The core objective of B2B content marketing is to engage and influence prospective buyers early in their decision making cycle. The ideal situation is when the buyer doesn’t even know that they are being influenced. In order to achieve this, companies need to adopt a “Trojan horse” content marketing strategy. One that is not overtly branded and is based on neutral thought leadership content that inspires, educates, and informs.

Buyer's Journey

87% of cost and time is spent in creating content to influence prospective buyers to discover, evaluate, and reach a purchase decision. This is a sizable investment in costs and time and one that companies cannot afford to go wrong.

Companies need to be much more resourceful and creative in developing highly engaging content faster. They cannot afford 6-8 weeks of content development and feedback cycles to course correct and improve their content strategy.

What is trojan horse content marketing?

xiQ has pioneered a new strategy that lets marketers influence buyers before they even engage with sellers. It allows marketers to curate content from reputable third-party sources, combining with company collateral, and creating campaigns in record time.

Companies adopting such content marketing strategies become trusted sources of value-added information and partners to their prospects. They also influence prospective buyers in their favor – the ‘Trojan horse” strategy.

i2c – a lighthouse example of trojan horse Content Marketing

i2c, a leading fintech company and provider of payment solutions, has been leveraging xiQ to execute an end-to-end content marketing strategy to increase subscribers and grow engagement by 9 – 13x!

Highlighted in this case study are the objectives and strategies i2c adopted to achieve transformative results from their trojan horse content marketing strategy.

i2c’s Objectives

  • Strengthen brand recognition
  • Generate demand
  • Increase subscriptions
  • Boost engagement
  • Increase conversations

i2c’s Content Marketing strategy

To achieve each of these objectives, i2c leveraged xiQ’s AI-powered content marketing platform and adopted the following content marketing approach:

Weekly news Digest vs Monthly Newsletter

Nikki Waters, Senior Vice President of Marketing at i2c tells us, “Typically, it took i2c 6 – 8 weeks to create and send a manually prepared newsletter which detailed the company’s business development activities. This sporadic and brand forward approach was not resonating with the audience and netting us zero new leads and subscribers.”

“To maintain a constant presence in front of clients and prospects, we adopted a different approach – we decided to issue a weekly news digest instead of a monthly newsletter,” says Nikki.

Thought-leadership vs selling

“i2c’s news digest ‘Global Inside Payments’ focuses on providing clients and prospects with value-added information and newsworthy stories on financial payments,” says Terri Thibodeaux, Director of Demand Generation at i2c. “We shifted our strategy from a brand forward approach to driving thought leadership using xiQ. This approach resulted in readers recommending our digest to their colleagues and industry peers to share the latest news.”

Leveraging third-party content

“i2c leveraged xiQ’s AI-powered content curation engine to curate third-party content and establish a topical and timely cadence that was much more budget-friendly than bespoke research,” says Nikki. “ We discovered that our client and prospect engagement per week soared immediately ranging between 9 – 13xthat of the old newsletter, as readers appreciated the neutral, informative and value-added information.”

Increased subscriptions, minimized opt-outs

According to Nikki, “By downplaying the brand name and projecting domain expertise – the Trojan Horse strategy – behind i2c’s weekly Inside Payments digest worked, and is garnering increased subscriptions as readers impressed by the quality of the content started recommending Inside Payments within their networks.” She adds, “We were also able to minimize opt-outs as readers appreciated the information on the latest trends in the industry from reputed sources.”

Success story – smart Content Marketing wins

In less than two years, i2c has:

  • Increased the subscriber base by 260%
  • Increased engagement by 9 -13x
  • Achieved consistent YOY growth in open rates
  • Reduced Opt-out rates by an impressive 0.07%

Evolving to a stronger brand strategy

i2c’s Trojan Horse content marketing approach led them to showcase thought leadership content on the website to highlight the most important stories of the week in lieu of promoting branded content. This caused a veritable explosion in website engagement and a significantly elevated brand presence.

i2c's content marketing success story

Return on marketing investment

Equipped with the ability to harvest what individuals are interested in, and tailoring content specific to the personality of individuals, i2c was able to establish the frequent cadence that is a prerequisite of mindshare.

All in one platform

The ability to create content, gain unprecedented insights, and feed it to salesforce harmoniously within one platform is a game-changer for B2B marketers.

Workflow xiQ

About The Author

Usman Sheikh

Founder and CEO

xiQ, Inc.

Usman Sheikh is the visionary founder and CEO of xiQ, an award-winning B2B sales and marketing platform. Through the fusion of generative AI, behavioral science, and ChatGPT, xiQ is revolutionizing the industry with its personality-driven sales approach.
As a futurist and design thinker, Usman aims to humanize B2B sales and marketing by leveraging generative AI and psychology. With xiQ, sellers can understand the mindset of prospective buyers and hyper-personalize engagement at every stage of the sales cycle.
Before xiQ, Usman held various global roles at SAP, including Vice President of Corporate Development, Product Management, Sales Enablement, and Digital Commerce.
Usman frequently serves as a guest lecturer on AI and B2B sales and marketing at renowned business schools such as the University of Texas, University of Wisconsin, University of Alabama, Louisiana State University, and Clemson University.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Usman’s diverse passions extend beyond business. He enjoys Squash, architecture, design, cooking, and hiking.