A tiny 2 percent of marketers believe they have a highly effective demand generation strategy that gets them high-quality leads, according to a new study by the CMO Council.

Developed in conjunction with NetLine and The Content ROI Center, the Lead Flow That Helps You Grow report (form required) and infographic is based on a survey of 213 marketers from B2B and hybrid companies.

The survey attempts to identify best practices and insights around demand generation strategies, content performance and syndication.

“The challenge that we found is that there doesn’t seem to be a clear understanding of content as a means to an end,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council.

“Content lets you identify points of access in an organization. Someone downloads content, and you invest in the relationship-building engagement process. It’s not a selling scenario.”

Top Takeaways

What should marketers pay attention to when reading the study? Neale-May gave us his take on the top three big ideas.

1. Content creation is still siloed

Even though the study suggests that alignment between sales and marketing is improving when it comes to demand generation strategies, Neale-May believes there’s a lot of room for improvement.

“There is a lack of alignment and synchronization between marketing teams and sales and channel groups,” he said. “Marketers create content, but it also comes from different parts of the company like product management, product development, CTO’s and others. It’s a polyglot of content not tied together with a clear strategy or audience.”

He added that this fragmentation leads to wasted investment in content.

In fact, the Content Marketing Institute found that 60 to 70 percent of B2B content created goes unused.

“It’s the same with market research,” said Neale-May.

“Companies spend millions of dollars on market research, but it’s done by everyone across the company. There’s no central repository, they’re not leveraging the research and it’s being duplicated. They’re investing in it, but it’s not used.”

2. Marketers aren’t matching audiences with the right content

The study reveals that only 12 percent of marketers say they develop content targeted specifically to a certain audience or industry. However, by its very definition, a high-quality lead “requires specific, personalized and intentional engagement,” the study stated.

It’s no wonder marketers aren’t getting the quality leads they expect.

Neale-May adds that marketing automation is a key component for increasing demand generation results.

“Marketers need to automate across the procurement lifecycle, as well as create content for the different scenarios of that lifecycle,” he said. “They need to be able to automate matching content to customer type.”

3. Companies are still struggling to measure content performance

When it comes to understanding the value of a specific piece of content, marketers are missing the mark, the study shows.

For example, while marketers identify thought leadership pieces like white papers and videos as the content generating the highest quality leads, organizations are actually creating more product-focused pieces like brochures and slide presentations.

In addition, companies relying on owned media such as their websites, e-mail distribution to their own databases and social channels, are seeing limited results.

According to the study, 40 percent of marketers state their distribution channels are only yielding results that are moderately effective.

To help boost results, Neale-May advises marketers to develop a strategy for content syndication and distribution. (Editor’s note: The study’s sponsor is a content syndication company.)

“While 25 percent of marketing budgets are expended in content origination, little is used to drive consumption using different channels and distribution or syndication platforms,” he said. “Content is left on the shelf.”

Neale-May concluded that if marketers want to see their demand generation strategies improve, they need to ensure they are creating targeted, quality content that reaches their intended audience exactly when and where they need it.

“Consumption will be driven by quality, relevance, timeliness and helpfulness of the content. You need to have a clear strategy around topic areas, advocacy and authority leadership. Most companies don’t.”