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June 23, 2016
Education: A B2B Marketing Truth You Can’t Afford to Ignore

While content marketing has become a norm in B2B marketing, a shift occurred years ago and many B2B marketers are still catching up. Educators have the edge—and becoming the go-to source for reliable, rapidly-applicable education on a wide variety of topics needs to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

It’s something the largest consultancies (and integrated marketing firms) have known for decades now: teaching sells. Providing access to deep insight and pre- or post-purchase training are keys to selling, as well as cross-selling and upselling.

The truth is, your B2B buyers and product users simply can’t keep up with technology changes, trends, innovations, and growth challenges. Taking time out for traditional education is the exception, and professionals look for inexpensive, “snackable” solutions to their education needs.

This is good news for B2B marketing professionals, who have a prime opportunity to turn subject matter experts into teachers, and elevate their professional profiles while building credibility and trust. Through content and online courses, here are some tips for how you can elevate your ability to cultivate lasting and more profitable relationships through education.

Research your audiences.

Education need not be limited to technical topics. B2B companies that lead do so because they are helping customers succeed in their roles. Do you know what career track your customers want to be on and what skills they will need to get there? In which areas are they losing business or profitability the most? What technologies do they need to adopt to better compete? If you expand your view past product education, you can find ample opportunities to develop engaging educational content that aligns with the broader needs of your audiences.

Use the latest technology.

Integrate a learning management system (LMS). From large manufacturers to 20-person offices, LMS platforms are becoming a critical component of technology infrastructure. According to PC Mag, Litmos LMS, Absorb LMS and Grovo have the largest share of the corporate LMS market.

Certify and train.

B2B marketers can derive multiple benefits from providing access to formalized training with an associated certification. However, you can use this model in other creative and brand-boosting ways, as well.

Gamify learning.

We know of no better way to keep learners engaged than through reward. That’s where gamification comes in. Incentives like points, discounts, merchandise and value-adds are easily enabled and administered through an LMS platform.

Don’t forget hands-on opportunities.

Trade shows and events are key venues for delivering education. Make it a practice to perform some proprietary research you can share at your most important event of the year, and you’ll exponentially increase both attendance and engagement.

The value of access to education isn’t limited to customers and prospects. Anyone who has a stake in your business can be better engaged and equipped. Make this the year that you think about the myriad ways in which becoming an educator can boost engagement with all your audiences—including employees, the media and partners.