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Content marketing a competitive B2B advantage

Updated: January 8, 2012 10:55PM

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing is growing as more and more entrepreneurs enter the already crowded global marketplace.

According to the US Census Bureau, the majority of small business owners are non-employed (meaning no employees) and many are selling services from consulting, coaching, design, financial, IT, etc. to other small businesses. The question for these individuals as well as others engaged in business to consumer (B2C) or business to retail (B2R) is how to effectively market and ultimately increase sales.

A report, “2012 B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks Budgets and Trends,” by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs revealed some interesting facts that small business owners, sales management teams as well as sole proprietors may wish to consider as they plan their marketing efforts in 2012.

First, to ensure clarity content marketing is an aspect of education based marketing where the content is distributed through various channels with the goals to attract, educate and retain potential customers. Article marketing or article distribution, blogs, white papers and even book reviews over at Amazon all are specific content marketing tactics. Sales Coaching Tip: Read a business book and post your thoughts over at Amazon provided you have made at least one purchase from Amazon. This is a great way to get started.

What is interesting to note is nine out of 10 B2B marketers (think small business owners) use this marketing strategy and tactic. Personally, I have been consistently employing this activity since April 2005. Writing this weekly online business column reflects this marketing action.

Furthermore, this report broke down the various activities into six most popular actions with the top three being:

• Article posting – 79 percent

• Social media (excluding blogs) – 74 percent

• Blogs – 65 percent

The purpose of these marketing actions is to secure multiple business goals including:

• Brand awareness – 69 percent

• Customer acquisition – 68 percent

• Lead generation – 67 percent

Web traffic has become the primary metric to measure all of this activity. For me, up to 70 percent of all traffic to my website currently enters through my blog. During the course of the last seven years, the monthly unique visitors to my website have grown from under 200 to now more than 8,000.

The trend for 2012 by these B2B marketers is to dedicate a quarter of their total marketing budgets to content marketing activities. This year, 60 percent of those reporting plan on increasing their expenditures compared in only 51 percent in 2011.

So what does this mean for you if you are a small business owner? Simply speaking, if your business is not engaged in content marketing, maybe now is the time to rethink your marketing.

For example, YouTube is the second greatest search engine. People are searching for content be it how to fix something (and not just something tangible such as a glitch in a software program) or to learn about something. Also given that the majority of people under 55 have been conditioned to video through education and their own experiences to ignore this content marketing vehicle may spell disaster for your business.

Content marketing can provide you with a competitive advantage because you can showcase your expertise and more importantly value without selling. The sooner this is embraced, the sooner you can begin to realize results.

And there is one other unstated advantage that I have secured during the last almost seven years. The more you write, the better you think and the better think the more you write.

Now if you believe you cannot write, then that belief is keeping you from new behaviors and releasing your untapped potential. There are plenty of individuals who can support you as you become a better writer. If you have some additional marketing funds, you can always hire a ghost writer.

To think that social media, You Tube or blogs are fads and can be ignored may prove to be a limiting business building belief. The times are changing as to how you attract customers and retain them. Now not later is the time to move forward and to look at the same landscape with different eyes.

P.S. Shout Out to Luke Oil in Hobart and Family Express in Valparaiso that employ hundreds of local citizens and continue to expand business.

To download the report, please visit this site:

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