B2B Content Marketing Benchmark Study

By Bob West

The concept of content marketing remains the hot trend in marketing circles and makes particular sense for B2B companies given the long-term nature of relationships between B2B suppliers and the professionals using their products. The 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmark Study from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs summarizes where marketers are at with this trend and which tactics and strategies work for B2B companies. (A complete copy of the survey’s findings can be found here.)

Companies hope to achieve a number of goals via content marketing. Tops among these are boosting brand awareness (a goal for 82% of survey respondents), lead generation (74%) and custom acquisition 71%).

More than 90% of survey respondents note they use content marketing, and reviewing the components of their content marketing efforts should help most of you feel good that you, too, are a content marketer. Here’s a list of the 10 most commonly used content marketing tactics:

Tactic

Used   by:

 Social media (other than blogs)

87%

 Articles on your website

81%

 Company enewsletter

80%

 Blog

76%

 In-person events

76%

 Case studies

73%

 Videos

73%

 Articles on other websites

68%

 White papers

64%

 Online presentations

63%

 

Respondents to this survey report using an average of 13 different content marketing tactics annually and that content marketing accounts for an average of 30% of their marketing budget. Among the myriad tactics being used, marketers have the most confidence in in-person events, case studies, videos, webinars and blogs.

Still, if you’re like other B2B marketers, you look at this list, see a number of elements that are included in your marketing efforts, but don’t feel that you’re a content marketer. Most companies don’t. The survey found that only 42% of B2B companies define themselves as effective content marketers, so it’s important to note that integrating these concepts in your marcomm plan successfully is a process that is likely in its early stages.

That begs the question of how do you advance your efforts? One key trait of companies defining themselves as effective content marketers is their development of a documented content marketing strategy. Doing so isn’t necessarily just the purview of big companies – 48% of smaller B2B firms (10 – 99 employees) report having committed their content marketing plans to paper.

The notion of content marketing begets numerous questions about social media, but many of them focus on the wrong use of social media. Rather than using social media to create a dialogue with prospective customers, these companies use various social media outlets to get eyeballs on their content. Surveyed firms report using an average of six social platforms with the most widely used being LinkedIn (used by 91%), Twitter (85%), Facebook (81%) and YouTube (73%).

Figuring out how to actually produce this content holds many marketers back as 69% report having insufficient time to produce enough content for their organization. This has led more companies to outsource their content development with writing topping the list of work that is most commonly outsourced (done so by nearly two-thirds of respondents).

Bob West is the Director of Interactive Sales for Meister Media, and he can be reached at 440-602-9129 or bwest@meistermedia.com.

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