B2B content marketing often slips under the radar or is seen as the poor relation when compared to what consumer brands such as Red Bull and Coca-Cola are doing.
Yet they work in different ways. If B2C is about mass consumer interest – more of a scattergun approach – B2B needs to be more targeted. A good example of this comes from Xerox and its Chief Optimist magazine, which is aimed at senior executives.
A quick look at the site reveals it is loaded with articles on lifehacks, web apps and subjects such as national government and healthcare. It is also available in print and as an iOS app.
Perhaps most importantly, there is barely any Xerox branding on it. Or, put another way, just about enough to be noticeable.
Evading the gatekeepers
So why has Xerox gone to all this trouble? Rewind to 2012. Despite being a giant IT OEM, the company knew it was operating in a crowded space.
Responsibility for awarding big supply contracts would usually lie with the top executives of any potential client. But it was becoming increasingly difficult for Xerox to gain access to them thanks to efficient gatekeeping. Traditional marketing – like direct mail – was going straight into recycling.
So rather than focus on product, Xerox decided to produce something busy executives would want to read. As a result, content was tailored to reflect the audience mindset and concentrated on exploring solutions to a wide range of business problems.
In the 12 months following its launch, Xerox said the campaign had generated over 1,500 more appointments. This in turn brought in $1 billion in additional sales.
Moreover, Xerox had moved ahead of the curve and generated its own media property. More recent examples include L’Oréal.
There are three lessons to be learnt from this. Firstly, don’t be afraid to undersell or play down your own brand. Second, produce content that appeals to the reader. Lastly, make sure it is based on quality.