Click2View is helping Microsoft craft powerful business stories that link products and partners in meaningful ways.
October 8, 2019
How powerful is B2B content? It’s all about trust.
Ask a B2B business owner about what makes the difference between them and their competitors, if they’ve been around for any length of time trust is always going to be a big factor. Lasting relationships with customers are based on trust. Trust in the product or service. Trust in delivery and support and trust in your people.
How does this work?
One of the reasons we believe content works so well for B2B marketing over traditional advertising is that it is focused on building trust with your customer base.
Traditional advertising is a mode that focuses on immediate wins. Built around campaigns, it buttresses the efforts of your sales team at key times. But B2B marketers know that their audience needs to see you as an expert not a vendor. You can do this by showing that you understand the needs and values of your audience by informing, educating, and even entertaining them with content that is relevant to their engagement with you.
We do this with Microsoft by telling the stories about how Microsoft’s products and services are being used in interesting and innovative ways. This speaks to Microsoft’s customers by providing use cases and inspiration for further innovation.
A business story is as important as the product.
For many in business one of the key challenges is differentiating yourself from your competitors. Think back to your last business strategy meeting and how you agonised over the words. You remember it right? Painful. Many in the room were probably thinking if only I could tell it my way, like I do when I’m speaking to my customers. That’s your business story, based on your positioning statement.
How do we do that as B2B marketers?
We spend a lot of time working on describing how our product or service is the best for our customers. As I said above, this is often done in a very formal way during strategy development. But where it really sticks is through repetition. Your sales team probably already does it every day in the stories, case studies, testimonials and use cases they run through with clients face to face. You need to bring these stories to life in your digital communications.
If you look at business it is an interplay between people, processes and ideas, sprinkled with capital, all directed at growth and profit. Stories are of the same currency: people, processes and ideas and should sit at the core of business. There are no shortage of examples of this but Apple founder Steve Jobs was a master at it.
Stories engage more than ads.
Put simply ads are a tool to promote and stories are a tool to inform, educate and entertain. Ads are like the notifications on your phone, annoying but sometimes necessary to keep you informed. Stories are often considered something more primal and core to the human experience.
Why not ads then?
My point is each have their place and ads and stories work really well when put together.
I know some people like being sold to but I’m pretty sure they’re in the minority. Most people like being told a story. Great salespeople don’t sell, they tell stories that leave you wanting to buy.
When we work with Microsoft we distribute the stories with ads that promote the stories, not the products or services the stories mention.
We’re not alone in this, large publishers, TV stations and movie studios have been using advertising to promote their stories for ever. It is a fundamental part of the process but rarely gets talked about in the B2B content world.
The last word: Let your partners express their unique business story.
For Click2View and clients like Microsoft, content is a vital way to reach our customers in new and interesting ways. Every story is a new chance to engage and make our audiences think about us and the potential benefits we might bring to them.
One of the best ways to do this is to tell stories that aren’t directly about you. If you focus on your partners and sharing information that you’re able to access and understand better than anyone else, you become the journalist and the publication that your customers will trust when it comes to buying from you.
Here are some of the stories we’ve done recently with Microsoft.