The statistics are in! The latest research from The Content Marketing Institute has revealed some interesting findings when it comes to the current state of content marketing.
Based on respondents who have been practicing content marketing for at least one year, benchmarks have been established to identify the biggest successes and challenges facing B2B content marketers.
Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor at the Content Marketing Institute, has given Brandalism exclusive insight into the B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America report, as well as interesting key findings from this research.
“One of the things we’re most excited about is that this year we are capturing the habits and results from those that are truly invested in Content Marketing. We limited the respondents to those that have been practicing Content Marketing for at least one year. We see some fascinating new insights from this year’s research; perhaps none as pronounced as the importance of a documented content marketing strategy.” – Robert Rose
So, let’s dive in.
Content Strategy should be clear and documented
We’re seeing that taking strategy seriously has long-term benefits to business. The survey revealed that the two biggest benefits of a documented content marketing strategy was that it aligns teams to a common goal/mission (81%) and it makes it easier to determine which types of content to develop (81%).
“Companies that actually take a step back, and develop a content strategy are just simply succeeding at a higher rate than those that just jump right to execution.” – Robert Rose
What can content marketers improve?
Understanding audience and undergoing thorough persona work is a key component of content strategy. However, while marketers all see the benefits of this only 42% are actually talking with customers to understand their needs.
A quick win for content marketers looking to understand their audience better is to select a core group of customers to survey, gathering information from the horse’s mouth rather than relying on potentially outdated online research.
A surprising finding revealed that only 23% of content marketers are using community building and audience participation to attract new audiences. If the main goal of content marketers is engaging audiences, shouldn’t we be doing more to build communities?
What are the top performing content marketers doing well?
Of the marketers surveyed, 96% of the most successful content marketers (“the top performers”) agree that their organisation have built credibility and trust with their audience.
Furthermore, 90% of the most successful B2B content marketers will prioritise the audience’s information needs over their sales or promotional messages. This is compared to 56% of the least successful – proving there is a direct correlation between the success of content marketing and prioritising the audience needs.
The biggest issues affecting B2B content marketers
From the marketers surveyed, the biggest issues facing content marketers in the B2B space are:
- Changes to SEO and Search algorithms (61%).
- Changes to social media algorithms (45%).
- Content marketing used solely as a revenue center (41%).
- Data and privacy regulations (34%)
- Staffing and HR (33%).
The largest difference between the most and least successful marketers in changes to social media is found in addressing data privacy and regulations; artificial intelligence (AI); and preparing for voice search.
Content Marketing Measurement
All content marketers know that we should be measuring the success of our efforts, but are we actually doing it? 72% of the most successful B2B Content Marketers measure content marketing return on investment (ROI). On the other hand, 65% of the least successful do not measure their ROI.
A surprising finding revealed that only 25% of B2B content marketers are extremely or very proficient at using the metrics their team has selected to convey results. These same marketers are most likely to be those who measure the ROI of their content marketing.
Content marketing is moving forward
With businesses increasingly turning to content marketing solutions, 56% of B2B Content Marketers increased spending on content creation over the last 12 months.
Although many content marketers face the same challenges, it is clear that content marketing is moving forward. Of those surveyed, 70% of B2B content marketers believe their organisation’s content marketing is much (17%) or somewhat (53%) more successful than a year before.
We’ll take this as win!