Even if your team does not include a veritable William Shakespeare or Jane Austin, content marketing adds a powerful punch to your overall B2B marketing mix. Content marketing has evolved from a fringe marketing activity to a core asset used throughout the funnel.
Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs recently published their latest annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report. According to the research, a full 91% of B2B marketers surveyed include content marketing in their marketing portfolio. Of those who have yet to turn to content marketing, 54% plan to do so in the coming year.
With content marketing increasing in importance for successful B2B marketing, it behooves you to understand what works and what doesn’t. To that end, here’s a summary of insights from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs report.
The Importance of a Documented Strategy
Strategy wins! Whereas merely 16% of the worst-performers among the study’s respondents have a documented content marketing strategy, 62% of the top performers confirmed that they follow a documented strategy. Overall, only 37% of those surveyed have a documented strategy, demonstrating a great deal of opportunity in the market for those willing to take the time to define an effective strategy.
Extremely Committed to Content Marketing
Unsurprisingly, 89% of top performers are extremely committed to content marketing, while only 27% of poor performers were so committed. It’s a choice. Your team is either committed or it’s not, and your performance will follow suit.
Ebooks and Whitepapers
Among top performers and on average among all content marketers surveyed, ebooks and whitepapers were named the most effective type of content marketing. In fact, they were considered by the top performing content marketers to be of even greater value than email newsletters, case studies, social media, webinars, and video.
Email and Blogs
For the distribution of content, email was found to be the most effective at helping respondents achieve their content marketing objectives, with blogging coming in as the runner-up.
Among all social media options, LinkedIn is seen as the most effective as a content distribution channel by top performers, as well, with 82% naming the social network as their number one social vehicle.
Content Marketing ROI
Seventy-two percent (72%) of those surveyed confirm that their content marketing efforts have helped them to generate a greater volume of leads, with 51% stating that the efforts helped them to increase sales. Surprisingly, though, only 35% of survey respondents are actually able to measure content marketing ROI.
Top performers allocate 40% of their marketing budgets to content marketing compared to only 14% for poor performers. On average, content marketing represents 26% of the overall marketing budget of all organizations surveyed, with 38% planning to increase their content marketing budget in the coming year. Only 12% of survey respondents dedicated at least 50% of their budget to content marketing.
There’s a lot of boring, useless content being produced these days. We’re all very aware of that (and sick of it). The good news is that content marketing is improving and teams are learning how to create more compelling content and how to achieve more. Approximately 63% of those surveyed said that their content marketing was “much more” or “somewhat more” successful than a year ago. As far as the reasons for the improvement, 78% pointed to higher quality content and better efficiency, while 72% pointed to their strategy.
Lots of Room to Grow
Only 24% are “extremely” or “very” successful with their content marketing efforts, while merely 9% call themselves “Sophisticated” content marketers. We’re only in the first inning of the content marketing game. Expect more improvement, refinement, and sophistication in the years to come, meaning that there’s still time for you and your marketing team to up your game and achieve greater content marketing success.