Survey Finds Gap in Targeting for Marketing Content
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Survey Finds Gap in Targeting for Marketing Content

4 minute read
Tom Murphy avatar

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Content marketing is so perplexing to today's marketers that we've published 140stories on the subject in the last year and a half. Yet a lot of marketers seem frustrated by lacklusterresults.

A new study (registration required)by the 614 Group and OneSpot may help explain why content often misses thetarget. Marketers aren't aiming for the target, or at least not very well.

Overall, 54 percent expressed dismay with their content marketing efforts.About two in three respondents said their content marketing efforts aren'tdriving business as well expected, and 56 percent were unhappy with the wayresults were measured. 

Action vs. Intent

Sure, both survey sponsors have a vested interest here. Austin, Texas-based OneSpotprovides a content marketing platform for programmatic placement of contentmarketing, essentially turning the content into online advertising. The 614Group is a digital management consultancy.

Still, the data, based on a May-June survey of 487 US-based marketers,reflects some significant contradictions between what marketers want todo and what they actually do with their content.

For example, 65 percent of the respondents said targeting precision was themost important attribute in their campaigns, but 87 percent said their topmethod of distributing their content is through the company's website. That'sroughly the marketing equivalent of preaching to the choir.

Similarly, 69 percent said they feel native advertising is interesting andvaluable, but just 24 percent use behavioural targeting and only 22 percent usethird-party data to help target their content, the survey found.

Shifting Priorities

Content creation and distribution represent the top two spending categories-- 37 percent and 30 percent, respectively -- but it looks like change is in thewind. Fifty-eight percent of the respondents said they plan to increase spendingon distribution and promotion during the coming year.

The second area primed for growth is measurement and optimization where 52percent said they would spend more. Currently, that category accounts for 15 percent of the content marketing budget.

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"Clearly, there is a strong opportunity for brands to take betteradvantage of the benefits that come with creating, distributing and optimizingcontent," said OneSpot CEO Steve Sachs in a statement that accompanied thesurvey results.

Learning Opportunities

Of the respondents, 24 percent were in B2B marketing, 30 percent in B2C, 25percent in agencies and 21 percent "other." And, as might be expected,there were some significant differences among them.

B2B vs. B2C

Thirty-eight percent of B2B marketers said lead generation was their topobjective, with thought leadership in second place at 27 percent. Those were thelowest priorities for B2C marketers, with brand engagement at the top of theirlist (28 percent).

Targeting is important, but many feel content quality is the mostimportant factor. Among them is Forrester Research PrincipalAnalyst Laura Ramos, who advises CMOs on such matters.

Inan interview with CMSWire's DomNicastro that appeared earlier this week, she said marketing teams oftendelegate too much of the content production to outside freelancers or agencies.

Turning the Target

"Instead, B2B marketers need to invest in knowing their customers betterand using tools like buyer personas to help them develop content that puts thebuyer in the bull's eye of the target, not the products and services the firmmay offer," she said.

"They also need to make content production a part of everyone's job inmarketing, as well as partnering with subject matter experts inside and outsidethe firm, to help generate ideas and content that catch buyers' interest,"Ramos added.

It may sound like a chicken and egg question, but in this case the egg isfirst. As Ramos suggested, the buyer must be targeted in the content before thecontent can be targeted at the buyer.