B2B Digital Marketing : Why all B2B businesses Should Have an Owned Media Arm
Discover why an owned media arm is not just an option, but a strategic imperative for B2B businesses in the digital era. Explore real-life examples of how it builds brand authority, nurtures relationships, generates leads, and establishes thought leadership. Learn the challenges, financial considerations, and the roadmap to success in the landscape of B2B communication
In B2B business, success hinges not only on offering great products or services but also on establishing a robust and influential digital presence. To stand out and thrive in today's competitive business environment, B2B companies must go beyond the traditional roles they've played in the past. They must embrace the power of an owned media arm—a dedicated source of content creation and distribution firmly rooted within the business itself.
This article explores why owning and effectively using a media arm is not just an option, but a strategic move for B2B businesses. The digital era has transformed the way businesses operate, connect with their customers, and build brand authority. In this complex and dynamic landscape, having an owned media arm becomes a cornerstone for success.
The Transformation of Business Communication
In the pre-digital era, B2B businesses primarily relied on conventional communication channels such as trade shows, print advertisements, and direct sales efforts to connect with their audience. While these methods are still relevant today, they are no longer sufficient to meet the expectations of modern customers.
The digital transformation has completely reshaped how businesses communicate and engage with their audience. Information is now readily available at the click of a button, and businesses that fail to adapt to this new reality risk falling behind. As a result, owning a media arm has become a strategic necessity for B2B companies. It's not just about staying relevant; it's about actively participating in shaping the narrative of your industry.
The Power of Content in B2B
One of the fundamental pillars of an owned media arm is content. Content serves as the bridge between businesses and their customers, offering value, insights, and solutions. In the B2B realm, decision-makers are not just seeking products or services; they are looking for partners who understand their needs and can provide guidance.
Consider a scenario where a manufacturing company is exploring options for supply chain optimization. They're not merely interested in a sales pitch; they want valuable content that helps them understand the challenges and the strategies available. By owning a media arm that provides this type of content, a business positions itself as an industry authority, offering knowledge and expertise that goes beyond the traditional sales pitch.
Related Article: How to Create a Sales Content System to Generate Leads and Convert Them into Clients Across Channels
The Paradigm of Trust and Authority
In the world of B2B, trust is paramount. Businesses want to work with partners they can rely on and trust to provide solutions. An owned media arm is a powerful tool to build and maintain this trust. By consistently delivering high-quality, informative content, a business not only establishes its industry expertise but also fosters trust among its audience.
Think of the story of the multinational technology company, Intel. Intel's "iQ" platform is an exemplary owned media arm that focuses on providing insights into technology trends, innovation, and industry developments. By consistently offering valuable content, Intel has positioned itself as a trusted industry knowledge and innovation source. This trust ultimately translates into increased brand loyalty and customer engagement.
A Holistic Approach to B2B Business
In this digital age, businesses cannot afford to have a fragmented approach to their online presence. An owned media arm acts as the linchpin that connects all facets of a B2B business's digital presence. It brings together the company's website, social media channels, blog, podcasts, webinars, and more under a unified strategy.
This holistic approach ensures that the business speaks with one voice, offers consistent messaging, and effectively engages with its audience. It's not just about having a website; it's about having a dynamic and interconnected digital ecosystem that caters to the diverse needs of a modern B2B audience.
The Roadmap Ahead
In the following sections of this article, we will delve deeper into the multiple dimensions of why B2B businesses should have an owned media arm. We'll explore how it helps build brand authority, nurture relationships, generate leads, enhance SEO, diversify content strategies, establish thought leadership, and provide valuable financial returns. We'll also discuss the challenges, financial considerations, and the importance of staying current in the dynamic digital landscape.
Building Brand Authority for B2B Businesses
One compelling reason for B2B companies to have an owned media arm is to build and strengthen brand authority. Consider the tech giant IBM, which has its "THINK" platform, serving as an excellent example of brand authority in action.
On "THINK," IBM shares valuable insights, case studies, and thought leadership articles.
These resources don't just showcase IBM's expertise; they also address real-world problems and provide innovative solutions. Such content positions IBM as a trusted authority in the tech industry, not just a seller of products and services. This brand authority translates into trust, and trust can be a significant factor in a B2B buying decision.
Nurturing Relationships in B2B Marketing
An owned media arm goes beyond traditional marketing. It's a tool for fostering stronger, more personal relationships with your audience. There is for example Adobe's CMO.com, an exemplary platform for nurturing relationships.
Adobe curates thought-provoking content and associates with industry experts. This approach not only attracts professionals but also engages them in meaningful discussions.
This interaction creates a sense of community around Adobe's brand, strengthening the connection between the company and its audience. It's not just about selling products; it's about creating an environment where professionals can learn, share, and connect.
Lead Generation For B2B Businesses
Quality content attracts quality leads. Take a B2B marketing automation company, for instance. By creating comprehensive guides, case studies, and webinars on topics like "Effective B2B Lead Generation Strategies with Marketing Automation," they provide valuable resources for their audience. These resources are offered in exchange for contact information, allowing the company to capture leads.
Over time, they nurture these leads with relevant content, personalized communication, and targeted marketing efforts. This strategic approach results in increased conversions, turning leads into paying customers.
SEO Benefits of Creating Editorial Content
In the digital age, a strong online presence is crucial. HubSpot, a leader in inbound marketing, is an excellent example of how an owned media arm can significantly boost SEO. HubSpot's blogs, webinars, ebooks, videos, podcasts, and an academy with courses cater to diverse audiences and are carefully optimized for search engines.
The result? HubSpot's content ranks well in search engine results, attracting organic traffic from professionals seeking expertise in marketing and sales. This content-driven approach has been a key factor in HubSpot's growth and success.
Versatile Content Strategies
Different audiences prefer different types of content. With an owned media arm, you can diversify your content strategies to cater to a wide range of potential customers. For instance, while one segment of your audience might enjoy in-depth articles, another might prefer watching webinars or listening to podcasts.
Consider Salesforce, a global CRM leader. They offer a variety of content formats, including blogs, webinars, ebooks, videos, and podcasts. This versatile approach allows them to engage a broad spectrum of users, from business executives seeking strategic insights to sales professionals looking for practical tips.
Thought Leadership for B2B Businesses
An owned media arm is a powerful tool for establishing thought leadership within your industry. Microsoft's Tech Community is an excellent example. This platform is dedicated to fostering discussions, sharing insights, and connecting professionals in the tech world.
Microsoft not only provides valuable content but also encourages industry experts to participate and share their knowledge. By curating thought-provoking content and associating with thought leaders, Microsoft solidifies its position as a thought leader in the tech industry.
Attracting Top Talent To A Company
Having a media arm within your organization can be a compelling factor for attracting and retaining top talent. Businesses that own and operate media brands offer a unique opportunity for professionals to engage with a broader audience, shape narratives, and build a personal brand. Talented individuals are often drawn to such companies because they see them as platforms for creativity, innovation, and professional growth. These media brands provide a stage for employees to showcase their skills and expertise, often reaching a larger and more diverse audience than they might in a traditional corporate setting.
For example, a software development company that owns a popular tech blog or a financial institution with its online financial news platform can attract skilled writers, developers, and experts who want to contribute to these influential media outlets. The association with a respected media brand not only enhances an employee's personal brand but also offers a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Furthermore, being part of a business with a media brand allows employees to work on cutting-edge projects, interact with thought leaders, and be at the forefront of industry trends. This exposure is a significant draw for top talent seeking not only job security but also opportunities for professional development and industry recognition.
A prominent example of a business effectively leveraging its media brand to attract top talent is Red Bull. While Red Bull is renowned for its energy drinks, it has strategically expanded its brand to include an extensive media arm known as Red Bull Media House.
Red Bull Media House is not just a content marketing strategy; it's a multifaceted media company that produces and distributes a wide range of content, from extreme sports events to documentary films and music festivals. They own and operate multiple media platforms, including magazines, online video channels, and a record label.
This approach has not only positioned Red Bull as a beverage company but also as a global media powerhouse. It attracts top talent, not only from the beverage industry but also from various media and entertainment sectors. Professionals in fields such as journalism, film production, event management, and digital marketing are drawn to Red Bull for the opportunity to work on exciting, innovative projects that reach a global audience.
For instance, Red Bull's annual "Red Bull Stratos" project, which involved a high-altitude balloon jump from the edge of space, captured worldwide attention and showcased their ability to create unique and compelling content. Talented individuals who are passionate about adventure, sports, and cutting-edge media projects are naturally attracted to the company.
In essence, businesses with media brands have a unique edge in the talent market, as they can offer more than just a job; they provide a stage for employees to make a meaningful impact on a broader scale.
Financial Considerations of Building a Media Brand
While establishing an owned media arm requires an initial investment, the long-term benefits far outweigh the costs. Content marketing is often more cost-effective and sustainable compared to traditional advertising channels. The long-term impact, brand authority, and engagement it brings can outweigh the upfront costs.
To maintain a top-notch owned media arm, hiring skilled writers, editors, and content creators is vital. These professionals ensure the consistent production of high-quality content that resonates with your audience. IBM's team of writers and experts behind "THINK" is a prime example of how investing in talent can lead to a valuable owned media arm.
It's essential to measure the success of your owned media arm. Key performance indicators such as website traffic, engagement, lead conversion rates, and social shares can help you gauge the impact of your content marketing efforts. Tools like Google Analytics and social media analytics platforms can provide valuable insights into your content's performance.
Creating content is not without its challenges. Content creators often face issues related to time constraints, creative blocks, and the evolving nature of the digital landscape. However, these challenges can be overcome with proper planning and adaptation. Tools like editorial calendars, content management systems, and team collaboration software can help streamline the content creation process.
The digital landscape is dynamic, and trends change rapidly. Your owned media arm should be flexible and adaptive, staying up-to-date with industry trends, technological advancements, and shifts in audience behavior. Regularly conducting market research, tracking industry news, and staying in touch with your audience's evolving needs can help your owned media arm remain relevant and effective.
In conclusion, having an owned media arm is not an option; it's a necessity for B2B businesses. It serves as a powerful tool to build brand authority, nurture relationships, generate leads, boost SEO, and establish thought leadership. While challenges exist, the benefits, including cost-effectiveness and long-term sustainability, make it a strategy worth adopting.
How can I measure the success of my owned media arm?
Key performance indicators such as website traffic, engagement, and lead conversion rates are essential metrics to track success.
What types of content work best for B2B owned media arms?
The ideal content format varies but includes blogs, whitepapers, webinars, videos, and podcasts, depending on your target audience.
Is hiring professional content creators necessary for an owned media arm?
Yes, skilled content creators are essential for maintaining content quality and consistency.
How do I allocate a budget for my owned media arm?
Budget allocation should account for talent, tools, promotion, and analytics, among other aspects.
What are the most common obstacles in managing an owned media arm for a B2B business?
Challenges can include time constraints, creative blocks, and staying updated with industry trends.