In the run-up to Forrester’s Forum For Marketing Leaders EMEA next week, I also had a chance to connect with Arthur Calderwood, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Sales Operations at SITA, in advance of his Marketer Spotlight presentation one day one of our event. Arthur will be speaking about how at SITA he blends experiences, products, and messaging to achieve the brand vision. Check out a preview of Arthur’s session in the below Q&A, or join me in London, May 21-22, to hear SITA’s full story. 

Q: Does content and thought leadership play a more important role in B2B branding today? At what stage in the customer lifecycle does content make the biggest impact?

A: Content is critical in building credibility and also as a way to differentiate versus your competitors. But from a B2B perspective you have to be sure you are or can be seen as a credible thought leader with the right expertise to deliver valuable content and opinion. Many companies end up writing pieces which are often too generic, do not deliver real value and unfortunately blend into the mass of other communication on the same topic. Strategically you need to carefully pick the topics you will address, possibly partner with another credible source on the topic, conduct some primary research and be willing to take a stand in the discussion. At SITA we have, for the air transport industry, run a series of annual trend surveys and reports (Airline IT Trends, Airport IT Trends, Baggage & Passenger Self Service trends). These provide us with a platform to write content, released through all channels, to engage the market. They are fortunately unique in our market and have established SITA as a credible source for this type of know-how.

Certainly it is through-out the entire customer lifecycle that content is important. Customers will respond positively if your feed them with an ongoing source of rich content relevant to their area. Certainly the highest impact (positive & negative) is in the early stages of the cycle as the need to build credibility is high and of course you are being scrutinised versus your competitors. So make sure you have value to add; otherwise, I would rethink your approach as it could undermine your position.

Q: Does mobile marketing matter in B2B?

A: Absolutely, although not in the same way as B2C of course, but all our B2B contacts and customers are mobile, smart device users and always connected and engaging in multiple communication channels. So as mobile becomes a larger window into your organisation, what it says and how it operates, you have to decide how you want to be seen, how you wish to engage, what mobile personality you will have.

A: It goes beyond the simple presentation of your data/web-content on mobile devices; again, you have to think of what value you can deliver to your customers or contacts through mobile channels. As Linked-in, Facebook and Twitter provide mobile opportunities to engage and dialogue with your target audience these are essential places to start defining your mobile presence. The opportunity is for B2B marketers to be creative and look at new ways to engage, how to re-purpose cool content that can be shared in bite size, visual forms to gain followers which could ultimately link back to your primary online content.

For anyone involved in this area you need to measure and track in 'almost' real time. By agile to respond or revise your mobile approach is critical and if you are considering customer service on these channels be prepared to become a 24×7 operation if you are not already.   

Q: Finally, based upon your rebranding experience, what is the single best piece of advice you would like to give to fellow B2B marketers?

A: The most critical point is to ensure that the 're-branding' is a fundamental component of your business or transformation strategy. It should never be seen as a visual exercise from the marketing department – there's no use just painting the outside of the house, without the same transformation happening internally.

One single piece of advice is not enough – there are many other key points to take onboard to ensure your re-branding is successful and I'll be certainly covering some of them at the event.

Hear more from Arthur Calderwood at Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders EMEA in London on May 21-22.