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In recent years, your buyers have changed their buying behaviour and their attitude towards your sales process. The balance of power between buyers and sellers has shifted. The Internet, and the advent of social media in particular, means buyers can seek out and digest many sources of information at their own pace. They don’t trust traditional media or brochureware; and there is now a greater degree of skepticism and resistance to product advertising. As a result, captive audiences are a thing of the past.

You can no longer assume that your industry”s leading trade magazine will be your buyers’ primary source of information. And in a global resource-hungry market, you can”t just rely on calls by your sales reps either. With lots more information available at the touch of a button, buyers now decide how and when they want to engage with you. They choose to learn about your product or service on their own terms. This means you need to change the way you think about how you reach your customers.

So what is content marketing and why should you care? Content marketing represents the realization is that in today’s marketplace your buyers are now in control and this means you have to change the way you get your messages to them. Let”s look at what this all means for B2B vendors:

1. You can’t exclusively use traditional marketing channels anymore to reach your customers, because B2B buyers are often looking elsewhere. This means you’ve got to give your buyers content on their terms.

2. The buying process is more complex because buyers are better informed and they”re searching for independent information on their own terms. So you need to make sure your buyers can find you and then get included in your buyers” “conversations”.

3. Buyers are now in control and you need to “pull” rather than “push” market your offering. Content Marketing will help to pull your buyer further into your organisation as they progress through the buying process.

4. Buyers want to hear about solutions to their needs. Nobody cares how great you are or functionally rich your product is, only about how you solve their problems. This means your content can”t be all about you. Instead it has to speak to your buyers” needs in a voice and language they understand. This is a paradigm shift that demands a different style and range of content than traditionally produced by B2B firms.

5. Buyers are looking for content that establishes the credibility of your organization and validates your ability to solve their meet their needs and solve their issues. Buyers in a complex B2B sale now expect a higher level of accountability from your organization then ever before.

A content marketing strategy will help you to attract and hold the attention of your buyers during their buying process by delivering appropriate content to them in the right places at the right times. The following diagram (which we”ll look at in more detail in another blog) sets out the content marketing process.