Buzzwords are continuing to dominate B2B marketing.
Over the years, terms like account-based marketing (ABM) and intent data have taken center stage. When implemented effectively, these concepts serve as resources for creating successful content marketing campaigns. However, the noise surrounding them often makes it difficult for marketers to perceive what’s innovative and what’s industry jargon.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype around buzzwords, but the real value lies in how they can be effectively integrated into a broader marketing strategy. According to Michael Brenner, staying focused on the core principles of effective marketing is the key to cutting through it.
Michael Brenner is the CEO and founder of Marketing Insider Group, an international keynote speaker, and an author. Having led sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups.
In the latest episode of GTM Innovators, Michael sat down with G2 Advisor and former Chief Revenue Officer Mike Weir to discuss methods for breaking through conventional B2B marketing by emphasizing the power of contextual content, audience-centric messaging, and the need for a human touch in marketing.
Re-defining the core of marketing
We’ve come a long way from the days of traditional marketing practices. The B2B landscape continues to be driven by technological advancements, changing customer expectations, and global market dynamics.
But among all the buzz and jargon, have we lost track of why we’re doing it?
“The heart of marketing is to acquire new customers,” says Michael. And the best way to acquire customers is not by solely relying on ads but by doing things people actually want. That’s why we have content marketing, which, as Michael puts it, is nothing more than the modern interpretation of marketing.
It starts with creating helpful content that attracts the right people to your business. This can be in the form of videos or “how-to” guides that are aligned with the buyer journey.
Buzzwords only hold value when effectively applied to marketing strategies. Michael shares that ABM and buyer intent data are valuable tools but must align with the larger acquisition strategy. When you have helpful content, you can use such channels to convert and optimize your return on investment (ROI) for marketing spend.
“When you understand how to target your audience with the challenges, pain points, and issues important to them, they will opt-in. And that’s cost-effective for you, as it drives a higher return.”
Michael Brenner CEO and Founder, Marketing Insider Group
Implementing the contextualized approach
You’ve heard it time and time again: targeted marketing wins audiences. Consumer data has evolved, and so has the personalization in marketing strategies. Personalization works because it aligns marketing efforts with the immediate interests and needs of the audience. But where do we draw the line?
Moving away from hyper-targeted strategies, Michael emphasizes the value of contextualized marketing. He mentions how content that addresses broader industry concerns often outperforms narrowly targeted material. Drawing an example from his experience, he shared how a white paper addressing common industry challenges gained more traction than a hyper-targeted brochure in the retail sector.
As an application of audience-centric marketing, Michael elaborates on his strategy, “We tried to find people who want to receive and click on our content, and then we retargeted them with ads,” he says.
Bottom line? Tune into your audience’s needs rather than just your sales goals.
How to build an effective contextual content marketing program
Michael conveys a four-step approach to building effective contextual content marketing strategies.
Consistency: Commit to long-term consistency, recognizing that it takes time to build compounding returns.
Audience-centric messaging: Create content that resonates with your audience’s challenges and pain points. Focus on what they care about, not just what you want to sell.
Find watering holes: Identify where your audience engages with your brand and ensure your marketing message is placed there.
Measure your returns: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and invest more in what works.
Finding the sweet spot
ABM, intent data, and contextual content marketing are not isolated strategies but rather complementary elements in a successful marketing approach. Michael emphasizes the importance of finding the optimal balance between them for maximum impact.
ABM helps convert the right people more effectively, while intent data helps identify potential targets on your ABM list. Contextual content marketing bridges the gap by providing valuable resources for nurturing leads through the funnel. “Having a nurturing mindset is the key. Marketers need to think about how to efficiently and effectively find folks in their buyer journey, and nurturing will help identify who’s ready to buy right now”, says Michael.
“When we marry all four components: effective content marketing, ABM, intent data, and nurturing the sales funnel, that’s when the ROI skyrockets.”
Michael Brenner CEO and Founder, Marketing Insider Group
Content is what mixes everything together, and nurturing brings it home. All you need to be effective is to write content that addresses your audience’s pain points. “If you could ask your audience one question, it should be ‘What are your biggest challenges?’ and every company out there should create content for those challenges,” adds Michael. That’s all you need: industry trends and audience pain points.
Other learnings from Michael in this episode
In episode 12 of GTM Innovators, the whole conversation with Michael Brenner includes other takeaways such as:
The role of technology in implementing effective contextual content marketing strategy.
The need for sustaining the human element in marketing and becoming customer-driven.
Catch the full episode on YouTube to hear more from Michael. Subscribe to the GTM Innovators podcast for other insightful conversations with GTM experts – available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, and more.