3 B2B Case Studies That Prove the Power of Content Marketing

Still not sure about this whole content marketing thing?

Maybe you think it’s another fad or you’re not quite sure how it works. Maybe you think it won’t work for you, in your industry. Or perhaps you’re just not convinced it’s worth the investment.

No matter what your hesitation, if it’s keeping you from pushing the button on a content marketing strategy, we need to break through it. Because I’ll tell you straight — you’re missing out.

Here’s a look at three B2B (business-to-business) companies who made the leap and the results they have to show for it. Warning! You’ll be impressed.

3 B2B case studies that prove the massive power of content marketing. #CaseStudy   Click to tweet

1] Fisher Tank

For all you doubters out there who think content marketing won’t work for expensive and high-touch sales, you’ll want to pay close attention to the Fisher Tank case.

Fisher Tank makes giant, above-ground welded steel tanks. With clients in the fuel industries, waste water, pulp & paper and other industrial and municipal areas, projects tend to be big (multi-million dollar) and take a long time to sell (12 months and longer).

For more than 60 years, the company has made its sales primarily through cold calling and referrals from existing clients. So it took some moxy to launch a content marketing strategy online.

The plan including sprucing up the website, integrating a blog and social sharing, and offering some valuable content by free download. Would any of their prospects even notice?

Would they notice? Holy mackinaw! Take a look at these numbers just 12 weeks after launching their new website.

Fisher Tank B2B content marketing case study results

Credit: Weidert Group

[HT: Weidert Group]

2] ShipServ

ShipServ is an e-marketplace for the marine industry, connecting more than 8,000 ships and 200 ship owners, managers and yards with upwards of 45,000 marine suppliers. The company runs an online trading platform, a supplier search engine, an ordering guide and an online ad network.

In 2008, the company realized their image in the marine community was as an impersonal software company. Their customers weren’t early technology adopters and shifting to an online marketplace from their traditional purchasing channels was daunting to them.

Despite these challenges and armed only with a small marketing budget of $30,000, ShipServ decided to place their chips on a social media and content marketing strategy.

They revamped their website, launched a blog, published a series of white papers, created a LinkedIn group to build community and worked on search engine optimization.

ShipServ stop motion video content marketing

Credit: ShipServ on YouTube

Here’s a sampling of ShipServ’s results after implementing their strategy. Three months into it, they’d already broken even on their investment.

  • Website visitors increased by 59%
  • LinkedIn and Twitter went from zero to the top 20 traffic sources
  • Contact-to-lead (landing page contact) conversions increased by 150%
  • Lead-to-opportunity conversions increased by 50%
  • Campaign management costs decreased by 80%
  • Number of sales-ready leads increased by 400%
  • Measurable increase in brand awareness

All this in an industry and at a time when their target clients weren’t heavy online users! By recognizing the lack of online community as an opportunity instead of a roadblock, ShipServ grabbed first-mover advantage. Well done!

[HT: {grow} blog]

3] Maersk Line

For our third case study we’re once again asea, this time with Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company.

In 2012, the company launched a marketing campaign around its winter shipping services. Jonathan Wichmann, then head of social media for Maersk, described the challenge:

Every year the Baltic Sea freezes over, making it extremely difficult for shipping companies to arrive on time in the Port of St Petersburg. Luckily, Maersk Line is particular good at navigating the icy waters and keep the cargo flowing. So in order to promote this added benefit of shipping with Maersk Line our Marketing department made a campaign incl. a sales brochure and various other collateral.

But would that work for social media? No, from our experience graphics and campaign elements don’t work. Even something as ‘sexy’ as an infographic will result in much lower engagement rates than a regular photo.

Instead, Jonathan sent a photographer to Russia to get some jaw-dropping shots of ice-encrusted container ships. He also developed a free article about winter shipping and set it up on a landing page. From there, interested readers could choose to download the brochure the marketing department had developed. When someone did that, the sales team got pinged.

Maersk Line #wintermaersk Instagram photo ship ice

Jonathan described the reasoning behind the campaign setup and how people moved themselves down the sale funnel:

Let’s tell the story that’s out there in a very visual way, engaging as many people as possible via our social media accounts (and even using the hashtag #wintermaersk to highlight it). If people want to read more about [it] they should of course have that option so we will always include a link to the article. And then, if it just so happens that a potential customer (or an existing one for that matter) is reading and want to learn more about the service behind the story then they can of course download a brochure by clicking one step further.

Result: 150 new leads, which Jonathan called “massive” for his industry.

#wintermaersk is just one snippet of a full-on content marketing program, but it illustrates how readily a few pieces of intriguing and helpful content can draw new customers.

What are your thoughts on these B2B case studies?

About the author: I'm Jennifer Tribe, a content marketer and publishing strategist with nearly 20 years of experience backed by a journalism degree. I’m here to help you get more from your content marketing program.See more posts by this Author


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