Patricia Travaline has a long career history in corporate B2C and B2B marketing from start-up to enterprise level. She is currently Vice President of Marketing for Skyword.

Q: How does/how should content marketing differ between B2C and B2B?

A: At the core, there really isn’t a difference. Both B2B and B2C marketers are trying to move people to act in some way, so the framework of the strategy is exactly the same. You start with understanding who you’re trying to reach, then you create a content strategy that aligns with these interests and passions while connecting your brand in a way that’s completely different to what anyone else is doing. Once you’ve determined your strategy, you have to establish who should be telling your story, and make sure that your story can be found where your audience is hanging out.

Q: How does an effective content marketing strategy fit into marketing automation, particularly for a small- to medium-sized business?

A: If you think of marketing automation like the engine of a car, then the content or story-telling is the gasoline that makes it run. Without content, marketing automation is sort of like having the car up on blocks in someone’s backyard, rusting away. 

Q: The expense of content creation rivals that of advertising for many modern organizations, but unlike in advertising budgets, many of these companies have a much more difficult time assessing the value in the content they create. How can SMBs create content that enables and enhances their content marketing strategies and, ultimately, their customers’ experience?

A: First, I think that we no longer can say that our content can’t be measured, because we have marketing automation. You can measure how many people are viewing your content, you can measure how long they’re staying on it, you can measure if it’s a lead source or if it has contributed to a conversation; and then, depending on how much your content or your content creation platform is integrated with your marketing and sales automation, you do have the ability to measure it through to sale.

A goal of every content marketer should be to figure out ways to make sure that you can prove the value of every piece of content and its impact on the buyer’s journey.

Q: How has the quality of content marketing changed in the last one to two years?

A: Quite simply, we’ve become much better at it. Many organizations have moved well beyond creating content about themselves exclusively. This is huge. We’ve talked a long time about putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes, but I think we’re finally looking at the world from the standpoint of our customers. We’re thinking really creatively about how to bring value to them that goes beyond our product and our services.

Q: There is a lot of focus on customer engagement when it comes to automation. What about employee engagement, and how does that factor into the overall success of a dynamic marketing strategy?

A: Too often, marketing sits in a silo and dreams up these things that they want to do, without tapping the rest of the organization to understand if they will resonate. Employee engagement is critical, and it’s marketing’s responsibility to keep that flow of information open and strong. 

In many cases, you have the top industry influencers and experts right within the organization. Employees should be contributing content and amplifying and sharing your stories. This is one of the most powerful tactics marketers have today, and it’s one of the most underutilized.

You can follow Patricia Travaline at @travwin

Thank you, Patricia!