In our grandparent’s day, the most noise they’d confront in 24 hours was the paper hitting the front porch or one of the kids screeching about having to do homework.
Today, we are collectively exhausted by noise. Not by the classic kind, but the insidious kind that flows from our always-on digital environment. Our attention is constantly fractured by the shiny thrum of bright red notifications, emails, tweets, ad banners and endless open tabs. And the result is that we’re easily distracted, eternally overwhelmed and constantly bombarded with digital clutter.
According to Sortlist’s latest interactive calculator, South Africans rank fourth out of the world’s top 10 countries spending the most time on their screens. That’s 54 days a year spent on social media.
Yet social media engagement rates tell a different story: they’re at an all-time low. Rival IQ’s 2022 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report discovered declining engagement rates across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, with Facebook and Instagram dropping by 20% and 32% respectively from 2021. So how does it make sense that our clients are spending more time on social media, but engaging less?
It’s quite simple: there’s so much noise out there – so many brands overcrowding the digital space – that they’ll only engage when their attention is truly earned. Our clients have grown to hate advertising that feels like advertising and they’ll filter out any content they don’t connect with or gain real insight from. This makes it really hard to be a marketer today, and we’re seeing the strongest brands scrambling to develop the capabilities to succeed.
While it’s difficult for B2B brands to win with this much change and competition, it’s not all doom and gloom. The research of Peter Weinberg and Jon Lombardo, leaders of The B2B Institute – a LinkedIn think tank researching the future of B2B marketing – confirm that the only way to rise above the noise is by connecting with your audience in a way that makes your brand memorable when it comes time to purchase.
Successful modern B2B marketing is about building trust and connecting with your audience in a genuine, human way. The brands that know how to connect with their audience will win in the digital space. Bottom line.
Here are three considerations to help your insurance content cut through the digital noise and win market share over competitors.
- Get better at listening than talking
Ask any one of your clients what insurance posts or articles they’ll (actually) read, and they’ll probably say that great content is, above all else, useful. They can immediately apply what they’ve learnt to their work and life.
The only way to craft useful content is by spending at least 30 minutes listening to the conversations your clients are having online. This could mean taking note of interesting comments on popular LinkedIn posts in the industry or heading to online communities to see which questions are gaining traction.
Make a short list of the problems your ideal client is talking about and you’re 10 steps closer to finding content topics that actually resonate with them.
- How to Cure Your “Product Delusion”
Humans operate on emotions. They want to be entertained and informed. So why then, is B2B marketing still so boring?
“Almost every B2B organization suffers from an illness that Jon [Lombardo] and I call ‘The Product Delusion,’” Weinberg explains. “It’s the (mistaken!) belief that companies compete primarily on product, and that marketing’s job is to communicate the superiority of those products…The problem isn’t that buyers don’t know enough about your product — the problem is that no one knows your product even exists. And that’s a problem best solved through brand advertising, not boring, rational ‘product marketing.’”
If you take a long hard look at the B2B brands that are thriving – think Salesforce or our local B2B business, Yoco – they make their customers or clients the hero of their brand story. Instead of flooding newsfeeds with marketing that says “this is my amazing product and this is what it does,” they make their brand memorable with useful content, inspiring employee stories, or emotional ad campaigns.
Every time your marketing defaults to buzzwords, overly-corporate jargon, robotic writing, or corny stock photos, think to yourself: my clients are people before they’re businesspeople. Get playful and get creative.
- Play the Long Game
One of the most fascinating marketing ideas of the past 10 years originates from researchers Les Binet and Peter Field. It’s the idea that there are two types of marketing: sales activation that produces short-term growth and brand-building that produces both short- and long-term growth.
When Weinfield and Lombardo’s teamed up with Les Binet and Peter Field, they discovered that “B2B brands that invest at least 50% of their budget in long-term brand building deliver the best financial returns in terms of market share growth, profitability and revenue.”
Right now, modern B2B marketers are throwing most of their budget at short-term sales activation to get sales fast. Yet the real success lies in the long game – growing the awareness of your brand through creative marketing. This might look like showing off the fascinating stories of your star employees on Facebook, sharing important industry-related news on Twitter or giving your clients the inside scoop on tough problems with LinkedIn webinars.
By playing the long game and investing in creative brand-building strategies, you connect with prospects and build that foundation of trust. Only then can you rise above the digital noise and position your brand to win.