistakes in B2B content marketing that might be hindering your growth.
7 B2B content marketing mistakes
When we talk about content marketing mistakes, it is difficult to limit them to 7. However, today, we will be looking at the 7 most common mistakes that B2B marketers make. Here are they:
- Focusing on demand capture alone
- Staying away from creating content for the marketing funnel
- Approaching marketing channels in isolation
- Quitting a little too fast or being inconsistent
- Spreading too thin
- Not measuring the right metrics
- Not refining your strategy based on the results
Let’s dive deep into each of these.
1. Focusing on demand capture alone (and not demand generation)
Did you know that only 2 to 3% of buyers are in the market to buy what you are offering? Yes, you heard it right. Out of the remaining 97%, 56% are not ready to buy and 40% are poised to begin. Despite this, most B2B marketers and marketing leaders focus too much on demand capture channels alone (which targets only the 3%). They are often forced to show some quick results, which encourages them to put all the eggs in the demand capture basket.
Examples of demand capture channels include paid ads, third-party lead generation campaigns, cold calling, etc. While you need to have the demand capture engine running, for your business to thrive in the long run, you need to have a demand generation layer that consistently creates demand for your solutions. This in turn requires you to create content that will educate, engage, and entertain the 97% that is not looking for a solution similar to yours today.
Here are a few examples of content types suitable for B2B demand generation:
- Podcasts (hosting your own as well as appearing on others).
- Thought leadership-oriented webinars and other online events.
- Talks and speaking sessions at conferences and events.
- Organic social posts (focused on educating and helping your prospects).
- Books and journals.
- Whitepapers, ebooks, templates, playbooks, etc. (except those salesy ones of course).
2. Staying away from creating content for the B2B marketing funnel
Modern B2B buying behavior has evolved a lot. It is no longer a linear journey. Rather, it is scattered, broken, and follows a non-linear path. So we need to think beyond the conventional B2B marketing funnel with 3 layers – top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel.
While this served as a convenient way of representing customer journeys, we need a new approach to illustrate the new buyer journey. And I believe the best way to do it is to divide the funnel into the demand generation and demand capture layers.
The multi-dimensional B2B marketing funnel
Learn more about the new multi-dimensional marketing funnel here: [Fixing] The Discontinuous B2B Marketing Funnel
The point here is that your content creation efforts have to align with the new funnel layers. This is in fact an extension of the previous point we discussed. Essentially, you acknowledge the relevance of a demand gen layer and make sure you create content for it too.
3. Approaching marketing channels in isolation
This is a mistake I see even some of the advanced B2B marketers make. While you need to put focused efforts into making a channel work, don’t ignore the fact that marketing channels are interrelated.
Let’s take Google ads for example. Many studies show that Google advertisements have a positive impact on organic traffic. This is because of benefits such as increased brand awareness, better brand recall, your ads taking up more space in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) compared to competitors, etc.
Similarly, let us take the example of email marketing. Recipients are more likely to open and click your emails if you have established trust using other channels like social media for example. Here are 8 more ways to integrate email marketing with other B2B marketing channels.
In short, instead of looking at each channel separately, try to draw a complete picture of your marketing activities by understanding the correlation between different channels.
4. Quitting content marketing a little too fast or being inconsistent
This doesn’t need an explanation. In marketing, consistency is key. Just like Rome is not built in a day, a good marketing engine that delivers consistent results takes months to build. So be patient with your content marketing efforts. Check out this video where I share some tips on how you can be patient with your marketing:
5. Spreading too thin
This is most relevant for early-stage and mid-sized companies. Especially when you are in the early years of building a marketing engine, you need to start small and scale gradually as you grow. Spreading too thin across too many channels and content types will be an inefficient utilization of your time and resources.
For instance, at Skalegrow, we currently focus on primarily 4 channels:
- LinkedIn organic marketing
- Email marketing
- Video marketing
As we slowly start to see traction from some of these channels, we plan to venture into Google ads and a few other channels. This is the ideal way to go about it, particularly if you are tight on budget.
Spreading too thin also comes with the following disadvantages:
- You will take more time to arrive at a set of 2 to 3 channels that are really working for your B2B business.
- Measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts will become more complex with too many data points to look at.
- Budget allocation across different channels and content types will become more challenging.
So make sure you start with only those content types that you think you can manage with the limited resources.
6. Not measuring the right metrics
Measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing activities is extremely critical. But in the initial few weeks, you should focus more on the top-of-the-funnel metrics than bottom-of-the-funnel ones. This is because marketing takes time to work. So for you to see an uptick in business results, it will take a few weeks, or sometimes months.
To learn in detail about content marketing analytics and the right metrics to measure the success of your content marketing activities, check out the below article:
7. Not refining your strategy based on the results
Creating content and analyzing its impact are not enough. You need to make sure that you take action based on the insights you derived. For example, if you see in Google Analytics that the highest source of traffic is organic, you need to double down on that channel and try to make the most out of it.
Similarly, if you see that a channel you have invested a lot of effort in hasn’t paid off, you need to revisit the strategy for the channel and work on how you can improve.
These sound very simple and straightforward. But not many do it right.
Content marketing is a tricky game. With so much noise out there, standing out is tough. Building an audience with your content is even tougher. So make sure you stay away from the 7 key mistakes we discussed in the article. It’s all about ensuring quality and optimizing every small bit that adds up to make your marketing engine a lead generation machine.
Skalegrow – a B2B marketing agency focused on your growth
With marketing getting tougher and tougher, every wrong foot you make might hamper your growth. What you need is the right guidance and a helping hand. This is where Skalegrow can make a sea of difference.
Skalegrow helps IT, tech, SaaS, and embedded systems companies leverage new-age marketing tactics to grow their business. Check out the below intro video to learn more about what Skalegrow brings to the table:
About the author
Naseef KPO is the Founder and CEO of Skalegrow. He comes with rich experience across multiple areas of B2B marketing including content marketing, demand generation, SEO, account-based marketing, marketing analytics, revenue attribution, marketing technology, etc. He writes thought-provoking and relevant articles on The Skalegrow Blog and his weekly LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing.
Prior to starting Skalegrow, Naseef led large marketing teams in multi-million dollar B2B organizations where he made significant contributions to the topline growth of the business. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts where he shared his thoughts on trending marketing topics such as the application of AI in marketing, startup marketing, ABM, and B2B content marketing, just to name a few. Being the founder of Skalegrow, he is currently focusing on helping its clients stay ahead of their competition by using innovative yet practical marketing tactics.
You can connect with Naseef KPO on LinkedIn.