Today, the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs released the B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends-North America report, and for anyone who has been paying attention to the world of content marketing, the biggest finding shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you were at Content Marketing World, you might have popped into Deana Goldasich’s session on slowing down to speed up. In it, she talked a lot about personas and a lot about being an advocate for your audience.

Now research reflects it: 90 percent of highly effective B2B content marketers put their audience’s informational needs ahead of their sales messages.

There were some other key findings to note:

  • 77 percent of the most effective B2B content marketers are using personas
  • 96 percent agree that their audience views their organization as a credible and trusted resource

This is what happens when you know your customers and are willing to put their needs above your own. You become known as a trustworthy source for information. You know what type of content to develop, and how to develop it to inform your audience.

Highly effective B2B content marketing organizations also use those personas very carefully. When it comes to prioritizing content delivery at the right time to the right audience, 81 percent of successful B2B content marketers are doing so. Meanwhile, 77 percent are creating content based on specific points in the buyer’s journey. This is being very in tune with your audience – and it’s possible to do, as proven by these respondents.

Customer Insights Come from… Sales?

Lest you think gaining insight on your customers takes a lot of technology, 74 percent of B2B content marketers will tell you that sales team feedback is one of the tools they use to create content. Website analytics comes in second, at 73 percent. Only half of B2B content marketers (50 percent) use social media listening, and even fewer (45 percent) use database analysis. It’s entirely possible to know your customers with the tools you already have. (Especially your sales team – they hear about customer needs and complaints literally all the time.)

So what’s the big takeaway here? Know your audience. Know what they need. It’s easy to go crazy with personas and create Jane the DevOps manager who likes coffee and yoga – but what you need to do is focus on her pain points. She needs to juggle mentoring with motivating a team – while she’s still influencing tool decisions. You need to nurture her through the buying process and address her pain points while showing her that there is a solution: something that will foster collaboration or allow for API sharing, for example.

Basically: know your customers. Know who they are and why they’d even consider your product. Then focus on educating them, putting their needs above your own need to make sales.

Know your customers, says the Content Marketing Institute's latest research