If you’re in B2B marketing, it’s likely you have seen the studies showing that up to 67% of the buyer’s journey is mostly an all-digital experience. Sales doesn’t get involved until more than halfway through the buying cycle. Research firm Gartner has also found that 27% of B2B buyers’ time is spent reading content they research independently online.
But just because these customers spend a lot of time seeking content online doesn’t mean your company can’t be involved in some of these earlier stages of the buyer’s journey, or even the later stages, in a meaningful way.
Marketers today have a range of sales enablement tools available to help their brand “sell” when they can’t physically meet with customers and prospects. We all know trade advertising is a great way to build recognition for a brand and communicate its message. Publicity can help get the word out about what’s new, too. But these tools can’t communicate a company’s total value proposition, depth of value-added resources, key differentiators, or why other customers buy from us.
The best ways of telling your story are usually delivered by sales people. In person with face-to-face meetings, either at trade shows, at a sales presentation or perhaps at a plant visit. All of these traditional ways to state one’s case have become rather difficult to pursue in today’s current environment.
Complicating things further, there are usually a number of people in the decision-making process that Sales needs to reach and influence. According to other research published by Gartner, the number of people involved in the purchase decision process is 6.8. Consequently, these same Sales people have to reach well beyond procurement with their company’s message. This can include influencers from the production floor all the way up to the C-suite, which presents a formidable challenge.
The Drucker Group has developed a cost-effective solution for many B2B marketers that has proven successful in meeting this challenge head on: the branded publication.
Featuring customer case studies, management perspectives, technical articles, new technologies and product overviews, these publications are much more than newsletters. In fact, they can tell a company’s story very compellingly. They can be delivered as print pieces or digital flipbooks, or both. Hard-copy versions have a legitimacy and credibility about them. They’re circulated in offices and can be put down and returned to at any time to continue reading at the reader’s convenience.
We spend so much time online and on mobile devices that a glossy, printed publication can be quite valuable. Reading a printed publication isn’t limited to any time of day, and simplifies saving favorite articles, sharing them, and even discussing them online via social media. They’re portable and convenient, globally available, interactive, cost-efficient, easy to update, and provide engagement analytics. For many Drucker Group clients, branded publications are in fact becoming de-facto ‘quarterly Sales visits.’
And they’re not alone. Online streaming giant Netflix self publishes: http://gdusa.com/news/fresh/pentagram-brings-netflix-experience-to-print
So does Sherwin Williams. STIR® is their self-published resource that explores the connection between color and cutting-edge architectural design to help the building trades bring a fresh perspective to their work.
John Deere’s The Furrow magazine, has presented helpful content to the farming industry for 120 years.
For Drucker Group client INX International, their Color Perfection magazine has become the go-to resource for the consumer packaging world’s brand owners, graphic designers, and metal decorators. Each issue is a deep dive that examines the connection between color, design, and metal can decorating, and helps the world’s brand owners streamline the design-to-market process, which results in accurate, reproducible, and consistent color in packaging plants around the world. See an example here.
Being first in your market with a brand publication can give you a unique edge to your strategic marketing efforts. It will help you stay top of mind with customers and prospects, reach multiple decision-makers and influencers with your unique story, and become a whole new thought leadership vehicle for your brand.