B2B marketers with documented content marketing strategies consider their organizations more effective at content marketing, and can better track ROI over those with verbal or no strategies, according to the latest research by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).
And although an encouraging 83 percent of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, only 35 percent have it written down, which means that a majority of those surveyed are missing out on the benefits that come with being a Best in Class B2B Content Marketer, the research revealed.
The study, 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America, was sponsored by Brightcove and conducted in conjunction with MarketingProfs.
Best in Class B2B Content Marketers
Bringing together all aspects of the study results, researchers created a profile of the Best in Class B2B Content Marketer based on how respondents ranked the effectiveness of their own organizations.
Those who ranked their companies as “most effective” in content marketing had these attributes:
- 54 percent have a documented content marketing strategy
- 62 percent say their strategy very closely guides their content marketing efforts
- 69 percent have a dedicated content marketing group
- 89 percent consider engagement a highly important goal
- 40 percent are successful at tracking ROI
- 54 percent publish new content daily or several times a week
Goals and Metrics
According to the study, 84 percent of marketers indicate that brand awareness is their number one content marketing goal. Following closely behind are lead generation (83 percent), engagement (81 percent), sales (75 percent) and lead nurturing (74 percent).
As for metrics, 63 percent name website traffic as their top metric for measuring content marketing success, which the study indicates is consistently at the top of the list year over year.
Other top metrics include: sales lead quality (49 percent), higher conversion rates (48 percent), sales (43 percent) and sales lead quantity (40 percent).
Content Creation and Distribution
According to the study, the most effective content marketing tactic named by marketers is in-person events (69 percent). Other tactics ranked as highly effective include: webinars/webcasts (64 percent), videos (60 percent) and blogs (60 percent). Case studies, white papers, research reports and e-newsletters all came in at 58 percent.
One of the most notable changes in content marketing tactics over last year’s study is a drop in the effectiveness of case studies. Last year, 65 percent of marketers rated case studies as effective, in comparison with this year’s 58 percent.
Turning to content distribution, 63 percent of marketers named LinkedIn as the most effective social media platform, followed by Twitter at 55 percent, YouTube at 48 percent and SlideShare at 42 percent.
Researchers note that confidence in Twitter went up this year, in comparison with last year’s 50 percent rating, while SlideShare was rated less effective this year, compared with last year’s 45 percent rating.
Numbers for paid advertising effectiveness came in as follows:
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM): 52 percent
- Promoted posts (i.e. Tweets): 41 percent
- Social ads (i.e. LinkedIn): 38 percent
- Content delivery tools: 36 percent
- Native advertising: 36 percent
Challenges for B2B Marketers
Consistent with CMI’s benchmarking surveys conducted over the past five years, producing engaging content was named as the number one challenge for B2B marketers (54 percent). Coming in second was producing content consistently (50 percent).
Making big jumps over last year, measuring content effectiveness was named by 49 percent of marketers as a major challenge (up from 33 percent last year), and finding trained content marketing professionals moved up from 10 percent last year to 32 percent this year.
Other notable challenges include producing a variety of content (42 percent), lack of budget (41 percent) and dealing with gaps in knowledge and skills of internal staff (34 percent).
2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America includes results taken from CMI’s wider fifth annual Content Marketing Survey. The report includes responses from 1,820 participants who indicated they were B2B marketers in North America.