Looking to boost your bottom line when it comes to B2B content marketing solutions? Better get up close and personal, according to recent findings from ITSMA, an international technology services and solutions marketing association based in Lexington, Mass.

Human Contact Is Key

ITSMA’s December 2014 report, Persuading Buyers to Choose You, found that above all, buyers want their insights from people—not screens—with respondents ranking as number-one having a solution provider with subject matter expertise. Reasons cited include the fact that buyers spend as much time offline as online when keeping up with trends in the industry and with technology, that they rely on sales at all stages of the buying process, and that social media—while growing in importance—is not fully mainstream.

Provide Insights That Matter

But human contact is not all buyers are looking for. A full 75 percent of buyers surveyed indicated that solution providers’ thought leadership content played an important or crucial role in making it to their shortlist. What goes into making quality thought-leadership content? The survey identified depth and quality as well as delivery mechanisms such as visual storytelling, presentations and slide sets, video and infographics, and podcasts.

75 percent of respondents indicate that thought leadership content is important and critical to researching solution providers.

Make It Personal

Want to cut through the noise and reach your B2B buyer? Customize. “Buyers are more likely to consider solution providers that personalize their marketing to address their specific business issues,” the survey found. In fact, they were 50 percent more likely to do so—proof of the power of micro-targeting and customizing the experience.

It’s All About Engagement

What does this all mean for B2B marketers and content-led marketing initiatives? According to ITSMA, here is what leading-edge B2B solutions marketers will do in 2015:

• Integrate on- and off-line marketing

• Connect on social media

• Expand the role of subject matter experts

• Create and communicate thought leadership and enable sales to do thought-leadership selling

In the end, it’s all about fostering relationships. Too often, reads the survey, relationship marketing is a mechanical process of emails, webinars, newsletter subscriptions and the like. “It’s a formulaic process. But real relationships don’t follow a formula. They’re messy and unpredictable and each one is different.”