Content marketing? Danish companies show you how to do it.


Share on LinkedIn

Proper content marketing is about engaging your target audience with useful information that that helps them solve a problem or become better informed. It is not an exercise in directly promoting your products or services. Instead it involves encouraging and building dialog with interested parties, which can help position you as a trusted advisor and a credible, knowledgeable supplier who understands their industry and needs. When they are ready to engage in sales discussions, you will have greatly improved your chances of being invited to the table. Content marketing is a far cry from one-way marketing strategies targeting a non-engaged B2B audience.

Content marketing requires patience and credibility

Scandinavians companies, and Danish companies in particular, are known for their no-nonsense, modest approach to B2B marketing. Back in the days when propaganda was the main method of B2B marketing, they mostly lagged behind other parts of the world when it came to “selling the sizzle”. Making bold claims about “state-of-the-art” or “world-leading” technology never really came naturally to Scandinavian companies, where the inclination is to be rather understated and overtly honest with their messages. But now, as more B2B buyers are turning their backs on propaganda and instead looking for information and solutions before they look for suppliers, management of Danish companies can do what’s natural to them and reap the rewards of company cultures and marketing strategies years in the making.

Many Danish companies have not built their successes on huge marketing budgets as seen in other parts of the world. They’re not focused on telling people how good they are – but prefer to focus on fundamental business values such as good engineering practice, employee skills development and problem-solving.

Consider Danisco A/S, a large Denmark-based manufacturer of food ingredients that is now part of DuPont Nutrition & Health. According to Danisco’s management—and confirmed by a recent customer survey—one of the key reasons behind the company’s successful track record of growth and profitability has been the attitude and skills of its people. Danisco’s many scientists and application experts have worked closely with the company’s customers to solve problems, devise new recipes, and refine existing formulae have delivered a high-quality customer experience that has built Danisco’s business. This is more valuable than most marketing strategies.

Danisco’s success wasn’t attributed to a powerful B2B marketing machine since management was never focused on telling the industry how good it was, preferring instead to attend to science, application knowledge and what its customers have described as “approachability”.

Content marketing needs to be integrated with other marketing strategies

The great value for companies like Danisco is to expose and highlight the real truth behind the company: the expertise, opinions and passions of the scientists and application experts. These are the subject matter experts and they’re a vital part of the company’s “scalable DNA”. And this is where content marketing can be a perfect match.

Content marketing, then, seems like a no brainer for Danish companies revising their marketing strategies. It’s an opportunity to engage with their audiences in a way that is quite natural to the Danish psyche. They can tell the truth and have a conversation at peer level.

But here’s the funny thing: Even though the idea of content marketing is so well-suited to Scandinavian companies, content marketing as a discipline in B2B is almost unknown in the region. Whereas it is well-established amongst B2B companies in the US, UK, and other parts of the world, where it has been become an established marketing strategy since about 2010, it’s not a big topic of conversation for B2B marketers in Denmark. I’ve had to explain the concept on several occasions.

There are a few good examples of companies who have made successful early efforts, such as A.P. Møller – Mærsk’s Changing the Way We Think About Shipping, or Saxo Bank’s, or Laval’s Despite this, many companies are still producing ads, campaigns and other traditional branding. The message of much B2B marketing is on target but the strategy has yet to follow suit.

One of the big challenges is making sure that content marketing initiatives do not just become isolated “experiments”, but that they become a mainstream element of marketing strategies, and a fully integrated element within the total business strategy.

Content marketing is only one part of the whole, of course. You also need to have a solid brand story and be clear about your value proposition. And because content marketing strategy should be based on the needs and interest of your customers, you need to be listening to the conversations taking place amongst your various target audiences.

How do you approach content marketing at your company? Let us know in the comments!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

David Hoskin
I have worked with B2B marketing since 1999 for companies such as A2SEA, FOSS, Carlsberg, LEGO, Maersk, Coloplast, and Novo Nordisk. I've been fortunate enough to work with some great companies and individuals during the years. I've learned from all of them. I am co-founder and partner at the strategic agency Eye For Image. We are a team of senior consultants focused on developing and implementing the Three Voices™ framework for B2B companies as described in the 2012 book "The Death of Propaganda".


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here