Buyers want to work with companies that understand their specific needs—and can demonstrate that their products are designed to address them.
Let’s face it. A lot of B2B messaging is generic. It tries to speak to everyone at the same time, which means it doesn’t resonate with the intended audience. It falls short of reflecting your vertical marketing strategy. Customers are left sifting through your sales content, trying to determine how your solution applies to their specific problems. (And we promise — no one wants to spend time translating those benefits!).
In today’s customer-centric world, buyers want to work with companies that understand their specific needs—and can demonstrate that their products are designed to address them. It goes without saying that companies selling in an industry-variable space need to customize their marketing and sales collateral to their vertical industry buyers. You have to inspire B2B customers through use cases that are relevant and timely to them.
Creating vertical marketing content is a large investment and is guaranteed to add complexity to your marketing mix. However, for the right products, good vertical content marketing can reduce your sales cycles and prove to prospective buyers that you understand the unique challenges of their industry. It gives sales teams the tools to speak the same language as key prospects — lending them credibility when explaining why your solution is the best fit.
Knowing this, vertical content could be a good fit for you. If you’re considering how to take the first steps, read on.
Step 1: Strategize
Each piece of collateral must play an important role. Does the target industry persona need a more technical explanation of how your product works? Are they short on time, and bite-sized content makes more sense for them? This is where you need to strategize how a persona will engage with your content and what your content needs to communicate, specific to their industry.
Start with a mini-strategy session to identify the challenges in your target industry. Then, map your messaging to these challenges to ensure you’re communicating a clear path to overcoming obstacles. If you skip the strategy session, you risk compromising the quality of the resulting content—or focusing too strongly on your own brand story or product specs. These five ways to strategize set the foundation for vertical marketing success.
Five Ways to Strategize:
- Lead with why they should buy—not what they should buy or who they should buy from.
- Be specific about how your product or service addresses the prospect’s problems. This aspect may need to be adjusted as products and services change.
- Dig into the details of your target industry. You need to deeply understand your target persona(s) and the industry’s challenges to tell a compelling story that positions you as an insider.
- Determine the level of customization needed. Some generic content can be quickly verticalized and deployed. However, for your content to be truly relevant to a specific industry, a total overhaul may be needed.
- Establish what stage of the buyer’s journey your messaging is for.
Step 2: Simplify
Even when you get the message right, it’s easy for sales content to become too complex. And complexity can keep content from reaching its full potential. You need to strike the right balance between providing relevant information without overwhelming the reader. When creating vertical content for B2B, here are three ways to keep your approach simple.
Three Ways to Simplify:
- Break it up: Buyers often don’t have the time to dive into long, bloated paragraphs. Reduce or break up your content visually to improve readability.
- Make it easier to understand: Cut out jargon and buzz words (we’re looking at you, “leverage”) and correctly incorporate target industry terms (for example, if you’re selling into manufacturing, you need to make it clear you understand the difference between the value chain and a supply chain).
- Start small: If you don’t have the support or budget to launch a big, hairy vertical marketing effort, start small. Focus on blog posts or infographics first, then add in paid social and PPC. Ramp up as you gain the resources you need.
Step 3: Show off
Impactful collateral is not just about the right message. It needs to make an impression. But developing thoughtfully designed content is time-consuming. We recommend putting your efforts into creating a few pieces that are very good rather than multiple mediocre pieces. Basically, think quality over quantity.
When designing content for a vertical market, keep in mind:
Two Ways to Show off:
- Use imagery that resonates with your target industry (for example, showing operational technology in an oil refinery for the energy industry versus operational technology on an assembly line).
- Ensure the creative aligns with your brand’s overall look and feel. You don’t want your vertical marketing assets to feel like they’re not a part of the larger brand.
Starting with these three steps can help any B2B company feel confident tackling vertical marketing.
If you’re interested in learning more about the value of a vertical marketing approach, watch our webinar: “5 Keys to Activating Your Vertical Marketing Strategy”.
And if you need a partner to support your vertical marketing efforts, let’s chat.