B2B Content Marketing – It Takes A Village
This year Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs published their 7th B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America study. While there are many studies that are published every year, this is one that I truly analyze and review as it is full of insights and shows a very clear picture of where B2B marketers are on their path to maturity.
The study was a bit different this year with some new questions and sections, but overall, comparing this year to previous studies provides insight into how B2B marketing organizations are succeeding and in many cases, continuing to be challenged with the discipline of content marketing.
It Takes a Village-
It was surprising to me to see that 55% of organizations have small teams (some only one person) that are responsible for serving the entire organization with content. Less than 40% of those surveyed said they have a dedicated organization and/or people throughout the organization.
Good content that engages buyers and aligns to the buyers purchase process is not easy to create. It takes time to understand your buyer, their pain points and challenges and their buyers journey. According to CEB, in a typical B2B buying cycle there are on average 6.8 people involved in the buyers committee all of whom want specific content that is relevant to their role.
With this being the case, how is it expected that only a handful or only one person will be able to create compelling content? In order for content to be done properly and produce value, there must be a team dedicated to it.
Measurement Must Be a Priority-
When asked, “Is it clear what an effective or successful content marketing program looks like?” only 41% responded yes. The other with 59% responded with an unsure or a no. While this may be while only 28% are mature or sophisticated, the need for measurement has never been more apparent.
According to the study the following are true:
- 29% of a B2B marketing budget is spent on content marketing
- 39% of organizations will increase their content marketing spend
- 45% will spend the same amount next year as they did this year
That is quite an investment to make without an understanding of the results. While producing relevant and engaging content is crucial, it is just as, if not more important to know the impact these investments are making on an organization.
The Metrics Do Not Align to Goals-
Respondents to the study listed lead generation as the number one goal for their marketing efforts. Yet when asked “Which metrics does your organization use to determine how well its content marketing is producing results?” only 57% stated they were measuring sales lead quality.
If the goal of content is to generate demand, simply measuring web traffic (78% do as the leading metric) will not give any indication on success or failure. If B2B marketers are going to improve on measuring value, they must measure that which aligns to their goals.
- How would you characterize the success of your organizations current overall content marketing approach? 22% stating very or extremely successful and 53% stating moderately successful (I am not sure the goal of organizations is to be marginal)
- How does the success of your organizations current overall content marketing approach compare with one year ago? 62% saying either somewhat more or much more successful