content marketing selfie We are living in the midst of an epidemic of selfies. Mostly it’s just innocent fun – no big deal to snap a photo of yourself and post it to social media. Of course, some people seem to be addicted to selfies.

But this isn’t about them. It’s about B2B content marketing, and the disturbing similarity to sefies.

“Most B2B Content is as narcissistic as a selfie,” Sirius VP Marisa Kopec said at the Sirius Decisions Summit back in May.

Ouch. But true.

Typically, B2B firms have an extremely hard time breaking out of the old school marketing approach of telling their prospects and customers how awesome they are. It’s understandable – we’ve all been trained that way: Promote, promote, promote. It’s all about you… kind of like those narcissistic selfies. Those are fine in small doses but they don’t move the needle. They don’t make a statement. They don’t have any substance to them.

And, especially for B2B firms, the audience must perceive value in your marketing. The audience has changed the way it consumes information; the buyer’s journey is very different now. It’s social, self-directed, trust-based and transparent. Sixty-seven percent of this journey occurs online, typically before sales ever hears from the prospect. The buyer is in charge now, and if an organization’s marketing does not provide value, the buyer will shut it down.

They want you to save them from the deluge of bad content that exists. They want awesome stories that engage them, show them how to do their jobs and get ahead of the competition. They want thought leadership. Hint: Thought leadership isn’t about how-to articles and listicles. It’s about provoking thought… starting a conversation. Make them think and get them talking – this fuels engagement and community. That’s the opportunity.

Organizations that focus on the traditional product-centric marketing approach, always talking about themselves and their products, are focused on just that last 33 percent of the buyer’s journey. This is what they’ve historically done.

Obviously, this is incredibly shortsighted in this day and age. You can’t leave two-thirds of your sales process to chance. You can’t ignore it. That’s a horrible way to run a business. Sure, it’s a difficult transition, changing the muscle memory of decades of marketing. It isn’t easy to help the C-suite understand that your marketing is going to substantively and completely change.

“Selfie” may have been the word of the year in 2013.  From a purely transactional perspective, selfies might be something for social media managers to take advantage of. But a business must move beyond the content selfie if it’s going to stay relevant, move the needle and make an impact in the marketplace.

Marketing strategy must move beyond this narcissism and become more audience focused in order to win.

You do want to do that, right?