But many companies in the B2B space simply want to help other businesses succeed. When it comes to B2B content strategies, this can be a simple and highly effective selling point. Just as an appliance, vehicle, or even an insurance policy can make a customer’s life easier and more worry-free, B2B companies aspire to make the same difference. The trick is finding companies that can deliver on what they promise, and within this challenge lies a key to an effective content marketing strategy.
When business leaders want proof that another company can make their own more successful, they want evidence of how it’s done. In other words, they want to hear past success stories. They want to look at a case study and place their own company in those shoes. When it comes to building B2B content strategies, there are many ways to accomplish this.
The five B2B brands below have found great success by promoting customer success stories as a way of advancing their own brands—and their diverse strategies show there are many ways to build a brand story off of client successes.
Skype has been a long-time devotee to building a brand story through client success. As the Stanford Graduate School of Business notes, Skype has leaned on a marketing strategy that focuses on businesses and workers who use its service for “everyday moments.” A video series was then developed to demonstrate the power of Skype as a transformative tool, and the company then balanced these emotional examples of its service with a results-driven approach to representing its product on a functional level.
Even so, Skype’s internal leadership was very concerned and involved with making sure that brand storytelling was bolstered by other marketing strategies that presented a united, comprehensive front. Recently, Skype for Business launched a video broadcast series geared toward IT pros, hosting discussions around topics that matter to them, putting consumer—not product—first.
Salesforce provides a wide range of sales solutions to businesses across almost every major industry. So one step the company has taken is to build an online showcase of these diverse success stories, emphasizing their range across industries and Salesforce’s own commitment to customer success.
“From small start-ups to huge Fortune 500 companies, our customers have achieved innumerable wins using our innovative products and solutions. And at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, we love to share our customers’ victories,” explains Salesforce on its website.
Below that introduction, the company lists a page of business success stories, which users can filter by industry and channel. Each brand is accompanied by a short explanation of the channel strategy employed. Website visitors can click on each thumbnail to access a more detailed case study of a brand whose stated goals may be similar to a potential brand client.
Through this strategy, Salesforce can promote the versatility of its products and services through the successes of its B2B clients.
xMatters is a brand communications firm specializing in intelligent solutions, especially at the enterprise level. Its solutions address issues of IT management, scheduling, communication across departments, and other scalability challenges that can kill productivity in a large work environment.
Naturally, its success depends upon its clients’ ability to improve productivity and workplace efficiency. To publicize these success stories, xMatters hosted a user conference titled “Relevance Revolution,” at which clients gave presentations on how xMatters improved their company’s infrastructure, per Influitive.
But what xMatters did next was truly brilliant: It captured these brand stories at the event and used them to drive months of digital content, capped by 18 video-based case studies. Those videos, along with the other supplementary content, gave the company a huge foundation to build a brand narrative from individual client stories.
Lately, GE has placed a strong emphasis on developing its social media presence, particularly through visual mediums like Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube. While this makes perfect sense for its B2C line of appliances and products, the implications for its B2B business ventures is less apparent.
But a closer look reveals that social marketing has a critical role in the company’s B2B content strategy. As FreshTrax points out, the B2B side of the company benefits from social media in several ways. First, social media can increase the scope of awareness of what GE does, moving beyond its more common associations as a household appliance manufacturer and showcasing lesser-known B2B products and their successful applications.
Then, social media can build a presence among engineering and business talent, which the company is in constant competition to win over. By building a social presence, the company can attract better talent to its B2B operations.
The company can also transform its perception among shareholders and investors, improving its financial stability by highlighting B2B client services that even its own investors may not fully understand. By increasing interest and attention on its B2B side, the company can use that spotlight to push additional B2B content strategies.
As a crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter has positioned itself as a company that gets other companies started. These can range from new inventions and products to musicians and artists putting out their own products. A big part of Kickstarter’s marketing requires a focus on past “Kickstarter Creators” who used the platform to launch incredible success.
Recently, the company highlighted a past success story in Mary Lambert, a musician who used Kickstarter in 2010 to crowdfund her first album. At the time, Lambert had offered a big incentive to anyone who donated $1,000 dollars: She would bring them as her date to the Grammys.
None of her 37 backers took her up on it. In 2014, Lambert was both nominated for a Grammy and invited to perform on the awards show. Her story has been pushed heavily by the company to illustrate the possibilities awaiting creators who launch their own Kickstarter campaign.
Brands eager to replicate these successes face a great opportunity for transformation—but there’s still plenty of work to be done. As Skyword’s recent study on brand transformation notes, 58 percent of enterprise marketers say that customers are very effective or extremely effective at telling a brand’s story.
But brands don’t necessarily have the storytelling personnel in place to maximize this opportunity. Only 33 percent employ an editorial manager, for example. As brands work to build a narrative that integrates the consumer experience as well, a focus on storytelling—and storytellers—will be essential.
Marketers should identify channels through which customers can be found, and build content that reflects those interests. They should then find customer stories that are well-served by those channels, and that will inspire both an emotional spark and a logical connection.
Customers aren’t just the conversion point: Their experiences can also be a storytelling tool. As brands learn to wield these stories, they should also make them a part of a larger narrative.
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