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Content Marketing Key to B2B Sales Funnel

Lead generation, nurture both benefit from content marketing

October 18, 2011 | Advertising & Marketing | B2B

With the average cost per lead increasing and marketers competing for buyer attention, traditional lead generation tactics are no longer enough. Business-to-business (B2B) companies are looking to content marketing to boost their lead generation efforts.

“Informative, nonpromotional content in the form of webinars, white papers, videos, blogs and peer recommendations on social networks and forums can attract prospects,” said eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher, author of the new report, “B2B Lead Generation: Using Content to Acquire Customers.” “It can also be used to build and maintain ongoing relationships with potential buyers—a must for remaining top of mind throughout the purchase process.”

Customer acquisition—including both lead generation and lead nurture—are top priorities for B2Bs, according to several surveys, including a June 2011 poll from MarketingSherpa.

Top 3 Priorities for the Marketing Funnel According to US B2B Marketers, June 2011 (% of respondents)

Content, especially different types like white papers, fact sheets, case studies, webinars and email newsletter campaigns, can help serve these purposes throughout the B2B sales funnel—and according to data from Focus Research, the usefulness of these types of content is different for B2Bs than for business-to-consumer oriented companies.

Content Types that Are Most Valuable for Directly Supporting Marketing Objectives According to B2B and B2C Marketing Professionals Worldwide, May 2011 (% of respondents)

“Online content is the fuel for the new B2B marketing lead generation engine,” said Fisher. “In creating informational, educational and actionable content in the form of white papers and webinars, marketers can effectively lure early-stage buyers into their sales pipeline.

“By mixing this content with comparative, company-specific and interactive content—and regularly sharing it via email or e-newsletters—marketers can build relationships designed to nurture prospects throughout the sales funnel,” she continued.

The full report, “B2B Lead Generation: Using Content to Acquire Customers” also answers these key questions:

  • Why is content marketing essential for B2B lead generation?
  • How are B2B buyers using content to make their purchase decisions?
  • What type of content is best for generating and nurturing B2B leads?
  • How can marketers leverage various online marketing content formats?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.

Check out today’s other article, “Top Marketers Look to Invest Big in Social Media.”



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