Why Authenticity Is the Essential Heart of B2B Content Marketing

The saying goes that if the tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. To a certain extent, that tendency has been playing out in regard to AI content generators ever since ChatGPT launched in late November 2022. The application for B2B content marketing seemed obvious, and forward-thinking companies were quick to jump on the trend. Who could resist the lure of a technological tool that, with the right prompt, could produce text on any topic of your choice?

The question to ask, however, is not if generative AI can be used for content creation—it self-evidently can. Rather, businesses should be asking if the kind of content that an AI creates is what its audience wants. In an age of proliferating social media platforms and increasingly sophisticated technology, it is not tech trends that are driving engagement, but authenticity. Your audience wants to hear from real people, with original insights, unique knowledge, and shared values.

What AI Can Do—And What It Can’t

For a B2B business, content marketing is often not about spurring the final step to click a “buy now” button on a website, because the procurement process for goods and services is a journey that requires persuading multiple decision-makers rather than a single individual. That requires effective B2B content marketing to be about building name recognition and establishing your company’s reputation as an expert source of information and advice. This strategy is meant to support your sales process and enhance connections with your target audience, helping you stand out from crowded field of competitors.

This, unfortunately, is where AI content generation falls short. Yes, it can produce grammatically correct, coherently structured text on topics of general knowledge. (A word of caution, though—the phenomenon of AI “hallucinations,” where an AI confidently generates wrong answers, is well documented.) What it can’t do is create the authenticity that differentiates your brand as unique. So, yes, AI can make it faster to generate content, but it won’t necessarily increase engagement if what’s being produced is generic.

That doesn’t mean AI has no place in a B2B content strategy. Where it can help is as a brainstorming tool that sparks ideas and provides notes to jump-start the process. From there, the work that transforms that raw material into insights and information specific to your brand is what provides the authenticity your audience craves.

Trends that Highlight the Desire for Authenticity

Certain other trends align with the need to make a meaningful human connection with an audience to drive engagement. The first is the importance of using storytelling to give humanizing context to data. Facts and figures tend to play a pivotal role in B2B marketing, because they provide solid evidence to persuade key decision-makers. But putting that data in the framework of a story makes content compelling, riveting an audience’s attention and carrying them along to the conclusions you want them to reach.

Aligning company values to audience values—and as importantly, aligning company actions to its stated values—is also another key marketing issue that speaks to the desire for authenticity. People prefer to buy from companies that share their values, and social media gives customers a potentially outsized platform to speak out if they find a company is saying one thing and doing another. Companies need to find the balance between staying true to their business values and meeting their audience’s demands, which requires experienced marketing and content strategists who can avoid obvious (and not-so-obvious) mistakes in messaging.

The final current trend is the rise in influencer marketing in the B2B setting. Again, the audience wants to connect with people who can speak to their interests, concerns, and questions. For a business, working with the right influencer can be an opportunity to partner with someone who can improve their reach and provide valuable content to their audience. However, careful vetting is critical to ensure a good match of brand and values.

Focusing on the Authentic Voice of Your B2B Brand

Whenever a new technological platform or tool emerges, it is natural to be dazzled by the possibilities of what it can do. Getting too wrapped up in how that novelty works, though, risks losing sight of what marketing is meant to accomplish. As you move forward in 2024, be sure to evaluate your marketing strategies through this lens: Is what I’m doing fostering an authentic connection with my target audience? Regardless of the means, that’s the goal you must meet if you want to enable your brand to grow. For more on this topic and getting help entering the USA marketing, connect with Hema Dey at IffelInternational.com

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