This is a guest post by Matti Lintulahti, Co-Founder of Kubo. Kubo is creative agency specialising in content marketing strategies and visual content.
What if we could help our clients for real? It’s easy to say, but much harder to do. I would like to share a true story about an innovative and growth-motivated company, which really helps its clients, and shows what other companies can learn from them.
Receptum is a Finnish IT-company, which offers products and services for health sector clients and specialised retail stores, as well as outstanding client services. It has a turnover of around 10 million euros and employs about 50 people. It has clients in Finland and Sweden, and is currently expanding to Norway.
Receptum continues to grow and prosper. In 2014, despite being in the middle of a recession, Receptum reached the best economic results and turnout in the company’s history. In Spring 2015, more people were ordering its services than at the same time the previous year.
Its monthly newsletter to pharmacists, one of the company’s main target audiences, is widely read. Almost half of those who receive the email read it, and on average, one third go on to view more content on Receptum’s main site.
Planned quality content, that’s created and aimed for a target audience, works well because it helps clients in their daily lives. It increases sales and as well as helps to boost contacts in the industry.
So how did Receptum use content to reshape its business? Simple. It shifted from an old inward looking model to a more client-orientated approach. Here is how you can do it too.
1. Your clients’ customers always come first
The client’s customers always come first! Before any strategies, plans or campaigns can be made, you must dive into the minds of their customers and observe their buying process. In Receptum’s case, we divided the clients into seven different classes and created buyer profiles for all the relevant target audiences, based on how pharmacists behave, think and make their buying decisions.
There are less than a thousand pharmacists in Finland, so it was worth dividing them into seven different classes according to their B2B buying behaviour, so we could target them more accurately.
2. You need to understand the buying process
Combining the understanding of your clients together with the buying process and behaviour of their customers is extremely important in B2B marketing.
A modern customer searches for information independently and invisibly from you, the marketers. When you finally meet your clients’ customers for the first time, they have already compared, selected and become aware of the different alternatives.
If you do not offer them information and visions in the beginning of the buying process, you have already lost the competition of gaining those clients.
How many of you really know how yours and your competitors’ potential clients behave in the beginning of the process? Are you offering them relevant content in an easily understandable format early enough? And how do you help existing clients? What do you recommend for them? These are very important questions, to which every single company should have an answer.
3. Put the right content in the different stages of the buying process
Based on client understanding and knowledge about the buying process we created a goal-orientated content strategy for Receptum. We created buyer profiles and crafted valuable content designed to target the audience in the different stages of the buying process.
We created a realistic long-term content strategy for Receptum, suitable for its resources, which we started to implement and test straight away without further investments. We quickly created a clear version for their blog and newsletters, and began to distribute content systematically, as set in the plan. We believe that organisations learn best by doing.
Prioritising content is essential. It is not worth producing content for everywhere, but only for places which are important for reaching the goals of business activities and making the buying process effective. This is not easy, but with continuous measurements and constantly improving, a company learns to prioritise step by step and gets better and better.
4. Use all relevant channels
Although we are in the middle of digitalisation, the use of all channels is relevant for gaining growth. We need helpful and informative client stories in blogs, newsletters as well as in print and leaflets, as each channel meets the needs of a diverse range of clients.
Digital channels, print, events, conferences, training, client visits, helpdesks and maintenance checks are all channels of communication and should all be refined to help and serve the client as needed. The behaviour of your client should signify the most suitable channels to use, and therefore you need to prioritise creating content for those.
Once you’ve done this, the clients want to tell their own stories and praise individual employees for example, like this: “A huge thank you for Juho Faari at Receptum helpdesk. From him you can always get quick and clear answers for your questions.” Would your clients like to recommend an individual employee in a public reference?
5. The marathon of constant improvements
The rest of success is only about continuous doing and measuring, constantly leading and always improving. Helping your clients is about a marathon, not a campaign. By learning step by step how to communicate better, you are creating an advantage over your competitors that is hard to beat.
Success is not rocket science. In the long-term, it is systematically well-planned content management, which is always based on your clients’ needs and on your willingness to help them succeed better.
Matti Lintulahti, Co-Founder of Kubo. Kubo is creative agency specialising in content marketing strategies and visual content.