Among all the types of marketing, content marketing has exploded in popularity, and for good reason. Content development has become the go-to method for a marketing agency to ensure long-term, sustained growth for their clients’ online presence. But something is missing in content marketing for the B2B space: knowing your audience. But before we jump into the urgency for proper targeting and service connections for your business, let’s clarify content.

In a Sea of Marketing, Clarity

When I first came on at Olive Group, I was overwhelmed by all the types of marketing we executed. With over two dozen executions at our disposal, knowing how to write a marketing plan for a client was daunting. How do we know which combination of services best suits each client? And with a wide range of contractors affiliated with our firm, how do we determine who gets assigned where?

And if you’ve read any ofmy other articles here, you know how we found clarification in the vastness of marketing. We love strategy. And just as we had hoped, marketing strategy has been huge for our clients, saving them money and time by avoiding unnecessary marketing and

graphic design ploys. Of course, we still utilize all kinds of marketing and graphic design in our marketing and business strategies, but we have changed the process of determining what’s best next for each client.

Hitting the Target

I remember the first time that Jake, our president, and I rolled out a full strategy campaign to a new client. We unpacked a long, probably over-complicated series of potential roll-outs. We were working to find their purpose,

 current wins and losses, economic success factors, short-term goals, long-term goals, and yes, determining their target audience. And we had given ourselves deadlines to determine marketing and business strategies, website development and design, new graphics, and photography. It was an excellent plan.

And just a week after we left that full-length strategy workshop, filled with work for all of us to do, I got a congratulatory text message from that same client. They had taken our rough data on a target audience that we hadn’t fully researched yet, and slid it into a Facebook post that they boosted. And it worked! They went from scrambling to pay bills, to booked for the next six months out.

As much as that excited me, we hadn’t even verified our target audience assumptions. Furthermore, we hadn’t given them a clear message to use or deeper search indicators to go for. They didn’t have the right photos yet. In fact, all they had was everything they’d always done… and they had a new target. And with that one bit of information, they wrote a post focused on the target, and they hit it. Amazing. And after a couple conversations to follow-up their success online, this B2C company has changed their logo, website, and invoices to reflect a message that their audiences really wants to hear.

So I am as confident as ever that knowing your target audience is huge. But there is much more to targeting than just a social media post.

Hitting the Right Target… For a Long Time

This is one area where businesses just know too much for their own good. When it comes to knowing an audience and being able to address them correctly, the curse of knowledge grips so many leaders. And effectively, for many, what they know is keeping them from growth.

Imagine a business concept that was based on 20% effort, but demanded 100% return. It’s a wonderful thought, but as business strategies go, it’s a horrible practice. And in that vein, most businesses just barely know their audiences. Leaders know one place their audience shops: with them; one place their audience engages: with them, and one group they interact with: them. Beyond that, most businesses market themselves as an authority in their area, utilizing industry lingo and fancy photos, never really answering the audiences biggest question, WIIFM (or What’s In It For Me?)? And the primary reason that business avoids answering that question is, simply put, that they don’t know their audience. And this isn’t simply a B2C problem.

The B2B marketplace is just as guilty of missing their audience for the sake of their brand. In fact, a recent survey showed that only 53% of B2B marketers are focused on writing for their audience versus their brand. That means that nearly half of the marketing agencies representing B2B organizations are sitting down determining how to write a marketing plan without really considering the target audiences these businesses need to stay solvent, much less grow! And businesses are just letting it happen!

The salvation here is that the solutions are viable. The draw back is that not all of them are cheap. But as we often tell our own clients, I could dig one thousand holes blindly, and charge you per drilling, or I could aim where I know the oil is, and just dig there instead.

Striking Oil

Writing content for your site and various online platforms is, again, imperative. However, writing whatever you like, assuming others will like it, and that those others will be compelled to your calls to actions is an awful lot to assume, when the life of your business hangs in the balance.

What if there were a better system where you could save some of those marketing dollars? Would you like to increase the SEO of your brand’s website? Reach an audience that is actually looking for you? Then draw them to calls to action that are mutually beneficial for both parties? What if there was a way to accomplish all of those? And all you need is a simple set of steps to get your company there? There is. It’s what we do for a living.

Perhaps the best thing we offer at Olive Group is a promise. We promise to make less work for businesses, while attracting the right people to buy what you’re selling. I am over-simplifying it a bit. What we really do is spend weeks at a time, diving into your company. We glean as much as possible from the expertise you bring to it. And then we pour over your current online presence, reading through the data of what people are actually searching for in your field.

While doing that, we uncover who wants what you do or sell. We learn as much about them as we possibly can. Additionally, we determine where your competition is at in this same marketing strategy process so we can best forecast how to get ahead of them. Once we’ve collected as much data as possible, we partner with you to determine the best, most cost-effective marketing solutions for your business. Sometimes we suggest components to execute immediately. Other strategies reveal a plan to roll marketing components out into the future. It’s not the easiest work, but it’s incredibly rewarding and can work for any kind of business, at any level of economic development.

If we simplified the message, it would sound more like this: Content is King, but Target Audience rules the kingdom. And if you don’t know your target… what are you writing for?

Brad