Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Is your brand ready?
- Content consumption for many B2SMB brands will decline.
- Brands that don’t generate demand from the 97% of their market that is not ready to buy today will see increased sales and marketing costs.
- Brands that haven’t integrated their sales and marketing strategies and tactics will see both higher costs and a slowdown in revenue.
Let’s break these predictions down.
Content consumption declines
Content consumption for many brands will decline for two reasons. First, SMBs are bombarded by content, and most of it isn’t that good. While SMBs are looking for ideas and solutions to their business challenges more than ever, many brands are still just trying to sell stuff, or are producing content that doesn’t change their audience’s point of view.
Also, brands aren’t putting enough effort into content promotion and distribution. Companies expect busy SMBs to find their content by themselves, when they should be using social media and other tools to drive potential customers to their websites and other platforms.
Myopic focus on today’s buyer leads to increased sales and marketing costs
Too many brands remain solely focused on prospects who are looking for their product or service today. They’re obsessed with paid search, which is largely applicable to potential customers who already have some idea of what they want—those who are well along their buying journeys. Based upon what we have been seeing over the past 18 or so months, there are two major limitations to putting too many eggs in the paid search basket. First, it is highly competitive, so it is getting more expensive. Second, it focuses on the important but tiny segment of your target market (approximately 3%) that wants to buy now.
You need to attract those SMBs who need your product, but don’t know it yet. You do this by producing content for earlier in the buying journey to generate and accelerate demand.
Lack of sales and marketing integration impacts revenue
Brands need to tightly align their sales and marketing strategies. First, marketing needs to go beyond data and tap into sales to make sure they’re clearly hearing the voice of the customer. This will enable them to start a conversation with potential customers with content that’s customer-centric and solution-based.
If they do this right, sales has an opportunity to continue the conversation with interested prospects. However, if sales is unaware of what content has been consumed and approaches prospects with messages that are inconsistent, or that don’t take account of prior engagement, they will create subconscious fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) in prospects’ minds. FUD lengthens sales and discourages sales.
The path to a great 2020 (and beyond)
The brands that understand what it takes to attract and retain the interest of busy SMBs in a cluttered and constantly changing environment will reap the rewards in the coming year. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your brand stands out from the crowd.
- Great content is table stakes today. Use the best sources—real small business subject matter experts (SMEs)—people who work with SMBs every day.
- Shift resources from offer-based advertising to promoting and distributing your content. Use email and paid social to build an audience for your content on platforms you control. This will significantly widen the audience that will respond to your ads.
- The content experience is the environment in which your content lives, how it’s structured, and how it compels your audience to engage with your company. As attention spans decrease, it’s essential that you focus on the content experience. Always ensure that your content is well presented and provides a path to deeper engagement.
- Offer content for the 97% or so of your target market that is not ready to buy today. Create content that helps generate demand by focusing on the business challenges and opportunities that SMBs face.
- Ensure that sales and marketing are speaking the same language. Assuming that your marketing department is producing great content that your audience craves, it’s in everyone’s interest to make sure your salespeople are leveraging it to continue the conversation with your customers.
These predictions won’t apply to every brand. However, many B2SMB companies are behind the curve and already experiencing some or all of these pitfalls. If you’re one of them, follow the advice above to make sure your content breaks through the clutter, addresses potential SMB customers wherever they are in their buying journeys, and enables your brand to have a consistent conversation with the customer from beginning to end.
Looking for time-tested B2SMB expertise to drive strong results? Let’s chat.