Knowing what to talk about in your marketing is always a contentious topic with marketer. Especially B2B marketers. You realize that you’ve got to speak to two separate sides of the same audience: the business audience, but also the personal/human audience. After all, you might be trying to get enterprises to buy your products, but it’s still a person at that enterprise that has to make the purchasing decision. Keeping those two things well balanced when creating your marketing content is a difficult thing.

It becomes even more difficult when the content you’re producing doesn’t actually matter to your buying audience. Yes, that’s right.

According to a recent report by McKinsey, they found that almost three-quarters of the topics the top B2B companies are talking about are of no interest to their audience. (These are the top 90 companies from 6 different sectors by 2012 market capitalization.) Let me repeat that: No interest to their audience.

No wonder you’re having difficulty converting your leads to sales! Let’s look at how you can change up your marketing content and start satisfying your B2B prospects.

Change #1 – Ignore your competitors and be unique

Talking about the same things as your competitors leads your audience to believe that you’re essentially the same when it comes to your products. Of course you know that’s not true, so how can you really differentiate yourself while still talking about those topics

Idea: Find the unique twist on the idea that only applies to you.

Example: If your company’s environmental sustainability programs are important to you, then include information about how your offices and production facilities remain carbon neutral, how you also include green product development processes in your production facilities, and laud your employee engagement initiatives.

Change #2 – Be open with everyone

These days people live their lives much more openly than before (much to the chagrin of many), and the B2B world is no exception. B2B Buyers want to see transparency in a vendor’s processes and products, and to know that you’re available to them.

Idea: Embrace the notion of transparency and let that flow through your business. From sales people who share survey results with prospects, to a CEO that writes a monthly blog on the corporate website talking about their latest innovations, these are all ways that B2B companies can be open with their prospects and customers.

Example: Have your social media team introduce themselves when they take over the account for the day. Telus Mobility does this really well with their TELUSsupport Twitter account.

Be transparent in your B2B social media

Change #3 – Get to know your prospects and customers

Another finding from the McKinsey report is that while B2B brands aren’t talking about values and beliefs, whatever they’re doing seems to be fitting in with their audience (a double-digit percentage of respondents said the top B2B brands “fit in well with my values and beliefs.”) Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet though. If you want to really see a difference in the perception of your brand (and possibly in your bottom line as well), then you’d do well to pay attention to this stat.

Idea: Getting to know your prospects and customers not only helps you determine what content type to use (blog post, social media, print media, videos, etc.), but it also gives you insight into who they are and what prompts them to action. The whole point of your marketing content is to spur your readers to action, like sign up to receive a special report, or to view a demo of your product. Knowing what gets them moving can help you craft your messages more carefully, and make it easier for you to move them through the sales funnel. They’ll go from being interested to being a lead, and finally a customer, much more easily if you’re speaking the same “language”.

Example: Attend a trade show or conference where your prospects will be and talk to them. Like the Canadian Marketing Association B2B Conference in Toronto. Create case studies about a couple of your customers, and learn how they’re using your products to make their business succeed; Monetate is doing this really well.

And there you have it

A few ways you can satisfy your B2B audience and start connecting with them. What tactics have you been using to do that? What’s worked, and what hasn’t? Hit the comments and let me know.