AdAge reported this week on a new Forrester study in which the analyst firm reviewed 30 B2B Web sites across key industries, adjudicating the sites’ content according to 10 criteria.
Spoiler alert: This story doesn’t have a happy ending. Forrester’s report, descriptively and damningly titled, "B-to-B Content Fails the Customer Engagement Test," reveals that on a 30-point scale (with 20 being considered a passing mark), only four companies made the grade. The average score? A paltry 12.8. I warned you this wasn’t going to end well.
According to Laura Ramos, VP-principal analyst at Forrester, there are three key reasons most B2B marketers are coming up woefully short with their content. The trifecta of epic failure is that B2B marketers seemingly:
• Don’t provide enough valuable and useful information;
• Don't do a good enough job telling customer stories; and
• Don’t help salespeople have valuable conversations with buyers.
You’d think B2B marketers would be getting the message by now. So much has been said and written about the essentialness of content marketing in recent years, I hesitated in even writing this post. But I felt compelled for two reasons.
First, we’ve all got to keep getting better at this. Clearly, if you believe this research, a lot better. And secondly, I recently took a trip that I think brings the value of great content into stark focus.
This Thanksgiving, my family traveled down under for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation spanning both coasts of Australia. We flew to Perth first via Dubai as supremely delighted passengers of Emirates Air. Our return to the States from Sydney came on a U.S. domestic airline that shall remain nameless.
Upon boarding our first Emirates flight, a flight attendant quickly came to our row with something in hand. She extended a small box to my wife and me. “For your son,” she said sweetly. We handed the parcel to our jubilant 2-year old, who tore into it with typical zealous toddler abandon. It contained a stuffed fuzzy green monster, snacks, a blanket, and other goodies to entertain our little tyke.
Fast forward two weeks. As we took our seats for the Sydney-to-Los Angeles leg of our journey home, a flight attendant quickly came to our row. He, too, bore a delivery. He extended a small plastic package to us while stating, “For your son.” It was an infant life vest.
And I think that that pretty much sums up B2B’s content marketing problem. The content we create should be useful and meaningful gifts to our customers and prospects.
So as you look ahead to 2015 and your marketing content, ask yourself what you’re handing out when someone comes on board and first engages with your brand. Useful gift boxes, or just something to hold onto if the ship goes down?