Synopsis: The growing importance of digitalization to B2B customer purchasing decisions has motivated B2B sellers to create digital content that leads potential buyers to interact with their company. This trend has engendered a new paradigm referred to as ‘content marketing.’ This study investigates the organizational processes for developing valuable and timely content to meet customer needs and for integrating content marketing with B2B selling processes. The results of this single case study demonstrate the importance of systematic and customer-centric processes in creating valuable content that engages potential sales leads and motivates them to identify themselves on the firm’s website. Once a prospective customer has been identified, marketing automation allows the marketers to nurture the leads via personalized content delivery to their business needs. While describing the organizational processes that support the use of marketing automation in content marketing, the study introduces and visualizes a marketing and sales funnel concept, which builds on the existing sales funnel models. The contribution of the marketing and sales funnel concept points to the vital importance of fostering collaboration between marketing and sales functions to improve the effectiveness of B2B selling efforts in the increasingly digitized business environment. To sum up, the study shows how content marketing can be combined with B2B selling processes via marketing automation in ways that achieve business benefits.
Publication: Järvinen, J. & Taiminen, H (2016). Harnessing marketing automation for B2B content marketing. Industrial Marketing Management, 54, 164-175. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0019850115300018