For companies in competitive B2B markets, a well-established content strategy that leverages Outside Insight to predict market trends and stay ahead of changes in the industry can mean steady inbound leads and a deeper understanding of customer needs.
Strategizing with content
Awarded ‘Best Acquirer’ at MPE Berlin 2016 and ‘Best Merchant Acquirer/Processor’ at the 2015 Payments Awards, Payvision is one of the fastest-growing global acquiring networks in the world. Payvision’s experience as an industry leader is combined with Acapture’s ability to handle alternative payments and boost international conversions while leveraging the POS/mPOS technology. The Payvision Group gives clients access to a full suite of omnichannel tools behind one central interface and maximizes merchant revenue.
Thanks to the vision of Rolf Visser, VP of Global Marketing, Payvision’s SEO-driven content marketing strategy steadily brings inbound clients to support the efforts of their sales team and position them as thought leaders driving innovation in the space.
In order to effectively implement such a long-term strategy, Visser and his team lean on insights from Meltwater’s media intelligence tools to predict – and even create – future trends and industry buzz.
Driving search terms from the inside out
Seven years ago, Visser and his team dove into a detailed content strategy, scouring external data to find industry trends on the rise. “I was thinking that international commerce was really about to lift off. Logistics were getting easier, payments were taking off, legislation to boost import/export trade was in place – it made sense.”
His team dove deep into external media data to see what the industry was talking about. They discovered that international commerce was becoming a hot topic, but there didn’t appear to be a particular phrase trending as a real search term.
“I found the term ‘crossborder e-commerce’ and thought, ‘How can we own this term instead and make it trend?”
Visser's forward-looking strategy:
Purchased “crossborder-ecommerce.com’ and several similar urls to boost Payvision’s search ranking
Created significant content around the term and related keywords, published on purchased urls and Payvision’s core website
Engaged the press to write stories that used the term, pointing search toward Payvision in every direction
“If you’re not using the media, key opinion leaders and influencers also as leverage,” Visser warns, “it can easily go in a different direction.”
The plan worked. “The thought was that in 2-3 years, everyone will be talking about it, so we need to focus on this now in anticipation of this trending in the industry. It’s amazing – if you look at the urls we have, we still get most of the traffic from the term ‘crossborder ecommerce’.”
Getting inside the minds of your customers
Visser emphasizes the need to constantly observe what’s happening in your wider industry to inform your next move.
“You have to think from the outside in. Most companies have been looking first at their products to think about how they can sell them to clients. But now more and more companies are trying to do it the other way around, pushed by new Google algorithms and what their customers are searching.”
Implementing Outside Insight company-wide:
Connect marketing and sales.
Ask what questions your sales team is getting, look at topics for major conferences or events. Then bring sales and marketing together to create a content and Adwords strategy
Observe external data in real time.
Understand and monitor what the industry is saying and who key influencers are – as well as what the competition is doing
It’s the responsibility of the marketing team to think long term – to look at the process in terms of consultative selling and thought leadership for the company. “You need to figure out what people are talking about now, but also what they’ll talk about in 2-3 years. This might change, so we need to be flexible, but we’ve found we’ve been spot on and even better, way ahead of the market.”
Bringing Outside Insight into the boardroom
According to Visser, content marketing vs pure Adwords is the difference between buying a house and renting. Once you stop paying rent, you no longer reap value. But purchasing is a long-term, forward-looking strategy and you reap the reward far after the initial investment.
With an AdWords-centric strategy, decision-makers can only be reactive. So when it comes to predictive marketing, they fall behind. It’s often difficult to justify a major marketing spend when the board see these results.
“The industry leaders understand their current markets because they know what’s going on now, but it’s hard for them to predict what’s happening in 2-3 years. That’s where these tools come in. It makes it easier for a board to understand what marketing is doing and stay ahead of the competition.”
When these insights are brought into the boardroom, they begin to inform the brand’s strategy beyond marketing. Looking at future trends exposes the real issues that keep customers awake at night – insights that are crucial to maintaining a strong connection to core customers.
“Payvision is in the payments space. But if you look at the top 5 things keeping merchants awake, it’s not about the payments themselves. E-commerce is the umbrella, but what are the other issues they face? From a long-term view, do online payments even exist in 4 years?”
The future of marketing with Outside Insight
Visser believes companies today need to change the way they strategize and make decisions in today’s new digital reality – and they have the results to back it up.
“The younger generation is numb to advertising, but people still invest in it because sales is comfortable with it. Nothing seems to be changing in that sense. Often, due to lack of vision from boards, or thinking it’s necessary to please the sales team because they’re closing deals, marketing meets their expectation rather than setting expectations themselves.”
Marketers will have to work with their sales counterparts and look at the data together to make this work. “Once they see the inbound leads, it’s much easier to convince the board to be one of the 5% that make the difference and can see the future.”