Over the last twelve months, I’ve been working more and more with B2B organizations with strong e-commerce presences to talk about their future e-business strategy. Naturally, much of this time is spent sharing insights about what their B2C cousins are (or are not) doing well in terms of managing their online channel and creating great customer experiences. What I realized recently is that our conversation with clients, and even posts on this blog, omit the fact that B2B generally excels in one area: managing and marketing their content.
As this is really something that everyone needs to be thinking about, I’m going to make a bold prediction along the lines of the annual “Year of Mobile” declarations and say:
2010 will be the “Year of Content”
Why? Whether consumers engage via your Facebook fan page or a mobile-optimized site, it isn’t the applications and beauty shots that they are focused on. It all comes down to your content. The challenge is that with the intractable growth of channels and devices, your .com isn’t the only place your content is going to wind up. According to Junta42’s 2010 Content Marketing Spending Survey, 72% of respondents publish content to Social Media as part of their overall marketing strategy. Tied for second was Email and Blogs with Mobile coming up from behind.
One reason why the B2B world has been slow to take on other e-tailing concepts around personalized recommendations or social commerce is that they are focused on enriching their web site product content and pushing it out to where their customers want to consume it. Gone are the days of a product manager creating the 1-page product slick and handing it to the webmaster to be copied into the web detail page. As copywriters have perfected the art of taking a PDF and writing for the web, the next step is to think beyond HTML and understand the necessary variations for newsletters, mobile apps, iPad tablets, e-readers, as well as…the unknown. Case in point, I was recently talking with Steve Wilson, Sr. Director of Global Communications for McDonalds, who told me “We don’t know what the next device is going to be, so we have to make sure our content is agnostic of the platform”.
This is the only way to ensure consistency in message across channels. By only considering one customer touch-point when the content is authored, your processes and platforms may be painting you into a corner that limits the effectiveness of your organization’s content. If you’re getting ready to go through a website redesign, or considering changes to your content management platform, this is a great to time to rethink your content strategy and make sure you are ready for the next big thing.