How to Develop
Demand Gen-Ready Content
By Joseph Braue, VP Custom Content Solutions

Summary

Synopsis:

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    The sorry state of B2B demand generation content and why it has deteriorated

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    The three worst demand generation content mistakes and how to avoid them

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    Four guidelines to make sure your demand generation content drives engagement and sales conversions

A shocking 71% of marketers have reported that they are often disappointed in the value of B2B content marketing (Informa Tech, 2023).

This is largely due to the current state of demand generation content. According to a Demand Gen Report survey, 51% of buyers revealed that the content they received was too generic and irrelevant to their needs in 2024, while just 38% had the same grievance in 2023.

Even as far back as 2018, Forrester had noted a steady decline in buyer satisfaction and revealed that 57% of buyers found much of the content that they consume to be “useless.” A further 66% reported that they were also served too much content during their buyer’s journey.

The continuation of this trend has been accentuated by the influence of AI content tools. These facilitate creating content en masse, flooding the B2B space with content that is generic and often not focused on specific demand generation target audiences.

Given how large language models (LLMs) scrape content from existing (and often out-of-date) sources, it is no surprise that much of this content is not useful or engaging to buyers.

As a result, there is a strong chance that sales teams will be unable to engage the leads they receive from demand gen programs aligned with this approach.

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The current state of demand generation content can be attributed to the gap between content marketing and B2B demand generation strategies:

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    While demand generation technology and practices have continuously evolved over time, much of B2B content creation is still following the same quantity over quality approach.

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    This issue is compounded by organizational structures that promote a lack of alignment between content teams and demand gen teams. As a consequence, these teams rarely collaborate on strategy to ensure that the right content is targeting the right campaign theme, personal, vertical market, or stage of the purchase process.

This guide explores three key areas, to empower your teams to tackle these challenges and generate demand generation-ready content that engages your buyers:

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The current state of demand generation content

Content is a critical element in demand generation to drive engagement and conversions—especially when considering the prevalence of buyer-led research that buyers conduct before engaging with a brand.

In fact, buyers report making first contact with vendors 70% of the way through their journey (6sense, 2023) with an average of 75% of B2B buyers preferring a completely representative-free sales experience (Gartner, 2023).

This need for buyer enablement places a heavy emphasis on the role of content in the buyer’s journey. Poorly planned or executed content marketing strategies are, therefore, a major reason demand generation programs fail.

When delving into the content marketing challenges that B2B organizations are facing, attracting quality leads with content is the top cited challenge (according to Forbes).

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Source: Forbes Advisor, 2024

The stats above demonstrate an overall lack of engagement and understanding of buyers’ interests, goals, and pain points. The fact that the second most pressing challenge was “creating more content faster,” followed by challenges with generating traffic and ROI, underscores that many marketers are prioritizing content quantity over quality.

In the B2B sector, an acceptable average conversion rate often ranges between 2% and 5% (UpLead, 2024). This relatively small margin of success highlights the importance of meticulously executing every aspect of a demand generation strategy—including content marketing and its role in efficiently supporting lead nurturing.

Additionally, only 10% of a business’s total addressable market (TAM) has intent to buy (6sense, 2023), so ensuring that nurturing efforts are enhanced with engaging, relevant content is of special importance.

As a result, prioritizing content marketing innovation and optimization is more crucial than ever to successfully drive quality demand to support revenue generation and growth.

The content gap

Many companies face a "content gap" in their B2B demand generation strategies due to content creation and strategy being viewed as an afterthought rather than a critical component of demand generation success.

For most mid-to large-sized organizations, there is one department that creates content, and others (often siloed regionally) that execute demand generation. In fact, over half of B2B organizations have reported that all requests go through one centralized content team (Content Marketing Institute, 2024).

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Source: Content Marketing Institute (2024)

When a single content team is tasked with serving multiple demand generation teams, constraints on resource capacity can contribute to an overall lack of alignment. This structure is also often indicative of organizations investing primarily in their headquarters' geographic region, neglecting opportunities in other geos.

INFUSE research found that content is typically produced for sales first and then for brand, with nurture as the lowest priority—only 40% of B2B organizations report nurturing as a top priority for content (INFUSE Insights Voice of the Marketer, 2024).

This focus on short-term deliverables is reflected in the fact that the top challenge for B2B marketers in 2024 is generating sales-ready leads, with the top two measures of success being pipeline/opportunities created (58%) and revenue generated (58%), (INFUSE Insights Voice of the Marketer, 2024).

It is more important than ever for a shift toward driving meaningful, long-term demand with data-driven insights, buyer-centric nurturing, and full organizational alignment—particularly between content and demand generation teams.

Top 3 demand generation content mistakes and how to avoid them

Below are the most common mistakes when crafting demand generation content that should be avoided to support optimal content performance:

#1 Creating content that is not targeted

One of the most significant errors is producing content that is generic and does not serve a specific audience. This lack of specificity dilutes the message, making it less relevant and engaging.

For example:

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    Demand gen marketers often pull content from a central resources database rather than creating assets for target audiences.
    As a result, content does not align with the core components of demand gen programs, such as:

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Solution
Before you decide to move forward with a demand gen program, ensure the targeting of your content by:
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    Performing a content audit: This should evaluate the suitability and relevance of your existing content for the targeted audience.

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    Developing content roadmaps: These can cover specific segments of your target market (according to capacity) to ensure that content speaks to the unique needs of your buyers

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    Creating processes to optimize and reshape existing content: Adapting your content library to appeal to specific target audiences best-suited to agile strategies given the production time required for new content. This also helps you maximize the value of your content, without such a significant investment of budget, time, and resources.

INFUSE demand experts are ready to optimize your content to serve your individual campaign needs and drive performance.Let’s work togethers

#2 Creating content that is boring

Creating content that fails to engage an audience is a common pitfall for many businesses (and symptomatic of the first mistake).

The same Demand Gen Report survey reported that 54% of marketers said their content lacked objectivity and was too sales-focused to be engaging, with a further 39% describing content marketing as uninformative or dull.

This issue is compounded by the inundation of touchpoints that buyers face today—contributing to a difficult and overwhelming evaluation process as buying committees navigate up to 4000 vendor touchpoints per buyer's journey (6sense, 2023).

Consequently, the value of each content piece must be apparent from the first line and clearly customized to buyer needs.

Solution
To ensure content remains relevant and engaging:
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    Feed content production with direct feedback from your client success (CS) and sales teams: Ask your sales teams for insights into the most common triggers for getting sales meetings with prospects, and engineer that into your content.
    Understanding what your clients are saying, their pain points, and their overall experience can significantly refine your content strategy. This can also include demand intelligence from the performance of both previous and current campaigns.

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    Diversify content types: If your content all looks the same, it can lead to content blindness and lower engagement. To combat this, diversify your content types to not only match audience preferences for different formats and lengths but also make each content piece more unique.

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    Grab the attention of your prospects—and quickly: Leverage your unique insights to tell your audience something new that they do not know that breaks through the noise of the conventional content that they are presented regularly. Content that challenges readers with something new and relevant is more likely to drive engagement and higher demand performance.

#3 Creating content that does not drive action

Content for content’s sake does not equate to performance. For content marketing to adequately support demand gen programs, it must have a clear connection to your product or solution’s key value.

After all, the principal function of your content is to qualify, progress, and nurture prospects to ready them for favorable discussions with your sales team. Therefore, your unique selling proposition (USP) for your product or service, should form the basis for the key pain points or informational needs being addressed by your content.

Content must be created with a defined strategy that compels its specific target audience to take concrete action.

Solution

Align your content with the latest demand-gen activation strategies: This is integral to ensuring that your demand generation content drives the appropriate action, as its activation will determine its role in the buyer’s journey you create. Not synchronizing content with these efforts will lead to your content underperforming and failing to drive demand.

Below are three examples of activation strategies and how to align content:
1. ABX programs (including one-to-one, one-to-few, one-to-many, and competitive displacement, etc.)

Content must correspond with the specific needs of each of these audiences.

For example, if the goal of your ABX program is to reach competitor clients, your content should emphasize (among other factors), the strategic value of considering a change in vendors.

  • This is especially important given the often considerable sunk investment costs. The value highlighted must, therefore, go beyond that of individual features and give a clear and relevant proposition to prospects.
2. Intent research:

With the right provider, intent signals can serve as indicators for which companies are most likely to be in the market for your solutions or services.

  • Support this activation strategy by preparing a library of content suitable for specific target audiences and appropriate for different stages of the buying process.
  • This will enable your demand generation programs to deliver a seamless buying experience as companies (indicated by intent research) progress through their buyer’s journey (from awareness to consideration, for example).
3. Brand-to-demand and omnichannel campaigns:

An increasingly popular strategy, this activation method is designed to drive deeper engagement with target buyers.

  • These programs leverage targeted display and advanced content distribution (also known as content syndication). Therefore, content, as well as the targeting and retargeting of ads, needs to be accurate to the needs and preferences of the specific audience they are serving.
  • This strategy can be aided by real-time monitoring to drive necessary optimizations while campaigns are live, including adapting content based on what is driving engagement.

In summary, while your content will incorporate educational elements, ensuring that each content piece is centered around a key action point is essential for motivating potential buyers to progress along their journey—and supporting demand performance.

Leverage demand programs that activate your content marketing with high-performance strategies to meet your unique needs and drive your demand outcomes.Learn more

How to create a content optimization strategy: in 3 steps

A crucial element of developing a B2B content marketing strategy that is both accurate and flexible is investing in content optimization.

Creating a content optimization strategy involves a systematic approach to refining and enhancing existing content to better meet the needs of your audience and achieve your business goals.

#1 Audit and optimize existing content

To effectively optimize existing content, conduct a thorough audit to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.

This process includes analyzing metrics such as traffic, engagement, and conversion rates to understand how each piece of content is performing. This is also where feedback from your sales teams on high-performing content can be incredibly insightful.

When your audit is complete, prioritize content for optimization based on factors such as relevance, performance, and alignment with your strategic goals.

Once you have a clear picture of your existing content library, the next step is to action refinements. Start by updating outdated information to ensure content accuracy, as well as enhancing the overall readability and user experience.

#2 Plan content development in line with buyer’s journeys

When developing content, it is crucial to consider the buyer’s journey you wish to curate for your audience.

Understanding your target buyers is fundamental to this process. By gaining insights into their needs, preferences, and behaviors, you can anticipate how they typically navigate the buyer’s journey. This allows you to tailor content to meet them at each stage, providing the right information and incentives toward making a purchase.

Recommended content per sales funnel stage
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Curating a smooth and frictionless buyer's journey is important in the content planning and creation process, but it is also essential to allow buyers to navigate the journey in a way that suits them without being prescriptive.

When developing content for buyer's journeys, follow these five steps:
#1 Identify key stakeholders and develop detailed buyer personas

This should include:

  • Decision makers who have the authority to approve purchases
  • Influencers who can sway decisions
  • Users who will directly interact with the product
  • Gatekeepers who control access to key individuals
  • Procurement agents responsible for the purchasing process

Use interviews, surveys, and market research to gather insights. This helps in understanding each persona’s pain points, goals, and preferred marketing channels (and their corresponding content formats).

#2 Address specific pain points and leverage data

Utilize data-driven insights from behavioral analytics, conversion metrics, and direct user feedback to continuously refine content. This iterative process ensures that the content remains relevant and effective in guiding potential buyers through their journey.

#3 Optimize user experience and personalize content distribution

Use a clear and logical structure with visual elements such as infographics, videos, and interactive tools to enhance understanding and retention. Personalize content distribution through targeted email campaigns, customized advertising, and account based marketing or experience (ABM, ABX) strategies.

#4 Collaborate across teams

Foster collaboration between marketing, sales, and support teams to ensure that strategies are aligned. Sales teams can provide valuable insights into client pain points and objections, while support teams can share feedback on user experiences and common issues. Regular communication and collaboration help in refining content strategies and creating a cohesive approach.

#5 Monitor and adjust

Use analytics tools to track key metrics such as engagement, click-through rates, conversions, and user feedback. Experiment with different content formats and distribution channels to determine what works best for each buyer persona.

#3 Utilize a framework for optimizing B2B content marketing

Creating engaging and valuable content requires a clear framework to consistently maintain quality. Such a framework provides guidelines and benchmarks, helping content creators evaluate their work effectively.

Below are the four B2B demand generation content pillars to measure content performance and ensure it drives engagement and conversions:

Demand-content optimization framework
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Key takeaways

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    Demand generation content needs to ensure meaningful, long-term engagement with data-driven insights, buyer-centric nurturing, and full organizational alignment

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    Content teams need to take the evolution of buying groups and the buying process into account when developing assets and strategies

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    Demand generation content must be created with awareness of how it is going to be activated and supported by auxiliary marketing strategies

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    To be an effective component of a B2B demand generation strategy, all content must be tailored to its intended audience and drive buyers to take action

Go beyond with B2B demand generation content

Leverage high-performance content to achieve qualified engagement from your target accounts and buying committees. INFUSE demand experts are ready to work with you to develop the content strategies you need to drive your growth and boost revenue.

INFUSE Insights to guide your B2B content marketing strategy
About the author
Joseph Braue
Joseph Braue is a digital media, marketing, and content innovator with expertise in growing B2B revenue streams. Joseph has started multiple marketing services in different media companies and grown them into multi-million dollar enterprises. Currently, he leads the INFUSE content services team and helps clients optimize their content performance for demand outcomes.

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